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Battle at Kruger

By Shamus
on Saturday Jun 13, 2009
Filed under:


Apparently, I’m the last person in the world to see this:

Link (YouTube)

44 million views. It’s obviously a massive sensation. It went viral. People passed it around. Talked about it. Blogged about it. Years ago. And yet I’ve never heard of it before.

How does that happen to someone who basically lives on the internet?

If you somehow missed the video like I did, the basic gist is that three water buffalo go down to the water, and are beset by lions. The (I assume) parents escape, and the young is picked off and the lions begin trying to eat it. Then a crocodile get involved. Then more water buffalo. And it has a happy ending.

I found the vido through this, which is a series of pictures of a leopard killing a croc.

Comments (55)

  1. Debaser says:

    I’d never heard of it myself, and I’m an internet dweller too. Just goes to show that experience is never homogenous, I guess.

    EDIT: Actually, this is reminiscent of a fight my friends and I saw between about 50 kangaroos and 200 sheep. We were driving around on his property, looking for a good place to film a scene for out movie, and saw up ahead two groups of kangaroos and sheep facing each other. I made the comment that it looked like they were lining up for battle, and as the words left my mouth, the sheep charged.
    The kangaroos scattered, and the sheep hunted them down to make sure they were gone. I’ve never seen such a clearly defined fight between two groups of animals.

  2. MikeSSJ says:

    I didn’t know it, either. Interesting.

  3. Marmot says:

    First time that I’m seeing this! So glad about the happy ending. Is it wrong that I was disappointed when the lions didn’t get trampled? :-|

  4. Apologista says:

    I’d heard of it and mostly forgotten about it. Maybe you did too, because I got bored halfway through it and paused and didn’t go back for a while and it just didn’t make much impression. I only remembered it because people bring it up from time to time and I think ‘yes, I know what they are talking about’.

  5. Terry Smith says:

    Saw it on reddit or somesuch – check reddit but we warned its an insane timesink!

  6. Graeme says:

    While vacationing in Kenya we once saw a massive baboon brawl take place right outside our car. We had inadvertantly instigated the whole thing by throwing food out to the little buggers. We at first started throwing it out to one crowd of them, but then another rival group of baboons came along and wanted in on the action. It was amazingly brutal and it all happened just a few feet from our van. Not quite as uplifting as this thing though.

    The lions seemed kinda sloppy, it’s like they were taking their time killing the buffalo. *shakes head at zodiac namesake*

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    First time for me as well.It really is an excelent video.

    “The lions seemed kinda sloppy, it's like they were taking their time killing the buffalo. *shakes head at zodiac namesake*”

    Indeed.Especially considering that a single lion can quickly end a buffalo.It just shows that numbers arent always a good thing.

  8. Moridin says:

    You call that a happy ending? The lions had to go hungry :( Oh and the juvenile buffalo that got bitten by the lions and the crocodile probably doesn’t have very good chances of surviving. Bacteria are a plenty and an open wound is akin to an invitation for them to kill you.

  9. Matthew Doyle says:

    There was actually a news report that went with it where they checked for signs of the baby buffalo dying for the next few days and found. Signs being things like vulture gatherings, etc.

    As to the lions being sloppy, they aren’t after fast food. They sometimes eat the animal while its still alive. Nature isn’t the pretty thing some animal lovers want you to think it is.

  10. MadTinkerer says:

    My two cats like hunting rabbits. But they’ve learned to never go after big groups of rabbits for similar reasons.

    Amazing drama can happen in your own back yard too.

  11. Old_Geek says:

    I showed this to my class of third graders two years ago. If you haven’t seen it by now, maybe the internet is just a big fad after all. It makes me lose faith in technology and in the human race.

  12. Mayhem says:

    Wasn’t a happy ending for the croc. :(

  13. Urggzob says:

    One day, somebody will buy the movie rights to that.

    Epic Buffalo Rescue Team.
    Coming to cinemas near you.

