Heartbreaking footage shows the moment a newborn giraffe drowns in a river after an exhausting battle for survival against a hungry lioness.
While still learning to walk, the youngster is mercilessly hunted down by the predator with its terrified mother unable to protect it.
In the video, captured in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy of the Masai Mara, Kenya, the mother and calf are seen being pursued for over 6km by the lioness.
After being singled out from the herd, the just 10-hour-old calf is forced to walk endlessly in an attempt to avoid being attacked.
But after reaching a dead-end at a river bank, the calf’s terrified mother accidentally pushes her offspring down a slope in her bid to protect it.
Footage shows a newborn giraffe and its mother being mercilessly hunted down by a lioness in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy of the Masai Mara, Kenya
Heartbreaking video shows the newborn giraffe being grabbed by the lioness after it is accidentally pushed down a cliff by its mother as she tried to protect it
The calf is however too weak to climb back up, and eventually is grabbed by the lioness who then tries to drag it away. With little strength left, the giraffe lies helplessly in the animal’s jaws.
Determined not to lose her child, the mother fights back and wards off the big cat, allowing the calf to get back up and head for water.
But now out of the predator’s clutches, the giraffe appears too exhausted to carry on. Several hours later it collapses and drowns.
This sighting was captured by wildlife photographer Don Heyneke who was on safari in Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and by Rustom Framjee from Safarinut Safaris.
Don, 30, said: ‘A female giraffe gave birth to a baby calf. 30 minutes after being born, the giraffes are already able to walk with only minimal stumbling and, within 10 hours, they are able to run.
‘The calf lay down and at this point stood no chance against the apex predator who took the opportunity to grab the calf and carry it towards the water’
Determined not to lose her child, the mother fights back and wards off the big cat, allowing the calf to get back up and head for water
‘Unfortunately for this young calf, a hungry lioness and hyena showed interest in the calf right after it was born.’
‘The interested lioness and hyena were trailing the giraffe and her calf, but the hyenas quickly lost interest, leaving only the lioness who was almost herding the herd for over 6kms (4 miles).
‘The newborn calf was knocked over several times by its mother while trying to escape the lioness.’
‘After walking 6kms, the giraffe and her baby, who at this point had not even had a sip of milk in its life yet, reach a dead-end caused by a riverbed. The lioness creeps up to them, thinking this is the finale to an already intense series.’
‘The mother tried to protect her calf from the lioness and panicked – accidentally bumping the new-born down a cliff.
‘To everyone’s surprise, it stood up but not for very long as the calf ended up finding safety in the river where it fell asleep from exhaustion,’ said Don
Now out of the predator’s clutches, the giraffe appears too exhausted to carry on. Several hours later it collapses and drowns
‘The new-born calf was now stuck in the riverbed, the mother went outside the riverbed and tried to coax the young calf out but it was too weak to climb the bank.’
‘The calf lay down and at this point stood no chance against the apex predator who took the opportunity to grab the calf and carry it towards the water.’
‘The mother did her best to protect her new-born calf and chased the lioness away multiple times and at this point, we thought the calf was 100% dead.
‘To everyone’s surprise, it stood up but not for very long as the calf ended up finding safety in the river where it fell asleep from exhaustion. The baby giraffe, with a fight for survival like no one has ever seen before, drowned.’
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources]