WATCH: Lioness Rounds up Her 6 Missing Cubs After Being Chased Into Brush by Elephant Stampede
In the wild, the lioness is fiercely protective of her cubs. The other lionesses in the pride — usually consisting of sisters, aunts, or nieces — band together as a family with their babies in tow. Lions can coexist with elephants on their own side of the wilderness —until they get hungry, that is.
A unique video was captured by designer Chris Tote, who was visiting the Sabie Riverbed in Kruger National Park in South Africa. He came upon a scene that you only tend to see on nature television shows. Tote witnessed an elephant charge — possibly sensing that the lionesses were scoping out their next meal — and a pack of six cubs dispersed from their mothers into the brush. “I had been watching two lionesses with six small cubs lazing about in the Sabie Riverbed for about half-an-hour. In the distance, I could see two herds of elephants on either side of the river. About an hour later this herd of around 20 elephants suddenly started trumpeting and charging as soon as they realized that they were amongst (sic) lions. The two lionesses shot up the riverbank and onto the road, and all they could do was anxiously watch in the hopes that their cubs would be alright,” Tote wrote on Latestsightings.com. The video shows the lioness combing through the dense grass, calling out to her cubs. Off in the distance, meanwhile, the elephants are calmly walking about in the aftermath. The two mothers calmly pondered the task that lay ahead. At one point you can see the mother walking around active cars on the road before entering the brush, which Tote noted “was a scary prospect for the cubs.” After what seemed like hours for Tote — cut down to 2 minutes and 40 seconds in the video — the first three cubs slowly begin to emerge. One by one they come from the brush, following their mom across the road and navigating between cars. (By this time, the cars had stopped to watch.) The fourth and fifth crossed the road, and all but one lone cub was still missing. In the video you can hear its tiny cries, calling out for quite awhile for its mom to rescue it. Then suddenly, out of the brush, comes mom carrying her cub by its scruff. At one point she looks directly into the camera as if to say, “Yep, I’ve got this!” The momma lion sleekly crosses the road to safety with the last baby to join her waiting family.