Greedy rushed into the buffalo herd to attack the pair of lions who ran away because of the buffalo attack


Two feisty lions were scared off by a herd of buffalo in a thrilling encounter in South Africa – proving that there really is strength in numbers.

The spectacular encounter took place in Zimanga private nature reserve, and shows a bold young lion launch an attack on the herd of muscular buffalo, before the intended victims regroup and charge at the apex predators, sending them fleeing.

The remarkable photos were captured by Swedish wildlife photographer Staffan Widstrand, 60, who was taken aback by the unusual incident, even describing it as ‘cute’.

‘The whole area used to be a huge cattle ranch,’ explains Staffan, who started photography nearly 50 years ago as ‘a way of showing off to his friends’ when he was a teenager.

‘Shortly after they sold the Hereford cows, the area was left to nature and before you it, it was rewilded. First the grazers – like the buffalo – came and then a couple of years later, lions were introduced. These photos show the first time that the buffalos, that have been here for some years, and lions met.

‘All the animals knew instinctively what the roles were supposed to be – the role of predator and prey – but it seemed to take a little while to sink in. At first, the young lion chased the buffalo until they thought, “hey, wait a minute, there’s more of us and we’re bigger than that young lion”, so instead the buffalo chased the lion. The hunter became the hunted.’


‘Realising something wasn’t right, the lion eventually concluded that, “I’m supposed to be the chaser and you the prey”, so back he went,’ adds Staffan, who uses the Instagram handle, @staffanwidstrand.

‘So, it continued, off and on for a long time. Then night came and both camps rested. A few days later the lion killed its first buffalo and the food chain reasserted itself.’

The 60-year-old suggests he was ‘in the right place at the right time’ and sat for two hours watching the back-and-forth waiting for the perfect shot.

‘It was a humorous situation which could’ve been a deadly one. A bit cute almost. The power balance was not quite in place and the lion really could’ve been killed if it had attacked the whole herd,’ he recalls.

‘That’s what I love about wildlife photography – it is wild, it is real, it is difficult, it is fickle, it takes skill and patience, or at least some stubbornness, but it can be so very rewarding.

‘A lot of my work is about the beauty of the wild, the joy of nature, and how important it is to rewild some areas. Rewilding is what we need and that is happening in a number of areas, and that is badly needed in a lot of other areas – like the UK for example.’


Leave a Comment