14 Lions fail to turn a baby Elephant into a hearty meal

Hercules, the young Elephant’s adventure

Baby Elephant on Chobe River, Botswana/ en.wikimedia.org/
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A daring and adventurous young elephant named Hercules got separated and lost from his pack one day. Sensing the golden opportunity, a pride of 14 female lions with empty stomachs decided once and for all to kill and dress the meaty elephant for food. Surrounding the innocent and baby elephant by the edge of the water, the predators from all directions, pounced with precision at the beleaguered prey.

Hercules isn’t one to be cowed easily

However, the elephant was not one to easily succumbed to threats. It kept moving fast, dodging and fending off the lionesses that kept clawing and biting all over his body. It showed no sign of panic. And the more it manifested ferocity by shaking off two of the biggest she-lions that were able to cling and bite on its back, trying to pin him down.

Wise and witty species

The young elephant tried to muster all his remaining energy, kicking at his adversaries within reach, and showing his angry charging form to sow fear in his enemies. Noticing enough distance from his equally tired predators, Hercules reared his trunk and tusks in defiance and jog towards the water for him to be in a better position to defend himself because of his familiarity with the element, but most of his foes elected to stay put in dry land.  In one final and convincing act of victory, the baby elephant made a do or die thrust toward the lionesses and scared off even the bravest of them.

Witnesses to encounter

The incredible scene was witnessed and captured on video by visitors who were touring the park. “In the many years I have been a safari guide in Zambia at the South Luangwa, never have I seen anything like this. We were all so worried the elephant would be killed right before us. What a fighter! It fought off all 14 lions. Incredible,” Innocent, the guide for Norman Carr Safaris, said.

According to this report, the baby elephant has been named Hercules for his tenacity and bravery and has since been reunited with his herd.

Facts from an expert

Fortunately, the young elephant, which was tagged Hercules by  the tourists and safari guides, escapes unhurt, according to the Norman Carr Safaris website. To dig deeper into the matter about the behavior of elephants and lions, National Geographic conducted an interview with Joyce Poole, of Elephant Voices and a National Geographic explorer.

To the question, have you witnessed an animal event like this before?

Poole replied saying that this event seldom happens in East Africa. He had witness but once but very remote compared to this. Poole said that elephants are very much in control over lions, so if they come in contact with lions, they’ll quickly chase them away.

Tell the experience you had.

A family group was feeding in some palm trees, with  a year-old elephant on the opposite side of the palm trees from the adults, just resting and feeding. Suddenly a lion approached and pounced on this baby, who loudly screamed and the mother elephant immediately came out from behind the bush for the rescue. She chased off the lion and trumpeted distress signal to alert the pack’s readiness, Poole said.

Do lions eat elephants?

Poole said that in Botswana he knew of some prides specializing in elephants.  He thought that it’s kind of a culture among lions that can get started in certain areas. They tend to focus on these immature elephants, he said. Poole wouldn’t think they’d attack a full adult. And he don’t think they’d try to attack an elephant if it was really integrated in the group. So it’s likely that this one, even if the group was nearby, that somehow it was physically separated.

Elephant calves on their own are so insecure and so unsure of themselves, an elephant of that age just wouldn’t know what to do. You think of elephants as being smart, and they are smart, but then again this is a ‘child’ up against a very formidable predator. So in a way I think it’s just good luck what happened, Poole said. Sources:

  • http://www.techtimes.com/articles/20289/20141115/watch-video-baby-elephant-fighting-pride-14-lions.htm
  • http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/11/141113-elephants-lions-attack-prey-predator-animals-africa/
  • Baby Elephant wins fight versus 14 Lions – link to video

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