Brave buffalo mother sacrifices herself to save calf from lions

Posted on 22 April 2024

A courageous buffalo mother attempted to rescue her calf from a pride of lions. While she valiantly chased the lions away, they redirected their attention and captured her instead.

During a remarkable family expedition to the Thornybush Game Reserve in South Africa’s Siviti, Gavin Brett, a lawyer, and his wife, also a lawyer with a fervour for wildlife and sports photography, documented the extraordinary events that unfolded. They later shared their video on

Gavin recounts the tale: ‘Our family embarked on a special journey to Thornybush, commemorating my father’s 80th birthday. Our knowledgeable guide Lucas and our tracker Andrew had been showcasing the reserve to us for several days, and it was on a Sunday morning that this astounding drama took place.’ The adventure commenced early that day when, at approximately 6:20 a.m., they encountered a sizable buffalo herd. With a total of 21 family members from around the globe on board, it was an exceptionally memorable occasion. Little did they know that the day would unfold into an unforgettable experience.

Around 6:40 a.m., the group decided to proceed to a sighting shared over the radio—a pride of lions that had been spotted not far from their location the previous day. By about 6:46 a.m., the lions began to move, prompting Gavin and his family to follow them. The lions led them back to where a buffalo herd was peacefully grazing. At 6:53 a.m., two male lions joined the lionesses that were already in the company of one male, bringing them dangerously close to a buffalo calf.

Gavin elaborates, ‘We were already observing the calf when, suddenly, the lionesses swiftly brought it down. During this intense moment, a lion cub emerged as soon as it realized the calf was down.’ Gavin reached for his video camera, while his children and wife began capturing photos. Meanwhile, the buffalo herd did not stand idly by; they collaborated and devised a plan to rescue the calf. Much like the unity among the lions, the buffalo bulls assumed command, actively confronting the lions with the rest of the herd trailing closely behind. Gavin continues, ‘Notably, it was the mother buffalo who refused to witness her calf being devoured. She confronted the lions without fear. The clash between the bulls and the lions provided just enough time for the calf to escape. Unfortunately, it meant that the lions redirected their attention and took down the mother instead.’ This buffalo mother demonstrated the profound love of a mother, indirectly sacrificing her life for her calf. ‘I have gained a newfound respect for buffalo after witnessing how they protect one another and their young.’

Watch the video below courtesy of Latestsightings.


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