africaaddict

Suicide month: A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's Sth Luangwa NP

17 posts in this topic

Have just returned from 4 weeks in the Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia, my 8th trip to the dark continent and my most incredible safari experience ever, as they say over there this time of year is known

as suicide month!......................never a more apt word.wink3.gif 40+ deg's C (105+ F) most days with some tsetse flies to keep you honest.

The lion on buffalo predation was amazing, plus other sights as well.........stay tuned.wink3.gif

The weather gods proved to be well behaved, having experienced many threatening days but only one real downpour the whole time.

 

 

 

5.41pm.

The no-tip tailed female from the Nsefu pride was the first to spot 2 male Buffalo drinking on the other side of the river and promptly crossed, followed by the others.

(would have preferred the whole reflection, but the shoreline was coming into play)

What followed that evening was the stalking, attacking and eventual death of BOTH buffalo!

An amazing scene to witness!

 

 

ALL images taken @ Fish Eagle lagoon, Luangwa River, Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia late Oct 2011

 

 

 

D3s 500VR 1/400s f/5.6 ISO3200 F/F

 

D313883-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

5.44pm

By now all but the 3 pride coalition males had buffalo on their mind.

 

D3s 500VR 1/320s f/5.6 ISO3200 F/F

 

D313900a-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Again, deliberately keeping focus on the central lion as she had my attention.

D3s 500VR 1/400s f/5.6 ISO3200 F/F

 

D313916-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

5.46pm

The pride were now closing the gap rapidly. (the other boy is just out of frame, upper left)

At this stage we were sure both knew they were being stalked, but they seemed to defiantly stand their ground.

 

D3s 500VR 1/640s f/4 ISO6400 -cropped (top & bottom only) to pano. I now needed to up the ISO to 6400 & f/4 in order to keep a reasonable S/S.

 

D313929-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

5.48pm. +temp still hovering close to 40C!

The activity was really ramping up now, as the no tail tip female the best & most experienced hunter of the pride led the way by

climbing on the back of the first buffalo.

At this stage there were 3 adult females and 4 sub adults in the thick of it.

 

D3s 500VR 1/400s f/4 ISO6400 -cropped (top & bottom only) to pano.

 

D313945-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

We sat back and observed from a distance............. but now with heart/excitement level racing biggrin3.gif I needed to be closer.

D3s 500VR 1/400s f/4 ISO6400 -cropped (top & bottom only) to pano.

 

D313950-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

5.56pm.

Having finally positioned our vehicle closer as the action now started to spread to the river section making for some exciting water chase/dance routine sequences.biggrin3.gif

 

D3s 500VR 1/200s f/4 ISO6400

 

D314044-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

D3s 500VR 1/200s f/4 ISO6400

 

D314059-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

D3s 500VR 1/200s f/4 ISO6400

 

D314029a-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've left the other buffalo still in the frame and could have cropped it out, either way, but it showed the calmness at times the other buffalo

seemed to portray as his mate was copping a full round house clawing on his back.Whoa%21.png

At times the rest of the pride even took time out to grab a drink as the battle developed into a series of rounds.

I, unfortunately didn't have all day to capture a lot more of the action as light as diminishing fast.redface3.gif

 

D3s 500VR 1/250s f/4 ISO6400

 

D314034-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

7.04pm

An hour has passed and after much mayhem one of the buffalo's has become stuck in the thick gooey mud of the riverbank and the pride

seized the moment and began tucking in by taking out the tail and biting the spine, subsequently paralysing it.

During the time it became stuck, and with the pride concentrating it's attention on this hapless guy the other buff headed for the safety of the scrub,

however it amazingly returned to help it's bro and fatally paid the price with the pride turning on it, this made sense as it was less of a risk with the other

now drawing the attention of large crocs with it trying feebly to free itself from it's muddy grave.

 

I used my SB900 flash zoom function in this image to try and capture the reflecting croc eyes in the BG.

D3s 500VR +SB900 1/60s f/4 ISO400, slight crop top & bottom to pano.

 

D314163-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

7.16am (next morning)

It's now the following morning and most of the pride are digesting their meal and relaxing in the early morning rays,

the no-tip tail female however couldn't resist one last antagonistic confrontation with the mud stuck buffalo which had somehow managed to turn and face the shoreline.

...............truly mortal enemies!

 

Egil informed me ...."this poor fellow perished later that evening, being eaten whilst still alive, from behind by crocodiles. The lions didn't bother."

 

The whole battle experience I shall cherish and never forget, thanks for putting up with the long winded story and image line.biggrin3.gif

 

D3s 500VR 1/2500s f/5.6 ISO800

 

D314380-XL.jpg

 

 

 

 

Cheers

Marc

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Marc, works well put together in a sequence like this.

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Marc, works well put together in a sequence like this.

 

Couldn't agree more Hilary, much more effective I feel than on that other website. ;)

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Marc, as well I think the quality is pretty good with these as posted, don't know if the size is any different. Mind you, I have a preference for the cute giraffe calf myself!! :rolleyes:

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Thanks, Marc. Great luck!!! That first picture in the series is a gem!!!!

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Great stuff again ;)

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Just superb pictures. Congratulations on some exceptional work! Thanks for sharing.

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Impressive series of shots - I like the first images best as a stand alone photo of lioness.

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Superb is correct! Went to your smugmug gallery for a sneak preview... This promises to be a humdinger of a TR, can't wait to read about it.

 

Curious also to know how you divvied up your four weeks in SL. Thanks.

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Truly amazing, all aspects including one of the buffalos returning to help the other. Wow!

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Great, great stuff, Marc! Saw something like this on Nat Geo's "Relentless Enemies" episode...can imagine your excitement on seeing such an (untamed) event in person!

And thanks for adding the exif details of the photos captured.

 

Shreyas

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Posted (edited)

Appreciate the comments guys, many thanks.

 

Curious also to know how you divvied up your four weeks in SL. Thanks.

 

Spent in 3 camps, Mwamba(Kaingo) bushcamp 6 nights, then Tafika 12 nights and finishing up with Luangwa River camp 7 nights. ;)

Edited by africaaddict

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Great series, Marc. It certainly works better when presented in this form

 

:)

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great shots..what a sight. I always feel for the prey even though i am a big fan of the lions.

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What a battle!

Awesome pics thanks Marc.

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Posted (edited)

By the way, 3 shots are not showing up in your post- 3rd, 4th & 5th from the bottom.

 

Edited by AKR1

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Posted (edited)

 

 

Edited by AKR1

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