Animals

By Kristiana Hall


An impressive standoff between a lion and a herd of elephants has been caught on camera.

The lion pride in Chobe National Park, Botswana, had been followed by UK photographer, James Gifford, who witnessed one of the lioness’s jump on the small elephant’s back.

PIC FROM James Gifford/Caters News

Yet the lioness wasn’t strong enough to take down the calf on her own, and by the time her backup arrived, the herd of elephants were there to defend the young.

James said: “I had been following the pride for a while in the hope of capturing them hunting. 

“When I saw the elephant herd approaching their direction, the lions lay low but I was still surprised that the herd didn’t change their course.

PIC FROM James Gifford/Caters News

“Despite the lack of cover, the elephants didn’t appear to notice the lions, or if they did, they didn’t perceive them as a threat.

The pride wouldn’t have any chance against the herd, so they waited until the adults had already passed before a couple of the lionesses seized their opportunity to attack a youngster which was on its own, straggling some distance behind the others. 

“The unfortunate youngster got the fright of its life, but although one of the lionesses succeeded in jumping on its back, she was unable to bring it down on her own.

PIC FROM James Gifford/Caters News

“Crucially a second female only arrived to help 10 seconds later, by which time the brief window of opportunity had closed.

“The calf fled towards the safety of the herd and when it was within around 20 metres, the lionesses abandoned the attack knowing that if they got too close to the adult elephants, they risked serious injury.”