A group of tourists were left “traumatised” after a huge lion brutally attacked a squealing hyena just metres away from their truck during what was meant to be a peaceful safari.
Maddie Lowe and mum Margot Lowe were being guided around Sabi Sands Nature Reserve, South Africa, on August 16 when they spotted a hyena pack feeding on a carcass.
The 28-year-old decided to capture the incredible sight on video when the clip was rudely interrupted by a huge lion aggressively running over to attack the hyena.
The beast was seen biting one of the darting hyenas’ heads to stop it from escaping its grasp, prompting it to “scream” for help.
Maddie can be heard repeatedly saying “f***” as she watches on in terror as the lion appeared to be ready to kill his prey just six feet away from her.
However, the hyena’s pack refuse to ditch their friend and take it in turns to bite the lion on the bum and elsewhere on the body until it lets go of its victim.
While the animal was “lucky” enough to break free and go about its day, the grocery exports worker admits she and her mum, 59, were in tears after being left “distressed and traumatised” by the incident.
Maddie, from Northern Beaches in Sydney, Australia, said: “You go on safari thinking it would be amazing to see a kill but it’s different when you’re there.
“We were both shaken up. I had a tear, my mum had a few tears falling down and other people were shaking as well. We were all emotional.
“We were watching the hyenas feed on the carcass of the hippo then we saw one of the male lions coming back and he wasn’t happy. I wasn’t expecting the lion to catch a hyena and we were almost laughing telling them to watch out but he was so fast, aggressive and terrifying.
“When it caught one we were sitting on the back row of the truck and one or two metres from where it all happened.
“We were in shock and it was exhilarating so I just froze and recorded it. The sounds were very distressing because they were calling for help. It was very distressing and a bit traumatising.”
A spokesperson for Arathusa Safari Lodge said: “We could never have anticipated the reaction that this incredible clip would get. Being able to capture a moment like this depends on being in the right place, at the right time, and in the company of the right guide.
“The Sabi Sand private reserve, where Arathusa is located, shares an unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park.
“The animals on the reserve have grown up with humans and vehicles posing no threat (sound conservation management is a fundamental part of running a lodge reliant on eco-tourism), which is why we manage to get so close.
“Lions and hyenas are known to be ‘eternal enemies’, both vying for the same food source. Scenes like these play out every single day in the African bush – it’s just seldom that they are filmed so clearly and in such close proximity.”
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This article by Kirsty Card was first published by The Daily Star on 11 September 2023. Lead Image: A lion was seen aggressively running over and biting one of the darting hyenas’ heads (Image: Kennedy News and Media).