Buffalo calf survives lion attack?: Video

The Nduna 7 spent their day resting at Makeche.

Spaced out
And then carried on resting into the night only to get on the move about 9pm.
Manyari led the way taking them north. Suddenly she was aware of something ahead and leaving the rest of the pride to continue north she did a huge circle to the west obviously hoping to come up behind the prey she had heard/seen/smelt. We followed her and having done her half circle we heard animals stampeding away and then zebra calling. Unsuccessful, and shortly afterwards somehow the rest of the pride were all together again without even calling.
They continued on north.

Sunset 04/23
Barend went down with a puncture.
I kept up with the lions while he changed it. But soon after leaving him the lions had a buffalo bull in their sights. Murphy’s Law! This bull was huge and stood his ground charging any lion that approached him. Nduna either wiser than the others, or more likely just lazy, lay down and watched. This must have gone on for about 20 minutes, lions hassling buffalo and buffalo chasing lions. Barend arrived after about 10 minutes, luckily still no real action.
Then a stalemate. The lions lay down and the buffalo stood staring at them for ages before sauntering off, leaving the lions to their lazy selves.
After another rest Manyari led the pride to a herd of buffalo. While we followed her one of the other lionesses managed to catch a young buffalo calf. The whole pride of 7 were suddenly onto it all biting and clawing wherever they could get a hold of it. But the calf’s thick skin was keeping it alive. None of them were trying to kill the little guy. They were more interested in feeding.

On the menu
The calf’s cries brought the herd and it’s mother back. Several times a bull chased the lions off but then couldn’t find the calf and the lions snuck back. Eventually the herd were successful in chasing off the lions and with a reassuring lick and nudge from mom, the calf got up. How it had survived the lion’s teeth and claws for the last 10 minutes is just incredible.
Although wobbly on his feet the calf was walking. But when his mother turned away to get him to follow her, Nduna came bolting in, grabbed the calf and ran off with it. The rest of the pride were onto it too and then the feeding began. But still they didn’t kill the little guy. For at least another 20 minutes we could still here the calf’s cries.
People tend not to have respect for hyaenas and wild dogs because they rip their prey apart while it is still alive. But at least in both their cases they would have killed this calf in a minute or less. So why don’t lions get the wrap for their mean murderous ways?

Why is it that we tend to give lions credit for killing animals?
Is he really the King of Beast?
And yet wild dogs and hyaenas just get a bad rap for doing the same thing but far more efficiently.
Once the calf was eventually dead, Nduna stamped his mark on it and ran off with the whole carcass leaving nothing for those who’d helped kill the calf with him.
The rest of the pride hung around, probably hoping to at least get something. Until they heard other lions calling to the north. They left Nduna and soon joined up with the rest of the pride. Now they were a real killing machine and soon were after buffalo bulls again. Twice they gave chase but the bulls got away.
Only just before dawn did they let up with their hunting and rested. So did we!

Lazy dawn
It was a long night and a tough one on my vehicle too. Broken half-shaft (meant I didn’t have 4 wheel drive), leaking exhaust (noisy), leaking clutch master cylinder, 3 tyres going flat and a bent tie-rod. These Toyota’s of ours sure take a bashing but do incredibly well when one considers what we put them through.

14 thoughts on “Buffalo calf survives lion attack?: Video

  1. quelea-man

    lions lions lions. it’s all about lions, now. sheesh

    what happened kim? what happened to the queleas? we all want to know about what happened to the queleas.

    it’s not just me. oh no. i am sure i speak for all the wildcast fans when i say it’s time to give the lions a break and get back to the real story. the quelea story.

    sincerely, quelea-man

  2. nuanetsi

    Wow, that was very interesting and difficult to watch. Life is certainly raw in the wild. I wonder if the herbivores are protected from shock by some hormones that dulls the pain? It must be very difficult to keep track of the lions to get a decent depth to the story of their lives. You did amazing well to get so close to the young buffalo. Keep up the good work.

  3. idelasseblack


    In regards to the lions eating the buffalo alive, I think there most be some psychological
    theory. The cries for help and pain probably excites them. It is quite cruel of them, since they have the tools to finish the job in a very short time.

    I think hyenas have a bad reputation because they don’t have the beauty of a lion, they are more mean looking. As for wild dogs- I think they are great and it is a shame that they are not as popular as lions are. I think they should be the kings since they are the most successful of all hunters. ( 85% success rate).

    Great job with the videos.
    By the way how is that Tjololo guy?


  4. David

    Hi Kim,
    great once again.
    Yes, nature at its most rawness.
    Surviving is what’s all about I think, so feeding comes before even killing the prey sometimes.
    Definitely with wild dogs and hyenas, and sometimes with lions too.
    Probably not only with buffalo, but also when they tackle ellies (this only regularly seen in a specific area in Bots near Savuti).
    So, I think we just have to be neutral, accept what is unfolding in front of eyes andlet it be.
    Congratulations for the video.

  5. Wildcaster Post author

    Hey Quelea Man. Thought you’d got lost on the way home. But then knowing you’d been in the bush for a couple of months i remembered you had lots to catch up on back home. Hope you got that right. I’m glad you’re loving the lion stuff. Awesome behaviour!!! Oh and by the way, those Quelea things, I think they were all sprayed! Not to worry, there’s bound to be another 10 million around next year to infest our bush! Seriously – they’re all gone now. Left about a week ago. You can just imagine how I miss them. Nothing to take pictures of any more.
    Hope you’re well and enjoy them lions. Much more to come!!!
    Idelasseblack – Heard about a week ago that Tjololo is doing really well and had recenlty beaten up what everyone thought was the biggest and most invincible male leopard. So he still rules. He was well trained as you will well remember.

  6. craig

    hey kim

    my limited maths skills tell me that tjololo has been a dominant male for 7 years ta least. how long do male leopards supposed to be in there prime???

    thanx for the great work.


    That was unbearable. I thought the killing of the big bull was gruesome….I guess being a mother I just can’t bear to see anything happen to young ones. Yeah, I know, I know this is reality.

  8. Wildcaster Post author

    Craig. About 5 years is a good innings for a male leopard. But Tjololo is the ultimate dude obviously. Even though he’s a small leopard, he still manages to rule.

  9. Rachel

    That’s amazing to me that the herd comes back.

    It’s definitely sad that the calf didn’t make it, but I guess that’s the way of things. A lion’s gotta eat.

    Of course, I wish the pride would’ve just put the poor thing out of it’s misery.

    Great video, though.

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