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Written by: Taher Nassrulla on 29 July 2015

A showdown of trunks and claws

Showdown of trunks and claws

I was in the Serengeti recently where we experienced a potential face-off between a herd of elephants and a pride of lions.
When lions and elephants meet, the interaction can often end with casualties on either side. Given the chance, a pride of lions will take down a young elephant. The same goes for elephants that will trample young lion cubs if they come across them. This kind of behaviour, despite it being cruel, is the way of the bush.

It was around lunch time on a very hot day in the Serengeti when we saw a pride of lions; the group of 11 included some cubs. Earlier that day the lions had taken down a zebra for breakfast and by now all the cats – big and small – had their fill and were lazing around in true lion fashion.


In the background, however, we noticed a herd of elephants (with babies) slowly approaching the watering hole. The only problem was that the path to the water went straight past the lions and the leftovers of their kill.
We all sat in suspense as the elephants drew closer. The lions, being the proud cats that they are, sat there waiting till the trunks got close enough to touch. Then only they retreated in a dust cloud of ears, paws and trunks!

Both groups of animals had young with them and we expected there would be casualties but to our surprise both parties decided on the more peaceful ‘meet and greet’.
Although just to make their point, the elephants made it clear who was bigger by mock charging the pride. The elephants also inspected the zebra carcass before moving on to the water.


Once the elephants had passed, the lions returned to protect their kill only to be chased of again twice by some bulls that were tagging along with the family herd.
These two kings of the jungle showed us just how much harmony prevails between different species. The elephants just wanted to drink and the lions made way for them. Truly a unique sighting which left us all feeling good inside.

Author: Taher Nassrulla

Born in East Africa, Taher was intrigued by the natural and geographical diversity of the African bush from a young age. After spending some time in Europe, he returned to Tanzania in 2004 to start a new chapter in his life. Since then he has been spending as much time as possible in the bush, learning. Taher speaks English, Kiswahili and German fluently and is a passionate photographer. Using the skills he has learnt over the years, he now takes tourists out on safari as a German-speaking tour leader and guide.

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