Buffalo Throws Lion in Air 'Like Ragdoll' After Hunting Calf

A buffalo threw a lion in the air "like a ragdoll" after it attacked a calf, pictures show.

Mario Paul, photographic guide on tour operator Wild Photo Africa Safaris, captured the pictures while on an eight-day safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

On day three of the safari, the group came across two male lions lying in the shade while a herd of buffalo drank from a pool, Paul said on a Facebook post. The lions were watching the herd very intently.

Lion chasing buffalo
The lion is pictured charging towards the buffalo. Mario Paul / Wild Photo Africa Safaris

Then, as some buffalo moved away from the area, "all hell broke loose," Paul said. The lions positioned themselves to target a young buffalo calf.

South African lions hunt anything from ostriches to small crocodiles. However, their preferred prey is larger mammals like buffalo, giraffe or zebra. But Buffalo are large animals and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

One of the lions then charged, as the calf started "running for his life." The rest of the herd came charging to the scene to help the calf. However, the lion had already brought it down.

Lion pouncing on Buffalo calf
A picture shows the lion pouncing on a buffalo calf. Mario Paul / Wild Photo Africa Safaris

That is, until a very large bull growled and hit the lion, who quickly let the calf go. The lion then attempted to run away from the "very, very angry" bull. The buffalo chased the lion across a stream and pinned him down.

He then threw the lion "into the air like a ragdoll."

Paul told Newsweek: "It was an amazing experience, something that you very seldomly see and something that most people just dream of experiencing themselves.

"When we arrived we could see that something was going to happen, and as the time went by and the lions started to move into position, the excitement grew and adrenaline started to flow!"

Buffalo pushing lion
A picture shows a buffalo throwing down the lion that tried to hunt a calf. Mario Paul / Wild Photo Africa Safaris

Lions will usually try to sneak up on the weakest buffalo in the herd, usually when the rest have dispersed.

But buffalos have very specific herding tactics that can prove lethal to lions. Herd will often gang up on lions, using mobbing techniques to chase them away, or sometimes, kill them.

Buffalo throwing lion in air
A picture shows the bull buffalo throwing a lion in the air after is tried to hunt a calf. Mario Paul / Wild Photo Africa Safaris

Paul said when the buffalo threw the lion into the air, he was in "utter disbelief."

"After all was done, we just sat there in utter disbelief of what just unfolded in front of us! Something that you normally only see on TV, we just got to witness," he told Newsweek.

After the lion was thrown in the air, it landed a few feet away. Meanwhile, the other lion was now being targeted by about 20 other buffalo chasing after him. It eventually disappeared into the reeds.

The herd of buffalo started surrounding the calf to protect it. The lion that had just been thrown around by the buffalo then tried to stalk the calf once more.

But the buffalo all started to chase after him. The lion eventually disappeared.

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