This is the nail-biting moment an eight-year-old elephant manages ʙᴇᴀᴛ off a savage ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ by 14 hungry lionesses.
The near-three minute ꜰɪɢʜᴛ – captured on film by safari-goers in the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia – shows the feisty herbivore surrounded by ᴘʀᴇᴅᴀᴛᴏʀs near a watering hole.
When the lions ᴠɪᴄɪᴏᴜsʟʏ pounced on the tusked mammal separated from its herd, they took turns jumping on their backs and sinking their teeth into its body.
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 ᴄʀᴜᴇʟ,” he added.
In the video, Nash and other bystanders – including Long Island University art professor Dan Christoffel, British naturalist Steve Baker and Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski – are heard encouraging the the elephant to ‘Go on ꜰɪɢʜᴛ back!’
In a bid to shrug off its ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋᴇʀs, the quick-thinking elephant darts into the water. However, the lions don’t seem too fazed by the wet and several of them bound into the sʜᴀʟʟᴏᴡ depths.
After a long ꜰɪɢʜᴛ, the elephant ʙᴇᴀᴛs 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 ᴄᴀʀᴄᴀss was found plucked to the bone the next day.
The group watching the ꜰɪɢʜᴛ 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 ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ right in front of us. What’s a ꜰɪɢʜᴛer. It ꜰᴏᴜɢʜᴛ 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 ʙᴀᴛᴛʟᴇꜰɪᴇʟᴅ.