A brave buffalo proved its loyalty to its herd when it charged into a pride of lions after seeing one of its friends lying injured and surrounded by the hungry predators in a game reserve in South Africa.
The buffalo used all its strength to gore one of the startled lions with its sharp horns, tossing the winded animal into the air with ease as the other lions scattered.
Sadly despite the heroics of the buffalo, its friend was too badly injured to escape and was set upon by several other lions, who raced to the scene after hearing the commotion.
The injured buffalo can be seen being pinned down by the pack of lions and in a bid to rescue his injured friend another buffalo charged towards the lions.
One of the lions ran towards the buffalo in an attempt to tackle it to the ground, but the lion was struck by the angry buffalo, impaled on its horn and flung into the air.
As the lion crashed to the ground it seemed the buffalo may have secured the chance for a quick getaway but the pride of lions were soon joined by two adult male lions.
The lion reinforcements jumped onto the buffalo’s back and sank their teeth in, leading to a grisly end for the buffalo.
Brazilian photographer Mariangela Matarazzo Lee, 54, captured the dramatic scenes while on safari with his family and friends at Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa.
‘It was quite a surprise, our ranger spotted a couple of cars at the other side of the river. They were all just parked there with their binoculars trying to take a glance of something happening at our side of the bank,’ she said.
‘When we arrived there were 12 young lions of the same pride that had knocked down a bull and were trying to kill it.
‘Just next to them were a dozen other buffalos observing. Suddenly one of them decided to rescue his injured friend that was lying in the middle of the lions,’ she recalled.
‘The buffalo came rushing towards the lions and one of the males tried to tackle the buffalo.
‘That was when it got hooked on the horn and was swung by the buffalo several times until he was tossed away and landed terribly on the floor.
‘When we thought it was all over two huge male adult lions arrived with two females from another pride roaring a lot,’ she said.
‘All the young ones fled and the injured buffalo stood up trying to escape but he was hurt really bad and very tired.
‘One of the lions stood in front of it while the other one walked around the buffalo and jumped on top of it and knocked him down again. ‘The two males took care of the rest and made a quick kill.’