  14. toasty says:

    Okay the lion pouncing onto the buffalo and the buffalo attempting to gore the lion was pretty cool. But… why? 44 million views? For something you can watch on discovery channel? I’d rather watch Ultimate Survivor or Phineas and Ferb (or however you spell his name. DARN that show is hilarious). That or play DotA… I mean meh… it kept me interested, but no, nothing special really.

    Oh and as someone who doesn’t live on the internet (I spend a great deal of time… but I have too much school and keep to only a very few websites) nor is obsessed with youtube… never saw this before.

  15. MOM says:

    *There was actually a news report that went with it where they checked for signs of the baby buffalo dying for the next few days and found.

    Found what? I thought you were going to resolve this cliffhanger for me, as I wondered if the young buffalo survived, too.
    please elaborate.

    I think the “sloppy work” by the lions might have been because the catch was made in water. Also, they didn’t seem all that motivated-maybe they weren’t all that hungry.

  16. Coyote says:

    Strength in numbers, man. And a will to overcome the natural instinct and take action. That oughta be some kinda lesson, there.

    I hadn’t seen it either, so you aren’t the last one to see it.

  17. Anachronist says:

    To “live on the internet” as you said, isn’t enough to avoid missing massively-watched YouTube videos. You would pretty much have to live on YouTube. Ugh.

  18. MelTorefas says:

    Thanks for the link, Shamus! I had not heard of this at all and it was an excellent watch. :)

  19. Mrc says:

    I turned the volume off, and made it into a funniest home video in my head, dialog included. I know, I’m evil.
    The lions were family McWhitetrash, the buffalo’s were Stupid tourists in the beginning, who turned into Ghetto black gang later on, and the croc was Neighbor Grumpy.

  20. RibbitRibbit says:

    I got it by email. Three times.

    So, Shamus, what matters is how many pointless shit your friends and acquaintances send your way daily :-)

  21. Graeme says:

    They actually made a web site and a National Geographic documentary specifically about this little 8 minute clip. WTF?

  22. SolkaTruesilver says:

    They just need a better soundtrack. Something like “The Circle of Life” would be nice.

  23. Nathan says:

    I guess this just shows how tough the life of a lion really is… I kinda feel sorry for them, especially since everyone is cheering for the buffalo. I mean, buffalo and other similar creatures grow horns and form herds exactly for this purpose, after all.

  24. Karrius says:

    This is the first viral video (doesn’t seem an appropriate description but whatever) that I ever saw, and actually had an effect on one of my D&D games. The half-orc druid’s background was that he had witnessed something very similiar, and thus came to believe in the strength of a tribe working together was the most important strength of all. Probably the only reason I still remember it. It was also… close to seven years ago, I think. The video was likely from a different source, though.

  25. ngthagg says:

    What an awesome video! Some stealthed lions run into a group of buffalo, and decide they want to gank the noob. But they run into a kill-stealing croc who interrupts their tea-bagging. By that time, the buffalo runners have gone and aggroed the rest of the herd, who form a raid and return buffed up. The lions are caught with their stealth on cooldown, and one falls victim to the buffalo’s charge attacks. The lions use sprint and escape, and few of the PvP geared buffalo attempt to grief the lions, not letting them exit combat to recover health.

    It all makes perfect sense!

    (Not shown: the buffalo raid on 25 man Naxx.)

  26. Spectralist says:

    I hadn’t heard of it either, until a few months back when i saw a national geographic special on the video.

  27. Joe Cool says:

    According to my wife, who likes animals and therefore knows what she’s talking about, the reason it takes the lions so long to kill the calf is they kill by asphyxiation. One lion will hold the neck while the other covers the snout. Asphyxiation death takes a while, and with all the interruptions””crocs and the herd””the calf probably wasn’t deprived of oxygen long enough to suffocate. Again, according to my wife, they won’t begin eating it until it dies.

  28. Simple Man says:

    I think we just live in a part of the Internet, and we seldom venture far from it. I haven’t seen this either.

  29. Jabor says:

    The phenomenon is something you yourself talked about back when you linked Julia Nunes.

  30. shawn says:

    Man, welcome to last year.

  31. Yahzi says:

    My favorite part is watching the male buffaloes “talk” themselves into charging.

