Battle at Kruger

Last updated
Battle at Kruger
Part of Wildlife Battle
DateUnknown date during or before May 2007
Result withdraw of lion pack
herd of buffalo pride of lions two crocodiles
Commanders and leaders
buffalo herd alpha male unknown lioness No clear commander
several dozen adult buffalo 6-10 lionesses two crocodiles
Casualties and losses
one buffalo calf wounded several lionesses wounded crocodiles intact

Battle at Kruger is an eight-minute amateur wildlife video that depicts a confrontation between a herd of Cape buffalo, a small group of young lions from a pride, and one crocodile. [1] The video was shot in September 2004 at the Transport Dam watering hole in Kruger National Park, South Africa, during a safari guided by Frank Watts. It was filmed by videographer David Budzinski and photographer Jason Schlosberg.


Since being posted on YouTube on 3 May 2007, Battle at Kruger has received 80 million views as of 2019 and has become a viral video sensation. It was widely praised for its dramatic depiction of wildlife on the African savannah. [2] It has since become one of YouTube's most popular nature videos, and has won the Best Eyewitness Video in the 2nd Annual YouTube Video Awards. [3] The video was also the subject of an article in the 25 June 2007 issue of Time magazine, [4] and was featured in the first episode of ABC News' i-Caught , which aired on 7 August 2007. A National Geographic documentary on the video debuted on the National Geographic Channel on 11 May 2008. [5]


Taken from a small game viewer vehicle on the opposite side of the watering hole with a digital camcorder, [6] the video begins with the herd of African buffalos approaching the water, unaware that a small group of female lions are lying nearby. [1] The lioness crouches as the herd nears; it is uncertain if the lioness attacks first, or the lead buffalo becomes startled and turns to run, but the buffalos flee and the lions charge and disperse the herd, with the lioness picking off a buffalo calf, both of them falling into the water. [1] As the lions try to drag the buffalo out of the water, the calf is grabbed by a crocodile, who fights for it in a brief tug of war before giving up and leaving it to the lions. The lions lie down and prepare to feast, but the full buffalo herd approach and surround the lions. One of the lions is tossed into the air by a charging buffalo and chased away. The remaining lions are subsequently scattered one by one after the initial engagement, and the baby buffalo escapes into the herd while a few lions remain surrounded by the buffalos. The buffalos then proceed to aggressively drive the remaining lions away. [7]

Expert commentary

Two veterinarians and animal behaviorists interviewed by Time assert that the behavior exhibited by the buffalo is not unusual. Dr. Sue McDonnell of the University of Pennsylvania (School of Veterinary Medicine) [8] said of the video:

"The larger herd is broken down into smaller harems, with a dominant male and many females and their babies. If a youngster is threatened, both the harem males and bachelor males—which usually fight with one another—will get together to try to rescue it." [9]

It is, however, rare for such events to be captured on film even by professional wildlife photographers. Indeed, Dereck Joubert, a photographer and writer [10] for National Geographic said of the video:

"There is no doubt at all that the tourist who shot that scene ... was unbelievably lucky. I mean, we would've considered ourselves lucky to have had that whole scene happen in front of us." [11]

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