Buffalo Attacked by Lionesses – Escapes Death

by on June 8, 2011

in Wildlife

It was as if they were gladiators fighting in an arena. A moment of raw African Magic happening right in front of us! The spectators sat transfixed; from start to finish they starred, a medley of emotions… joy, shock, horror, awe, love and hate. The whole event will remain embedded in the memories of those fortunate few who got to witness the battle.

Sparta Lioness on the back of a Buffalo Bull by Rex Miller

The two Sparta lionesses started harassing the buffalo bull minutes before the sun rose on a cold Winter’s morning in the African bush. Initially guests, rangers and trackers were vying for action; hoping to capture footage of a real-time kill and see the completion of the great circle of life. A swift attack by the buffalo saw one lioness go flying through the air and it looked like the showdown would swing the way of the buffalo.  Slowly however, the lionesses fought back and allegiances started shifting as the big buffalo bull began was dragged down putting up a desperate fight for his life.

The epic battle lasted for a good six hours. The inexperience of the 2 Sparta Lionesses became all the more obvious as the story unfolded. They did exceptionally well to get the massive buffalo onto the ground but simply could not complete the hunt and kill their prey.

Sparta Lioness Sent Flying by Rex Miller

As the hours drew on, both sides tiring from the ordeal, the predator-prey interface became its most severe. I couldn’t help but think that what we were watching was a stale mate brought about by thousands of years of natural selection. The evolutionary arms race was playing out – This was truly the survival of the fittest!  After 6 long hours the buffalo miraculously managed to stand up, shake of the lionesses and make a run for it! Torn to pieces; claw and teeth marks scarred his bloody body yet he had escaped death and survived to live another day and give us observers another stirring sighting in the wilderness of Londolozi

We have seen a lion/buffalo battle like this before, but what do you make of this epic battle? Are you relieved that the buffalo survived or disappointed that the Sparta lionesses were not able to make the kill? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Filmed and photographed by Rex Miller and Tom Imrie
Written by Adam Bannister


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  • Linda

    Gosh! I had wished they had made the kill …..but quickly. Lions are much more endangered than buffalo but I do not like to see any animal tormented and in distress. May they learn their lesson for next time!

  • James H

    Absolutely amazing footage! And so many people think lions have it easy. What an incredible dual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668533164 Judy Guffey

    Lions/buffalo … both with the instinct to live and kill…what amazing film… thank you!

  • Penny Parker

    Its a difficult situation. Lions needing a meal to survive. And a Buffalo Bull fighting for its life. I agree with Linda, dissapointed for the Lions after 6 longs hours of work – probably work off enough energy to need more than that Buffalo as a meal! But the Buffalo put up such a good fight. He deserved another day after what he went through – probably deserves a drink too! :)

  • http://Londolozi Adam Bannister

    This is truly spectacular footage! What is interesting is that the Sparta Pride seem to have been split into little fragments of their former selves…hopefully they can regroup soon!

  • Kimberly Davis

    We were lucky enough to be the ones to get to witness this battle… it was a mix of feelings… very sad for the buffalo at first, we really thought they had got him, but to our utter surprise the buffalo had a rush of adreniline and got up and shook the lions off. We followed them for hours where they kept having stand offs. Finally the lions got tired and layed down by a tree after getting a drink of water after they lost the buffalo. The lions didn’t get to eat, but we did feel bad for the buffalo because he had major injuries and was walking around by himself… lets just hope he found the rest of the herd soon…

  • Rex

    Just wanted to note that not all that footage was mine. Thanks to Kimberly & Drew Davis (USA) and Greg Meaker (Cayman Islands) for adding your great videos. It will be in my memory for many years to come. Not sure i will ever get that close to Buffalo again ;)

  • http://graeme.marais@gmail.com Graeme Marais

    Unbelievable!

  • josiah kabiru

    I am very proud of the buffalo.you dont have to accept defeat just coz history dictates so.Be the odd one out.

  • Jo Lynne Jones

    Adam, thanks again. Full of questions about the logistics. Did you stay all 6 hours? I see the video vehicle – were you doing the shots we saw initially and then add in the ones from the other truck?

    Yes, James, it is hard to be a predator. I just took your words to a class of 10 year olds this week. I showed the leopard-giraffe-hyena sequence from last month plus some other misses I have recorded. At the end of the presentation the one thing they all took home was that “It is HARD to be a predator.”

  • http://Londolozi Adam Bannister

    Hi Jo, the scene is epic. I actually did not film any of it but rather got the footage from about 4 video cameras. One vehicle did stay for about 4 hours and then other vehicles arrived and ‘took over’ so to speak. It was truly spectacular and the type of footage you just don’t see everyday!

  • Gavin Lautenbach

    Awesome sighting Well Done !!

  • http://www.cliron.com Alvin Unger

    Rex, how cool that you were there. I guess that’s why you stay with the party. How’s Life doing on his break? I feel bad that the lions lost, because they are the minority. If a buffalo came upon a wounded lion, he wouldn’t hesitate to make mince meat out of it!

  • Callie Barrow

    Amazing photography, Rex!!!! …..but then I always knew that you have an artistic eye!! Seriously, though, this is truly exceptional video footage of an awesome happening. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the suffering buffalo though, six hours is a l-o-n-g time to endure a novice killing spree by those young lions!!! What I wouldn’t do to visit Londolozi ….. my camera would go CRAZY!!! Lots of love X X X X

  • eva iervolino

    That’s what Africa is about – pure adventure and stress for all its creatures.

  • Patrick

    Disappointed. I thought highly of the Eyrefield/Sparta lions but I’m afraid killing a buffalo bull was too hard for them. As oppose to the Mapogo brothers of course.