To save themselves from starvation and death, a lion pride stalks a cape buffalo herd and finds a meal.
Life this year on the Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa is hard, harder than usual. A drought has left the animals here desperate for water and food.
This lion pride has had no substantial kills in months and several of their cubs have died.
The cape buffalo, too, have suffered. Grasses that should be in abundance have all but disappeared.
Lions are one of the few animals who will challenge a cape buffalo.
Cape buffaloes are large animals—adults stand over 4 feet high, and can be over 7 feet long, and weigh around 1500 pounds. And they’re known to be ferocious—perfectly able to kill an adult lion.
But the lions are desperate. And so the pride takes a chance.
They stalk the herd…looking for one member vulnerable enough to attack. For cape buffalo, there is safety in numbers. Becoming separated…and isolated…is a grim situation.
The lions locate their intended target. This cow is large. Her sharp horns and hooves could normally deliver a deadly blow to an unwary lioness.
But this buffalo is old and slightly lame. The lions will exploit these weaknesses.
The herd has abandoned the cow and the pride circles around her, waiting for the right moment.
The lionesses attack, piling onto the buffalo, biting and clawing her from all directions.
Finally, a male lion locks onto the buffalo’s throat, crushing her windpipe. It will be a slow, agonizing death.
It’s a gruesome sight. But the lions must eat as well. This kill means a renewed chance at life for them.