See a Wildebeest Launch Itself Over Two Lions and Glide Across a Lake to Escape Six More

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: November 14, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Silvere Pluquet
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Key Points

  • Wildebeest or Gnu are a species of antelopes native to the southern and eastern parts of Africa.
  • They live in big herds and usually fall prey to predators when they become isolated or stray from the group.
  • They are well known source of food for other predators such as Lions, Hyenas, Cheetahs and Dogs.

If you are going to do something as spectacular as this, you may as well do it in front of a lot of people! This awesome escape by an extremely agile wildebeest has already been viewed over three and a half million times so this brave animal has certainly had a wide audience. The heart-stopping moment occurs when all seems to be lost for this poor animal, pursued by a pack of around eight lions. The footage was shot at the stunning Rhino Post Safari Lodge, Bonga Njujula, from Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The Great Wildebeest Escape

If you have not seen wildebeests before, think of them as a kind of extreme antelope! They live in herds on the grass plains and bush-covered savanna of Africa where they feed on mainly grass. Wildebeests belong to the Bovidae family which is the same as buffalo and domestic cows although unlike our domestic breeds, they are actually endangered. The good news is that their numbers have grown from 250,000 in 1960, to around 1.5 million in 2020.

This particular wildebeest has become trapped between a pack of hunting lions and a river but somehow manages to deal with both in a display of amazing bravery and agility. First, they soar over two lionesses, taking the hunters by surprise and evading capture by just a few feet. In the slow-motion, you can see that one of the lionesses tries to catch the wildebeest by also leaping into the air but she fails and gets kicked in the head and thrown backward.

With two lions still ahead, the wildebeest then makes a rapid change of direction and darts into the river where they beat the lions to the other side, scramble back onto land and continue to run away with the lions still in pursuit but some distance behind. Somehow, they have managed to outpace the entire pride!

Wildebeests Evading Their Predators

Wildebeest have a number of adaptions to help them evade predators. Both the males and females have horns and they are very energetic and agile. They are large animals, weighing up to 600 pounds so it takes a powerful lion to bring them down. But, they have to catch them first! Because wildebeests can run at up to 38 mph that is no easy task.

When threatened, they gather in a group, stomp the ground and let out loud calls to warn each other and to put the predator off. As a group, they are hard to hunt which is why lions try to separate off one individual. Although, as we can see here, that is not always successful either!

Is this Normal Behavior for Wildebeests?

Wildebeests employ many tactics to evade predators while in group. Predators such as Lions, Hyenas and Wild Dogs usually stalk and hunt these animals in groups by isolating one Wildebeest from the herd. Once isolated the Wildebeest usually gets surrounded and cornered, eventually becoming the meal.

However, before giving up these creatures put up a fight and do their best to escape, which includes jumping, kicking or running away from predators.

Next up:

Cocky Jackal Bites Male Lion’s Tail in Bold Taunt

How Long Do Lions Live: The Oldest Lion Ever

Watch Wildebeests Making a Harrowing Crossing of a Crocodile-Infested River

wildebeest
Buffalo
iStock.com/Silvere Pluquet
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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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