Lions hunting buffalo as seen on Planet Earth 2

November 10th 2016  |   Botswana, Travel, Wildlife Safaris, Countries, Experiences  |  by   Richard Smith
lions hunting buffalo

The BBC’s Planet Earth 2, presented by David Attenborough, includes a number of scenes where a pride of lion hunt buffalo.

There are a few lion prides that take down buffalo. Lions don’t generally hunt buffalo exclusively, but in a small area of Botswana’s Okavango Delta they developed this as a strategy after they found themselves in an awkward situation.

The Duba pride found themselves stranded on an island after a shift in the course of a river. However there were also a large number of buffalo stuck with them and this led to a change in normal lion behaviour.

Male-lion-stares-at-buffalo-herd-Mike-Myers BBC’s Planet Earth 2

Morning lion stand off as a lion stares at the buffalo herd

Initially they’d stalk them at drinking spots, but the buffalo got wise to this and formed a huge herd of over 1,000 – safety in numbers!


Lionesses eyeing up the buffalo herd grazing in the water

The pride changed tactics, almost integrating with the herd and following their every move, picking off younger or weaker animals, typically at night. This led to the buffalos altering their behaviour too, sleeping in a huge group on the ground but with their heads, and importantly their horns, facing outward as an impenetrable barrier.


Lioness in a ‘face off’ stance with the aggressive buffalo herd

The lions in turn reacted to this by changing their hunting patterns; sleeping at night, as the buffalo do, and attacking when they’re on the move during the day. They were able to do this due to the lushness of the Okavango Delta allowing them the ability to stay cool in the watery channels.


The Duba pride – fierce, excellent swimmers and the biggest lions in the world

Their 100% beef diet led to some stunning specimens – bigger and stronger than other lions in the region.


In recent times, the pride’s diet has altered again. They’ve found it easier to hunt lechwe, an antelope species common in the region. For now the buffalo of the Duba plains can graze a little more comfortably.


This private area of Botswana’s Okavango Delta has just two camps – Duba Plains and Duba Expedition Camp – in 30,000 hectares of prime wilderness, full of wildlife such as lions, elephants, hippos, leopard and even Kalahari species such as aardwolf and pangolin. Duba Plains is currently being refurbished and Duba Expedition Camp offers an alternative during the building works.


Duba Expedition Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana, Great Plains Conservation

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