A Desperate Act of Survival

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On a safari in August 2012, we almost watched the movie ‘Jaws’ this time the setting was in Luangwa Valley at Shenton Safaris’ Kaingo Camp. We watched two adolescent lions take the risk of crossing the crocodile and hippo-infested river. That morning the dawn silence had been broken by the deep roars of two mature male lions. We concluded the boys would need to cross the river to safety.

First they lay on the sandy beach but kept looking over their shoulders. A little patience helped as within a quarter of an hour of waiting, the drama unfolded. The boys rubbed heads, a sign of bonding, and they headed for the shallow water. The first guy plunged in within metres of nile crocodiles lining the bank. When the second lion reached the edge he got cold feet and doubled back.

Halfway into his crossing the first guy looked back only to realize he was all alone and the crocs were closing in from all angles. It was a moment of truth. Desperate situations need desperate measures, he launched forward and roared, the croc in front gave way and the desperate lion took off running and diving at the same time. The commotion caused the hippos to charge after the lion but he managed to skim through. When he got to the bank we all roared cheering our hero on, we were all relieved he had made it. The other male took a while pacing up and down and finally walked a kilometre down river and crossed without trouble.

To see the action unfold click on the first image below and then scroll through the slideshow.