The battles between two lions and a hippo.
After attacking and driving the hippo into deep water. The pair of lions play a waiting game. Lion ly still on nearby rocks for two hours. Before the hippo ventures out.
The lions pounce. The plucky juvenile hippo puts up a fight.
But one lion gets onto the hippo’s back. The other attacks from the front leaving. The hippo charging with them to the nearest bit of a water.
But the water is shallow. The lions manage to flip the hippo over. Before they are joined by a third lion for dinner.
Photographer Andrew Schoeman said: ‘I was woken early one morning in the Sabi Sands Game reserve. I didn’t know at that point it was a hippo. I saw the young hippo between three to five-years-old in shallow water surrounded by the three lions.
Every time the hippo wanted to get away, the lions would go for him and he would then retreat back into the water.
I think the lions attacked the hippo earlier than when I got there and the hippo had managed to get into the pool of water that was too deep for the lions to go into.
From the scratches on the hippo I would guess that the lions had been going after the hippo for quite some time before I arrived.
This carried on for a while and then the lions went to lay down on a rock close to the water’s edge. About two hours passed and eventually the hippo slowly emerged from the water.
The hippo seemed not to see the lions crouched close by as they were very still and did not move.
It looked around and all seemed clear, so he started walking away. The lions waited until he got about 50m from the pool of water before chasing after him.
The first lion was chased off by the hippo but the second lion jumped onto the hippo’s back which allowed the first lion to also grab hold of the hippo.
At this point the hippo realised he was in trouble and headed for the river with both lions attached.
It ran into the water and the lions held on but as the water was now shallower than the first pool and the lions were able to stand, they hung on and managed to pull the hippo onto its side.
They then flipped it over onto its back and held the hippo upside down in the water until it stopped moving, before they started to eat it.’
Mr Schoeman added: ‘I have never seen anything like this before. Lions are very opportunistic and will catch what they can whenever they can.
I believe there are certain prides of lions that have learned to catch hippos but it is by no means a common occurrence. To be able to witness something like this in all its rawness was an amazing experience. It shows the true power of our natural world as well as these magnificent lions. Although it is not pleasant to see animals die and get killed it was a once in a lifetime experience.
As a photographer I was thrilled to get these images and happy that the exposures were good and all in focus. Mr Schoeman lives in Nelspruit South Africa, but has worked in lodges in South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana. He was a full time guide for nine years before managing lodges in Tanzania and Botswana for three years.
During that time he was also a full time photographic guide and now hosts photographic groups to all the photographic hotspots across Africa including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
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