Lions and Elephants are both members of the Big 5.
Lions are strong, carnivorous predators that usually hunt in co ordinated prides to bring their prey, although they can hunt and kill when alone.
Elephants are the largest land mammal in existence today, they are massive herbivores that operate in complex family structures called herds. These herds usually led by a matriarch ( female leader ). Elephants can often be encountered on their own either as loan bull or during a temporary foray away from the herd.
Although Elephants are often thought of as gentle giants due to their slow lethargic pace, they are amongst the most dangerous animals in Africa and can often have serious temper tantrums when pushed or frustrated.
Through story, fiction and the media the lion is traditionally crowned the “King of the Jungle” but when you witness a lion and elephant encounter in the wild you may start to wonder who rules the African kingdom.
In most lion vs elephant interactions the lions, even if there are a number of them, will show a healthy level of respect for even a loan elephant.
Can a Lion kill an Elephant?
Lions and lion prides have been known to prey on and kill young elephants if they can separate them from the protection of the herd. Lions have also been known to target older sick elephants that are well beyond their prime.
However certain prides have been known to specialise in taking down full grown adult elephants under desperate circumstances when food was exceptionally scarce. One such pride of 20 lions has been documented killing an adult elephant cow in Botswana.
Watch the video below which tells part of this story.
However this is extremely rare and lions will usually run from an encounter with an elephant rather than become injured which could cause them issues when trying to hunt and feed themselves in the future.
There have been some extraordinary encounters caught on film.
This amazing footage was captured journalist Jesse Nash, artist and professor at CW Post College in New York, Dan Christoffel, UK naturalist, Steve Baker, and Australian TV personality, Nina Krakowski while on safari in South Luangwa, Zambia.
A young elephant, know known as Hercules, got separated from his herd when a pride of fourteen ( 14 ) female lions attacked him in an effort to topple him over and kill him.
Although a very close call the elephant manages to fend off multiple attacks despite having as many as three lionesses on his back at one point.
Watch the video above.
Lion vs Elephant Hercules photo by Steve Baker
In the next lion vs elephant video you will see a remarkable scene of an Elephant who “rescues” a buffalo by chasing away some lions.