For the herbivores living in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, life is not easy. You have to struggle to get water to drink while defending you and your little ones from lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas. While these African animals are looking to turn any and every animal they can into their next meal, it’s no wonder why antelope and other critters seem to nervous.
But herbivores don’t only have to worry about the big bad predators. Other large land animals can pose threats to them as well. Get too close to a hippo and you could get killed. Step out in front of a charging elephant? Good luck…
In the images we have for you below, you’ll see something that is just as dangerous but much more rare. This series depicts the moment an elephant and a cape buffalo begin fighting. These two animals are some of Africa’s largest creatures. But things don’t end well for the cape buffalo…
Kimberly Maurer from Texas was the wildlife photographer lucky enough to capture this battle on film. Because the moment was perfectly captured, she has since been asked for interviews to describe what she was seeing out in the wildlife park.
In one interview with Rhino Africa, Maurer said: “Upon landing in the famous Maasai Mara, we were met by our driver and guide, John, who asked if we would like to have a game drive before heading to our camp. Along the way, we noticed a large one-tusked momma elephant with her family walking toward us.”
To put things in perspective, Maurer had not yet arrived at her camp. But because she was attentive to her surrounds and ready to photograph, she got the perfect moment caught on camera.
Her driver slowed the vehicle to give the guests a better look at the elephants. That’s when the guide noticed the grazing Cape buffalo, which are also called African buffalo.
Maurer said that her guide thought the buffalo might have been ill. Because these animals are usually social, the guide knew something was wrong – this buffalo was all alone.
While they eat only vegetation, African buffalos are consider some of the most dangerous animals to grace the continent of Africa. Along with lions, rhinoceros, leopards, and elephants, cape buffalo round off the fabled Big Five.
While expected to be dangerous, no one – especially not Maurer – expected to witness what happened next.
“… the Cape buffalo raised his head and stood up, which must have been a threatening movement for the elephants. As the buffalo stepped toward the approaching elephants, the momma elephant trumpeted a warning and threw her trunk up in the air.”
The mother elephant was not going to go easy on the Cape buffalo. She decided this lone bull needed to learn a valuable lesson about getting too close to her baby.
“The elephant then surprised us all by lowering her head and, without any warning, went straight for the buffalo.”
Mom lowered her head and plunged her tusk into the buffalo until it was “protruding from the other side of the buffalo,” Maurer remembers.
She lifted it up and then slammed it to the ground.
After the assault, “The buffalo,” Maurer reported, “got up and staggered away as blood gushed from its side. He moved about 10 feet away from the attack and fell to the ground.”
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