This was one of those wildlife sightings, which tugs sharply at the heart strings, and leaves you breathless with disbelief. Photographer Kevin Dooley had the opportunity to witness the wildlife first-hand in Mana Pools National Park.
This is the incredible moment a brave mother elephant charged at two lionesses in order to sᴀᴠᴇ her baby from being ᴇᴀᴛᴇɴ in Zimbabwe. Photographer Kevin Dooley, who captured the scenes at Mana Pools National Park last month, said the lionesses were ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ a warthog when a baby elephant which had wandered away from its herd showed up.
Dooley said the elephant calf started to chase the warthog after spotting it, and was totally unaware of the lionesses lurking nearby. The lionesses saw the elephant and pinned the elephant down in a matter of minutes, and were trying to ᴋɪʟʟ it.
Photographer said the lions had been stalking a warthog when they noticed the baby elephant was playfully chasing it, and immediately switched targets because the elephant would provide more food. Mr Dooley explained that, while the warthog would be ᴇᴀᴛᴇɴ within a matter of hours, a baby elephant could have fed the lions for days. In addition, Dooley said one of the lionesses was pregnant and was “badly in need of food”.
Dooley explained, “Elephants are a very difficult animal for lions to ᴋɪʟʟ and normally the lions will have had to grow up in a pride that specializes in ᴋɪʟʟɪɴɢ elephants, otherwise they will avoid them and go for smaller and less ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs prey. The lions took the elephant down with ease, both leaped on to the elephant’s back and forced it to the ground, after which they applied all their weight and began to immobilize the elephant.”
The baby elephant started to scream in pain and within a few minutes, the sibling of the elephant showed up and tried to sᴀᴠᴇ him. The older sibling tried to sᴀᴠᴇ his younger sibling, but failed and ended up running away in fear. Soon the mother elephant showed up and in all her anger and power she charged at the lions that were ᴀɢɢʀᴇssɪᴠᴇʟʏ trying to ᴋɪʟʟ the young elephant calf.
One of the lionesses quickly retreated, and the mother elephant screamed in anger and threw dust into the air. The second lioness held tight and growled and snarled at the mother elephant. However the elephant did not retreat and eventually the lion gave up. The lion knew that she was no match for an angry adult elephant.
Once the lions retreated the mother elephant raised the baby up using its trunk. She smelled the baby and checked her over. The lions ran into the bushes close by. The entire herd of now six or seven elephants charged the bushes and the lions ran off.
Talking about what he captured on cam, Kevin said, “I knew I had a once in a lifetime event taking place in front of me, I was very busy just trying to get the photographs.”