  32. Melf_Himself says:

    That’s awesome, I never saw that either :)

    Just goes to show the almighty power of the zerg!

    Edit: ngthagg’s comment was much better :D

  33. Ravens Cry says:

    I’m with those who hadn’t seen or even heard of this before now. But I have to disagree on the ‘happy ending’ bit. It wasn’t a happy ending for the crocodile,and it certainly wasn’t a happy ending for the lions. Cape Buffalo are deadly, and according to some sources are the most deadly creature in Africa. Some of those lionesses may be badly injured,less able to hunt effectively. This means the pride may starve.
    Happy ending my gluteus maximus.

    • Shamus says:

      Ravens Cry: The happy ending tends to come from the fact that most viewers immediately tend to have empathy for:

      a) The family(Buffalo)
      b) The “cub” – or whatever you call the young.(Buffalo)
      c) The “main character” – the first creatures introduced.(Buffalo)
      d) The creatures showing high levels of social organization. (Buffalo = very organized, lions = well organized, croc = not organized in any way.)
      e) The underdogs (Which seems like the buffalo at the start.)

      And NOT identify with:

      a) The aggressors against a family (lions)
      b) Cheap “sneak attackers” (the croc)

      Now certainly if you made one of the other creatures your protagonist using a different set of criteria then you’ll have a different outlook, but I think the “buffalo as the good guys” is a pretty common view of this video.

      And yes, they’re ALL just creatures simply trying to get through the day as part of the foodchain. Every victory is also a tragedy when creatures must kill to live.

  34. SolkaTruesilver says:

    On the video, the lion shown the effectiveness of the new feat (from Complete Wild) of the Leap-Trip Attack.

    Sadly, the croco, with its +10 circumstance bonus to hide check in the water, managed to overcome their spot checks, until an opposed grapple for the calf happened. And by then, the Buffalo had the chance to use their Shock Trooper (Complete Warrior) tactical feat, which gives them good bonus to Bull Rush (properly named) when they are fighting in group.

  35. ngthagg says:

    There are, indeed, two sides to every story.

  36. Marmot says:

    All of the D&D and WoW parallels drawn through the comments gave me a good laugh. Marvelous :)

    Obviously the lions thought their prey was just a minion, but it turned out to be a lvl 6 elite brute…

  37. Mr. Son says:

    “And it has a happy ending.”

    Well, not for the lions!

    “Predators are evil and if they fail, it’s good” is pretty high on the list of common memes I dislike.

  38. Logicaly_Random says:

    That was a rather depressing video in my opinion. The lions had an effective trap laid, and expended a number of calories chasing down the calf, only to loose it. Furthermore, the odds of that calf surviving are rather low, due to infections and the like.

  39. Arson55 says:

    I didn’t really identify with any of the groups. I’d just as well any group ‘win’ as I can appreciate all of them. I guess ultimately I was on the side of the buffalo just because of the one buffalo who finally got the others started. It was like they were all standing around and saying, ‘Okay, who takes the first go at them? I’m not first.’ Then one buffalo is just like, ‘I got this.’ And he goes after a couple of lions himself. Leadership by example.

    By the way, the video was new to me.

  40. Calatar says:

    Seen the video ages ago, probably from when I used to StumbleUpon. Gained quite a picture collection that way. Lost a sh*tton of time that way too.

    Now the leopard thing, THAT’S crazy. I have a natural like for all spotted cats, but the leopard really comes out as one dangerous critter. Since DnD metaphors are the order of the day, I shall attempt to compare the great cats of the African Savannah to DnD races.
    Lions, the shall we say, Orcs. Big, brutish, attack in groups. Definitely dangerous to pick a fight with if the odds are against you. (female-hunter flaw)
    Cheetahs: hmm… swift race, not much for muscle in a standup fight? we’ve got an okay candidate for elf here.
    The Leopard: Now here is one dangerous foe, a master of stealth, but not skimping on the fitness department either. Definitely a lurker, could be the sinister Shadar-Kai race, or perhaps even a Black Dragon.

