YOU NEVER KNOW what you’re going to see when you go on Safari in the savanna. Limited space and resources act as a crucible for conflict amongst the animals vying for survival.
In this case, the tourists at Kruger National Park, South Africa got more than what they bargained for. A group of young lions had recently trapped a lizard when one of the cubs snatched the lizard up and wandered off into dangerous territory. That is, too close to a buffalo.
The oblivious young lion was then in for quite the surprise. The buffalo wasted no time before charging after the young cub.
“Buffalo and lions are pretty famously not the best of friends,” says National Geographic explorer and big cat expert Luke Dollar.
Watch: This territorial buffalo used its horns to flip a lion cub that was encroaching on its territory.
Dollar, who is also a professor at Catawba College, adds, “While lions can take down buffalo, usually as a part of a concerted effort, this buffalo certainly didn't pass on the opportunity to remind the lions they're stronger—and decidedly unhappy to share space with them.”
The video captured by the tourists shows the lion cub being thrown about five feet into the air, losing the lizard in its teeth, and walking away bewildered. This interaction will likely serve as a lesson for the growing lion to be more wary of its surroundings, and to not fool around when it comes to buffalo.
“There's nothing like a quick pitch through the air to remind the lion that if you mess with the bull, you get the horns,” says Dollar.