Contrary to popular belief, male lions do hunt. In fact, they hunt just as well as their female counterparts. Male lions without a family group (pride) often form coalitions (or a small group of males). Cheetah males also establish coalitions. By living, traveling, and hunting together, they increase their chances of survival.
Filmed at Kumana Dam in Kruger National Park, South Africa, this video features a 6-lion-strong coalition hunting cape buffalo (or African buffalo). Initially, a female buffalo (cow) and her baby (calf) drink water at the left of the scene. Both of them appear to be injured. Unable to put weight on her right rear leg, the cow tries to defend her calf as the male lions start the hunt. The wounded calf manages to flee across the water while its mother charges at the lions.
The lions continue to provoke the cow, attempting to lure her out of the water. Eventually, she is forced to move, opening herself up to attack by the coalition. She calls out for help. Two large male buffalo (bulls) come rushing through the water to her aid. The lions momentarily retreat when faced with the huge, muscular bulls.
Seizing the opportunity, the cow crosses the water. The coalition quickly catches up to resume the hunt. She makes a desperate run with the two bulls. At the last moment, she turns to charge the lions. Her injured leg causes her to fall. The lions close in quickly, attacking her again. Her pained calls prompt the return of the bulls. The coalition backs down again for a moment. The bull pushes the cow with his horns, urging her to get up. She makes it to her feet and continues the fight.
The lions work together to tease and exhaust the cow. She charges at them repeatedly. The coalition takes advantage of her fatigue, pouncing on her until one of the bulls comes to help. Despite the bull’s efforts, the male lions eventually overpower the cow, winning the hunt. Don’t forget to watch the incredible video at the end!
Is This a Unique Case, or Do Male Lions Regularly Hunt?
As previously stated, male lions are perfectly capable of hunting. They stalk and kill prey, just like females (lionesses). However, males governing over a pride of lions usually leave hunting to the lionesses. That’s because the males are responsible for protecting their pride from threats. It’s their job to watch out for hyenas, leopards, or rival male lions attempting to attack baby lions (cubs) or steal food from the pride. When males form a coalition, they have to hunt for themselves. After a kill, some eat while others stand watch. Coalition males protect one another.
Did the Cape Buffalo Stand a Chance?
In a fight between a single cape buffalo and one lion, the buffalo’s chances increase dramatically. These buffalo grow up to 2,000 pounds. Both males and females have huge, sharp horns. They know how to use their weight to overpower and trample lions. A single lion does not possess the strength to pull down a buffalo of this size on its own. As we see in the video, a coalition can be successful in such a fight. A pride of lions is also capable of taking down these massive creatures. However, if the buffalo is with their herd, the lions stand little chance of killing one. That’s why lions spend so much time trying to separate out a weak, injured, or baby animal from the herd. Cape buffalo should definitely be included on the list of animals that can kill lions.
Watch the Amazing Male Lion Hunt Below!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/AOosthuizen
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