  41. (Not shown: the buffalo raid on 25 man Naxx.)

    Or the new phasing technology and how it affects the experience … (I know, you don’t want to get sucked into WoW again, but you need to experience it briefly just to see how it affects the game. The world changes and stays changed).

    Though I must have gotten this by e-mail at least ten times or more in the last year, finally looked at it when my wife’s brother sent it to her and she was impressed.

    I’m surprised it only has 44 million views. Guess it has multiple sources out there now.

  42. AlfieUK says:

    I just knew when I saw the title in the RSS feed what it was, because I’ve had it sent to me a few times over the last 2 years, even though I beg my friends to stop forwarding this type of stuff (and hoax virus mails) to me :(

    I regularly read The Register (theregister.co.uk), which takes a caustic look at the IT industry, people always send me links to stories there a day later as well :(

  43. Kdansky says:

    I identified with the lions. Because I eat beef? Because I like cats? I wonder why.

  44. Wil K. says:

    I wanted to see more of the croc. Shamus’ mentioning of it in the description made it sound like it played a bigger part in the event.

    I was really hoping that Sneak Attack was going to be against one of the lions – look at how vulnerable they’ve left their behinds, right in the water!

  45. SolkaTruesilver says:

    @ Calatar

    And if we are using your list, we could say that Wolverines are…


    Yhea. That animal is so devious and dangerous that the only analogy that does it justice is itself…

  46. Felblood says:

    That is just sweet.

    I can always count on you Shamus, to find the flecks of awesome that settle to the bottom of YouTube.

    This dependency is probably why I haven’t seen this before.

  47. Avilan the Grey says:

    My favorite “lions” clip is actually from a nature documentary I saw on TV many years ago: The makers of it had discovered a lion that had a new learned behavior:

    It faked defeat.

    What it did was to, when hunting antelope, and the initial attack failed, roll over on the ground baring it’s throat. Many times (more than 50%) the antelope charged, to ram it’s horns into the throat or belly of the lion, who promptly snapped at the throat of the antelope when it came close enough.
    Sounds risky to me, but it worked for it the 2-3 times the film crew saw it over a number of days.

    This was a lion that for some reason was working alone; probably a young male.

    Oh and lessons learned from the video above, if you didn’t already knew it: Don’t mess with cows! Even “common” domestic cows can get lethal, if they for some reason perceive you as a threat to a calf. When you have seen the subtle shift when 20 cows line up to keep an eye on you (and arranging themselves could charge you if they deem it necessary), you want over that fence quickly…

  48. Zaxares says:

    Sorry, add me to the list of people who’ve seen this video before, Shamus. ;)

    I very much doubt that the calf survived. The crocodile looked like it got a pretty good chunk of flesh out of the calf’s rump. That, coupled with the injuries it sustained from the lions means that infection is almost a certainty and it would be dead within the week. Ironically, it was probably a slower, more painful death than if the lions had managed to finish it off.

    Life isn’t always pretty.

    But for what it’s worth, I still have the deepest respect to the Buffalo for daring to come back to try to save the calf. Most other herding animals will simply abandon the unfortunate as a lost cause.

    Incidentally, large carnivores like lions tend to experience failure more often than not during hunts; only about a 10 – 25% of hunts result in a kill. The Cheetahs are the animals with the highest success rate, around 50%. (But then they have to watch out for bigger, meaner predators like leopards and lions stealing THEIR kills.)

  49. Badger says:

    Ah, the Nature of Things! Up here in NW British Columbia, we get to see that from time to time as well. One day on my way to work, I watched an epic battle between a Bald Eagle and a Harbour Seal. I bet you didn’t know eagles could swim…*grin*

    hint: They can’t, not really.

  50. TSED says:

    I saw this a long time ago, but that was during an ecology class so it is kind of cheating.

  51. RTBones says:

    Count me among Those Who Had Not Seen This Before.

    It is a most excellent video.

    I have to admit – the various gaming/D&D/WoW references in the comments here have caused me to LOL! I also think that the tackle of the calf by the lion should be viewed repeatedly by various linebackers in the NFL….

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