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“The true strength of the herd really shined when they came back to support the fallen buffalo.

A pair of lions thought it would be an easy dinner when they spotted an injured buffalo – but they weren’t counting on a huge herd of the massive beasts rushing to chase them off.

As the lions go in for the kill, the buffalo cries out in distress – and his pals come running back to fight off the lions, before they’re forced to slink off without any dinner.

The incredible scenes were caught on camera by by Jean-Marc Descamps, at the Umlani Bushcamp in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in Hoedspruit, in South Africa’s Limpopo province. He said: “Student ranger Oliver Lane had been leading the morning game drive with his tracker Ephraim and guests from the lodge when the group witnessed the brutal fight, just 25 metres from their vehicle.

Oliver, 21, from Cape Town, said: “It took us completely by surprise – we’d been paying close attention to the lions’ interest in the buffalo, and as they spotted an injured buffalo towards the back of the herd they saw their opportunity to strike and began to make their move. “Despite his injuries, the buffalo refused to go down without a fight. “The lions managed to finally secure the buffalo to the ground with the bigger male latched tightly onto its neck – and the smaller male looked on in dismay as it realised the rest of the herd was quickly coming back in aide of their herd mate.

“The true power of the herd really shone through as they made their return to assist the fallen buffalo. “Shortly after freeing the buffalo, the herd managed to chase the lions a fair distance before the males retreated into the dense bush. “After being in the bush for a little under two years, I am incredibly lucky to have seen these events unfold and will hopefully see more like it in my future as a guide, but the pure action of this sighting would be tough to match!

“I love the way the photos really represent the dusty and dirty reality of what goes on in a lion hunt, and not the clean and calculated ‘postcard’ photos one would come to expect. “When dealing with wild animals, there is always an element of danger – but with strict protocol and training, we kept a respectable distance, minimising any potential danger.”

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