Lion Prides Hunting Buffalo

blog post photo

© Wildlife Films Botswana / Mike Meyers

Award-winning filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert began watching big cats in Africa 30 years ago. And according to the Jouberts, watching lions hunt buffalo are some of the most thrilling action moments they’ve experienced. 

Buffalos travel in herds. And while the ideal side of a herd in Africa is about 250 individuals, sometimes these creatures gather in the thousands as a defense mechanism against predation.

blog post photo

© Wildlife Films Botswana / Beverly Joubert

Hungry lions stalk the buffalo herd, and the Jouberts say that these lions are some of the largest they’ve seen. But how do lions take down a colossal buffalo amidst a herd of thousands? By working with their pride in a complex, intense hunt that can last for hours.

Buffalos are equipped with piercing horns and sharp hooves, so it’s not an easy fight. And because buffalos are strong, armed and quick on their feet, lionesses must work as an organized team to conquer their prey.

Lionesses do most of the hunting for the pride, and they’re built for life as a stealth predator. They have strong, sculpted muscles, bulky heads and bodies that narrow towards the tail. And because they are lighter and smaller than their male counterparts, lionesses boast the agility and speed to ambush and capture prey. Lions can run the length of a football field in just six seconds and will even drag heavy, fallen prey into protective brush to hide their quarry from other hungry carnivores.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert are working to stop the decline of lion populations with emergency action. Learn all about National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative and brush up on your knowledge of big cat species.

Big Cat Week starts Monday, December 6th at 9 PM et/pt with Big Cat Odyssey on Nat Geo Wild!

Video Preview: Filmmakers Derek and Beverly Joubert spend their lives up close and personal with lions – and capture many kills on film.


  1. salionpark
    December 5, 2010, 1:27 pm

    In Southern Africa, our Lions are mainly the famous tawny-maned Lions of the Kruger National Park and the equally famous black-maned Lions of the Kalahari, although both townies and black-manes are found throughout the sub-region. You can volunteer to help lions in Africa.