It was spectacular to watch. Deep into the night the sounds of bellowing, stampeding buffalo could be heard in the southern grasslands of Londolozi. 5 hours of sitting with a hunting pride of lions was about to pay off!
The Buffalo cow was exceptionally brave as she managed to chase the young Southern Pride Coalition of 5 males off her struggling calf; but it was the single lioness, made nearly invisible by the moonless night, which ran in from the flank and picked the calf up in her jaws. Within seconds she had run away from the protective buffalo herd.
Once the kill had been made the marauding males heard her start to eat and charged in for a piece of the action.
Here you see a guest’s filming of the events which unfolded…you can clearly see the confusion a lion hunt can bring! Last year we saw this same pride taking on buffalo. Have you ever been lucky enough to witness a lion kill? If so how did the pride dynamics play out? If not, would you want to witness one? Let us know in the comments section below…
Written by: Adam Bannister
Filmed by: Michael Pearl (Londolozi Guest)
Fascinating video. it all happens so quickly! Have seen a few attempts of kills, but never the actual success. Question: Do the spotlights not change the dynamic of the hunt? as their element of surprise is potentially lost. Or do you guys keep the lights off until they’ve made their move?
Fantastic, I read on Nat Geo on lions in Ovakango that are buffalo specialists. Due to hunting buffalo, it has given them the physique of a body builder and are of immense size. I think these are the biggest and most powerful cats in the wild. I think that these pride has not yet mastered the technique of taking adult buffalo. Keep it rolling…
Hello Adam , thank you for news about Southern pride – I hardly find something about this pride in the last months .
It seems the lions from video are the youngs which separeted from the rest of the pride ; when they left Londolozi were 5 boys and 4 girls…
I am quite surprised to see the foto of the young male ; from my knowledge the oldest young males have 3 years and 3 months. He seems very big, even bigger then Eyerefild males which have almost 4 years . Maybe you could share your opinions about the size and status of this males ( I understand the all 5 are alive !?)
Love the Mo-hawk! 🙂 lol!
I have the same question as Penny Parker as to whether or not the spotlight changes the dynamic of the hunt!?
Some very informative and good comments made above…thought I would give a response here as to the whole spotlighting issue. Let me explain…
What is important to understand is that initially we are extremely sensitive with regards to any cat hunting especially at night; so much so that in the last 3 years I have seen only a handful of successful night time hunts. When the cat (lion) is showing interest in an animal you can see a change in body language. Once we see this we pull the car far away from the scene so that we are not attracting an attention to the cat. We will also turn off all the lights and ask all the guests to keep as quiet as possible.We will then sit in dead silence and darkness, purely listening to the events unfolding. This is difficult sometimes as we risk the chance of losing the lions completely, but that is the way we do it. Once we have heard the initial contact then we feel that the ‘strategic chess-like moves’ have been played out and now it is just brute force from both sides as to who will win. This is when we decide to turn the light on. What is also important is that the light at this stage has a dispersion filter on the front which lessens the harsh beam of the spot light. There is a very fine line between getting the guests to see the action and allowing both the predator and prey a fair chance. We do take this dilemma very seriously at Londolozi and we use extreme sensitivity.
Mele, you make a very good observation on the sizes of the lions, one which I myself have been thinking about. I think the buffalo hunting may be a major factor! The Sparta Pride are renowned for NOT hunting buffalo and these days spend all their time on impala or wildebeest; whilst even as we speak the South Pride male Coalition are following the large herd of buffalo. Im sure tonight we will have another buffalo kill. I am sure a diet of regular buffalo builds more muscle then impala! We follow these males with great interest…
If it was actual wildlife filming at night. I think the solution is use of infrared light.
I think Mele makes very good points. I think buffalo bring big reward for a big risk (injury) whereas small prey not so good. I am following this (breakaway) pride with fascination. These boys (and girl) come from one of the biggest and most successful prides in Sabi Sands. Thanks for posting this!