One of the most-watched videos on YouTube a few years ago showed the struggle of a water buffalo family and herd to save a child. It’s called the Battle at Kruger Park. It begins with a buffalo mother, father, and child meandering peacefully ahead of the herd unaware that a pride of six lions is stealthily easing up to attack them. Sensing the danger too late, the water buffalo parents and calf immediately turn and run away. The child cannot keep up. The six swift lions lunge and overpower this slowest and most vulnerable family member, tumbling with him into a river. As the lions attempt to pull the buffalo calf from the water, a crocodile grabs one of the child’s legs, eager to share the bounty. The tug of war between the lions and crocodiles over the young buffalo prey seems to last a painful eternity. As the lions win and drag the buffalo child onto land and surround him, ready for the kill, you realize, joyfully, that the child is still alive, but are horrified that he now is going to be devoured.
In the middle of this life-and-death drama, you suddenly hear and then see movement as a large herd of water buffalo—a rescue posse—comes storming in to surround the lions, who do not immediately relinquish the child despite being greatly outnumbered. After a moment of herd uncertainty, one angry buffalo—who I just know was the mother—furiously attacks a lion with her horns and hurls him away. Others in the herd follow her lead and confront another lion, but still are unable to extricate the child. Another attempt succeeds