Takedown in Tsavo

Warning: this video contains graphic images of animal behaviour.

It was June 1st 2014 and my driver and I arrived at a waterhole in Tsavo East NP, Kenya. It was around 7.30am and three zebras were drinking. Without warning and within seconds, a lioness shot out from behind a bush and leapt onto the back of one of the zebras. The other two took off in opposite directions. At one point both the lioness and the zebra were both airborne. They then crashed down into the water where there was a struggle. The lioness got the zebra by the neck but could not cover the windpipe with her mouth because that would mean putting her own mouth into the water. For that reason the struggle lasted ten long minutes. During that time the zebra lost all energy and its mouth went beneath the surface of the water and drowned. A juvenile male had come to assist the lioness but was ineffective as he was more concerned with keeping clean. Hovering around the edge of the waterhole was the rest of the pride of eight. After some time, some of the pride managed to drag the body to the water’s edge and the meal began. Within thirty hours there was nothing left but the skull. The elephants then came and chased the pride away.