22 Lions Team Up Against Two Buffalo, and 20 Elephants

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: October 14, 2022
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Nature is incredibly beautiful but it can also be incredibly brutal. In this video footage, which contains some disturbing scenes, we see just how brutal it can be. It was taken at the MalaMala game reserve in South Africa and gives us a fascinating insight into how a pride of lions work together to tackle an animal that is much bigger than they are.

Lion Prides Hunting

Prides are generally made up of between five and 15 females who are related. There is usually just one male (although there can be more) and they spend most of their time patrolling their territory and scaring off other rival males! Meanwhile, the females hunt for prey – they are faster, more agile, and less conspicuous than the males. Lions have adopted a hunting tactic of working as a team. As we see here, many lionesses will work together and this enables them to tackle larger prey. A single lioness would struggle to overcome a buffalo on her own.

In this footage, we see between six and ten lions surround a buffalo that is already pretty overwhelmed. One lion has it in a firm grip around the neck and the others are pacing around. But, help is on the way! A second buffalo races in from the right and the lioness releases her grip. For a moment, it looks as if the rescue has been successful but the second buffalo has a change of heart and backs off. There are now around 20 lions surrounding the injured buffalo. We can see several open wounds that are bleeding heavily. From this moment onwards, its fate is sealed.

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In a particularly gruesome development, one lion is actually on the buffalo’s back and tearing at its flesh whilst the stricken animal bellows and staggers around!

Once the buffalo dies and the lions gather around to feed, we see a herd of elephants arrive to view the scene. They may have been alerted by the commotion or by the odor of death. They make a few trumpeting calls and then back away.

Buffalo as Prey

A buffalo is not the easiest target for a lion. They may look like lumbering beasts but they can run fast (up to 37 miles an hour) and are up to five feet tall at the shoulder. From nose to tail they can reach seven feet. Buffaloes are social animals and live in herds – a charging herd of buffaloes can cause major injuries or even death to other animals.

Lion prides and packs of wild dogs are their greatest threat. This is because the predators work as a team to isolate one individual. As we see here, this is a highly effective method of hunting!

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Adalbert Dragon/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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