Death of a hunter: Starving lioness loses battle with elephant calf that uses its greater weight to fight off its attacker… before the predator is found dead the next day
- Starving elderly lioness attacked a lone elephant calf in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
- As the lioness was very weak and the calf much heavier, it pinned the predator against the ground
- Finally the baby elephant chased off its attacker, and the lioness was found dead the following day
This is the moment a starving lioness was defeated while trying to bring down a baby elephant, before being found dead just hours later.
The predator attacked the elephant in the Nsefu sector of South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, but the elephant managed to use its body weight to pin her down on the ground until she gave up and ran away.
Both the painfully thin lioness and her elephant calf adversary were lacking their usual back-up from the pride or herd in this life-and-death struggle.
A starving lioness attacked a baby elephant, and a fight ensued which soon saw the hunter become the hunted
The elephant may have been young, but was still much heavier than the elderly, starving lioness and used this to its advantage.
The young pachyderm pinned the predator to the ground, nearly crushing it, before chasing it off. The lioness was found dead the following day.
It’s likely the effort expended by the big cat could have been her last venture without the support of a pride to share meals with. Her body was discovered the next day.
The stunning and difficult images were caught on camera by wildlife photographer NJ Wight, from Montreal, Canada.
No escape: The baby elephant uses its body to crush the lioness against the ground as they fight
Battle of the beasts: The elephant may be young, but it is much heavier than the elderly, starving lioness
Winner: Finally the baby elephant chased off its attacker, and the lioness was found dead the following day
This photo shows the lioness earlier in the day before she fought the elephant, her ribcage and hip-bones clearly visible
Ms Wight was on an evening drive through the Nsefu sector of South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, when the unusual scene unfolded.
Ms Wight said: ‘It was a very difficult sighting to watch a life or death battle between an animal at the very beginning of its life, and one nearing the end.
‘Earlier that day we had come across the older lioness who appeared lifeless, lying on the riverbed in the late morning sun.
‘From her sharp hip bone and protruding ribcage, it was quite clear she was suffering and had not eaten for several days. It was difficult to see her and document her shrunken body.
‘As we drove away I honestly did not think she would make it through the day.’