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Lions Hunt Buffalo Calf Left Behind by Herd

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Published on Mar 28, 2017

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34-year-old Field Guide, Cliff Butlin, managed to provide his guests with a stupefying front-row-seat sighting at Mjejane Game Reserve, 21 March 2017.

Cliff recalls: “The lions had already attacked the calf before I arrived. The buffalo cow and other members of the herd had pushed the lions away, so when I arrived at the sighting the lions were watching the buffalo from a safe distance plotting their attack again.

After an hour of waiting, the buffalo started moving off with the lions not too far behind them. I went down a road and waited for the buffalo to arrive when another OSV radioed in to say that the lions were starting to give chase. This was when all hell broke loose and the calf was left behind. The lions had initially run past the calf as they did not see it on the other side of the bush, but when the calf called for its mother, the lions turned and locked eyes on the helpless victim and I knew they were going take it down.
The mother of the calf did not come back as she was possibly injured as well during the first attack and the other buffalo could smell the lion's scent on the calf.

I’ve been guiding now for just over 12 years, mainly doing Kruger park drives and tours but in the last 3 years, I’ve been on Mjejane Reserve which is a private reserve incorporated into the Kruger. I’ve seen a lot over the years but this was a special moment! When you predict the moment and it unfolds in exactly that way, it is so rewarding.

Advice to others in the same sighting situation would be to remain still and not to panic. My main theory is not to put human emotions on the wild animals in situations like this

That evening the lions were in the same area drinking next to the road. The next day we found the buffalo herd that was chased and noticed a bull buffalo with its tail missing so I suspect these lions had another go at them during the night with no luck”.

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