This is the exciting moment when an eight-year-old elephant fends off a ferocious attack by 14 hungry lionesses.
Captured on film by safari visitors in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, the nearly three-minute battle shows the lively herbivore surrounded by predators near a watering hole.
When the lions viciously pounced on the tusked mammal separated from its herd, they took turns jumping on their backs and sinking their teeth into its body.
The elephant tries to keep moving as the lionesses sink in their teeth and claws during the sunset battle in Zambia
A lioness clings to the back of the elephant and tries to scale his backside as others circle around it
The lionesses take it in turns to jump onto the elephants back, while it makes a beeline for the safety of the water
The lionesses overcome the baby elephant, bringing it to its knees in the fight in South Luangwa National Park
Jesse Nash, a New York-based journalist who witnessed the event, said that he was eager to help but knew it would be “against the rules of nature.”
“We have been on safari as observers and have seen a life cycle that is sometimes very cruel,” he added.
In the video, Nash and other viewers – including Long Island University art professor Dan Christoffel, British naturalist Steve Baker and Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski – can be heard encouraging the elephant to keep fighting!
The fast-thinking elephant shoots into the water to shake off its attackers. However, the lions don’t seem too fazed by the wet, and several of them bound into the shallow depths.
After a long fight, the elephant beats the odds and escapes unscathed. It can be seen flapping its ears triumphantly, trumpeting and splashing through the water.
The flock of lions left the scene and found a buffalo for dinner instead. The carcass was found plucked to the bone the next day.
The group watching the fight from a jeep’s safety was in the middle of the Chinzombo Camp Norman Carr Safari Company tour.
Your guide, Innocent, said of the incident: “For many years I have been a safari guide in Zambia in the South of Luangwa, I have never seen anything like it.
“We were all so concerned that the elephant would be killed right in front of us. What’s a fighter. It fought all 14 lions – incredible. ‘
The elephant was reunited with its herd of 60 the next day.
It has earned the nickname Hercules for its bravery on the battlefield.
A stubborn lioness refuses to let go as the elephant reaches the waters edge, and the cats are faced with a tough decision
A lioness clings on for dear life on the elephants back, as other members of the pride scurry back from the water’s edge
The elephant, safe at last, takes a few steps into the watering hole, while the angry lionesses watch on
Refreshed and reinvigorated the elephant emerges from the water and chases one of the lionesses off