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Cruel Moment Lion Takes Down Baby Elephant After It Had Lost Its Mother

The stunning images, captured by wildlife photographer and conservationist Brent Stapelkemp at a watering hole at the Makalolo pan in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

Stapelkemp, who has been studying and photographing lions for the past decade, admitted the photographs were emotional.

He said: “It does tug at the heartstrings but this is a result of man’s artificial management of nature and the lions are seizing on a survival opportunity too.” An outspoken conservationist, Stapelkemp has dedicated thousands of hours to spend time with lions and better understand the world they live in.

Describing the series of live-action photographs, he said: “It was the very height of the dry season and so the lions just had to sit at the waterhole and wait for the desperate animals to come and drink. “We saw two kills, a buffalo and a warthog, as well as several attempts on giraffes and buffaloes.

“Then this lone elephant calf left the waterhole and the young male lion took the opportunity.” The 38-year-old, who has been studying the lions with Oxford’s WildCRU, said the next few moments unfolded quickly.

He said: “I was at ground level standing behind the open door of my cruiser. “The elephant realized something was up and tried to chase the lion before turning and fleeing. “The lion caught him and brought him down before a lioness came to help.

“These lions were very young and perhaps this was their first day as independent hunters without their mothers to help.” Stapelkemp said the images captured a new phenomenon, which had started to unfold due to the huge numbers of elephants around waterholes.

He said: “Lions killing elephants is a fairly new concept in Hwange but a phenomenon that has appeared because of the very high density of elephants around waterholes in the peak of the dry season. “Often the calves are lost in amongst the huge numbers of elephants at the waterholes and the lions have learned to sit and wait for these unprotected youngsters.”

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