04 Oct 2015 An unexpected lion kill by Reyneke Smit
On the way back to camp, my guests and I came across a buffalo cow in the middle of a waterhole while two lionesses watched and waited eagerly on the bank. The scrawny and seemingly weak buffalo had evidently been left behind by its herd.
My first thought was that we would have to wait a while before any action as the lionesses seemed to be waiting for the buffalo to come out of the water, rather than going in to get it. Cats are notorious for their aversion to H20.
It wasn’t 10 minutes when the buffalo made the wrong move and tried to make a dash for it. The lionesses were ready and waiting, and put up a fight for about 20 – 30 minutes in an attempt to get the buffalo down. One of the lionesses disappeared into the bush, leaving her counterpart alone with the resilient buffalo. She must have thought that the kill had been a success, but she was mistaken because when she came back with her cubs she found that the buffalo had managed to break free and had gotten back into the water. Once again, the other lioness was standing impotently on the banks.
And so the waiting game began all over again. We knew that once the buffalo emerged (which it would eventually have to do) we would yet again witness the magnificent power and strength that both of these species possess, and the dogged determination to never give in. Another two hours passed. Eventually we were the ones who had to give up, we headed back to Camp Jabulani and we left the scene as we had found it.
First thing the next morning we headed out to the dam and found what we had anticipated – lions on a buffalo kill. The buffalo most probably couldn’t withstand the cold over the course of the night, and tried to make its escape.
Lions are of the most opportunistic Kapama Game Reserve wildlife and are happier to prey on the weak as this makes their hunt much easier. Fortunately for them they had a frail buffalo at their mercy and scored a huge meal after much patience and perseverance.