Kruger National Park: Battle Between Buffalo, Lions, and Crocs

by J.D. Roth on 24 May 2007 · 7 comments

in Behavior,Movies

Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It lies nestled in the northeast corner of the country, next to Mozambique and close to Zimbabwe. The reserve is home to a variety of flora and fauna.

YouTube user Jason275 has posted footage captured by a group on safari inside the park. Beside a watering hole, a herd of buffalo approaches and a pride of lions. The lions do what lions are prone to do: they chase down and tackle a juvenile buffalo. Before they can kill it, however, they’re startled by a pair of crocodiles, and then set upon by the returning herd. This is an amazing scene.

Do lions always hunt in packs like this? I’ve always been under the impression that each animal hunted alone, but I’m not sure why I believe this. Do buffalo herds always act in coordination to protect fallen members? Or is this a special circumstance? Why don’t the crocs sustain their attack? Why do the buffalo approach the lions in the first place? It looks deliberate, but maybe I’m wrong — maybe they’re unaware of the cats.

This is a great example of big game behavior in the wild.

[via waxy]

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Alan Bluehole 05 May 2007 (20) at 20:44

I’ll spend 6 days in this park next month, so I’ll keep an eye out for this very scene.

Reply

Canaduck 05 May 2007 (22) at 22:10

Lions are (one of?) the only cats who hunt and live in groups.

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Canaduck 05 May 2007 (22) at 22:11

Lions are (one of?) the only cats that both hunt and live in groups.

Reply

Chrispminis 05 May 2007 (14) at 14:20

To answer the questions…

Lions almost always hunt in packs, although it is usually a single lioness that singles out the target, and then the rest of the pride comes running to make the kill.

Cape Buffalo do often protect their young. I don’t know whether they protect older members of the herd, but it is much more unlikely that lions would take down a full-grown buffalo. They are considered very dangerous.

Crocodiles, like all reptiles, do not share the stamina that mammals enjoy, and perform only short bursts of energy, requiring recuperation time. They are not built in the same way. This is why, in a mammal vs. reptile fight, if the mammal survives long enough, the reptile will almost surely lose, because it will be unable to keep up the fight.

Reply

damon 02 February 2008 (12) at 12:47

lions usually hunt in groups, as the animals they hunt are often large and highly aggressive. also, buffaloes and many of the other animals lions hunt travel in large herds, so group hunting means greater hunting succes.

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bob rockenbach 09 September 2010 (06) at 06:27

amazing video

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