A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuangwa

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A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuangwa

Postby Marc » Mon 6 Feb 2012 04:31

Have recently returned from 4 weeks in the Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia, my 8th trip to the dark continent and my most incredible safari experience ever, as they say over there this time of year is known
as suicide month!......................never a more apt word.Image 40+ deg's C (105+ F) most days with some tsetse flies to keep you honest.
The lion on buffalo predation was amazing, plus other sights as well.........stay tuned.Image
The weather gods proved to be well behaved, having experienced many threatening days but only one real downpour the whole time.



5.41pm.
The no-tip tailed female from the Nsefu pride was the first to spot 2 male Buffalo drinking on the other side of the river and promptly crossed, followed by the others.
(would have preferred the whole reflection, but the shoreline was coming into play)
What followed that evening was the stalking, attacking and eventual death of BOTH buffalo!
An amazing scene to witness!


ALL images taken @ Fish Eagle crossing, Luangwa River, Sth Luangwa NP- Zambia late Oct 2011



D3s 500VR 1/400s f/5.6 ISO3200 F/F

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5.44pm
By now all but the 3 pride coalition males had buffalo on their mind.

D3s 500VR 1/320s f/5.6 ISO3200 F/F

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Again, deliberately keeping focus on the central lion as she had my attention.
D3s 500VR 1/400s f/5.6 ISO3200 F/F

Image




5.46pm
The pride were now closing the gap rapidly. (the other boy is just out of frame, upper left)
At this stage we were sure both knew they were being stalked, but they seemed to defiantly stand their ground.

D3s 500VR 1/640s f/4 ISO6400 -cropped (top & bottom only) to pano. I now needed to up the ISO to 6400 & f/4 in order to keep a reasonable S/S.

Image





5.48pm. +temp still hovering close to 40C!
The activity was really ramping up now, as the no tail tip female the best & most experienced hunter of the pride led the way by
climbing on the back of the first buffalo.
At this stage there were 3 adult females and 4 sub adults in the thick of it.

D3s 500VR 1/400s f/4 ISO6400 -cropped (top & bottom only) to pano.

Image





We sat back and observed from a distance............. but now with heart/excitement level racing Image I needed to be closer.
D3s 500VR 1/400s f/4 ISO6400 -cropped (top & bottom only) to pano.

Image





5.56pm.
Having finally positioned our vehicle closer as the action now started to spread to the river section making for some exciting water chase/dance routine sequences.Image

D3s 500VR 1/200s f/4 ISO6400

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D3s 500VR 1/200s f/4 ISO6400

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D3s 500VR 1/200s f/4 ISO6400

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I've left the other buffalo still in the frame and could have cropped it out, either way, but it showed the calmness at times the other buffalo
seemed to portray as his mate was copping a full round house clawing on his back.Image
At times the rest of the pride even took time out to grab a drink as the battle developed into a series of rounds.
I, unfortunately didn't have all day to capture a lot more of the action as light as diminishing fast.Image

D3s 500VR 1/250s f/4 ISO6400

Image





7.04pm
An hour has passed and after much mayhem one of the buffalo's has become stuck in the thick gooey mud of the riverbank and the pride
seized the moment and began tucking in by taking out the tail and biting the spine, subsequently paralysing it.
During the time it became stuck, and with the pride concentrating it's attention on this hapless guy the other buff headed for the safety of the scrub,
however it amazingly returned to help it's bro and fatally paid the price with the pride turning on it, this made sense as it was less of a risk with the other
now drawing the attention of large crocs with it trying feebly to free itself from it's muddy grave.

I used my SB900 flash zoom function in this image to try and capture the reflecting croc eyes in the BG.
D3s 500VR +SB900 1/60s f/4 ISO400, slight crop top & bottom to pano.

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7.16am (next morning)
It's now the following morning and most of the pride are digesting their meal and relaxing in the early morning rays,
the no-tip tail female however couldn't resist one last antagonistic confrontation with the mud stuck buffalo which had somehow managed to turn and face the shoreline.
...............truly mortal enemies!
This poor fellow perished later that evening, being eaten whilst still alive, from behind by crocodiles. The lions didn't bother.
The whole battle experience I shall cherish and never forget, thanks for putting up with the long winded story and image line.Image

D3s 500VR 1/2500s f/5.6 ISO800

Image


C & C most welcome

Cheers
Marc
"My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am"


D3|D300+MB-D10|17-35 |24-70|70-200VR|500 VR|Sigma 150 f/2.8 macro|TC1.4&1.7E|SB 900
Gitzo GT3540LS & GM3551|Markins M20|W'mbrly Sidekick|Jobo & Epson7000
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Re: A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuangwa

Postby StanyB » Mon 6 Feb 2012 19:03

Cruel wildlife. :cry: :shock: Fantastic images. :o Thanks for postin them here! :D
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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Re: A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuangwa

Postby BrianSmith » Mon 6 Feb 2012 23:17

Stunning images well executed. I couldn't have taken them for a whole host of reasons. :cry:
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Qualified for 2012' best topic vote

Postby ritaB » Sun 6 Jan 2013 14:09

Qualified for 2012' best topic vote

Sincerely,
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Re: A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuan

Postby ReneJanssen-BE » Sun 6 Jan 2013 20:21

Marvelous Pictures, the day to day Wildlife in Africa.
Well done!!!
Regards,
René
Ps a well deserved nomination ;)
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Re: A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuan

Postby ReneJanssen-BE » Sun 6 Jan 2013 20:24

is there something wrong with the date settings....... 6 february
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Re: A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuan

Postby Vincent De Vos » Fri 15 Mar 2013 21:43

Very nice pictures!
Passioned by beautiful pictures, not a very active photographer though...
Regards,
Vincent

PS I use google translate a lot to write better English. So, if mistake, I's google, not me. ;)
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Re: A lion pride's battle with 2 buffalo in Zambia's SthLuan

Postby luxmariaj » Sat 30 Mar 2013 00:13

Very nice pictures but some I was shocked. Anyway I saw this really impressive photos.
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