Watch: Mother elephant loses twin to lions while saving the other

In this video – which is not for sensitive viewers – a weak and thirsty mother elephant with her newborn twins is forced to drink right next to a pride of lions. The lions go in for the hunt, but the mother doesn’t give up without a fight.

Warning: Video not for sensitive viewers

During an early morning safari in Chobe National Park, 63-year-old Desmond Clack, a seasoned tour guide, captured a unique scene.

Clack shared the footage and story with

“We set off at dawn, entering Chobe National Park at 06:00 in search of elephants. We headed to a remote watering hole inland, as we hadn’t seen any the night before along the river.”

Upon arrival around 06:30, the first sight that greeted them was a pride of lions feasting on a young buffalo.

“It was a special sighting, but what followed was extraordinary,” Clack recalls.

Just then, a female elephant, accompanied by her twin calves – a rarity itself – approached the watering hole.

Seeing an elephant with twins is a rare occurrence. It must have been very difficult for the mother elephant to take care of two tiny babies at the same time. She had to find enough food and water for both and keep them safe, says Clack.

“She was unaware of the lurking danger as she led her babies to quench their thirst. The mother elephant was desperate for water. The dry season had left few water sources, and this isolated waterhole was their only hope. Despite the risks, she had no choice but to lead her twins there. Suddenly, she realised the presence of the lions. The pride, having just fed, surprisingly turned their attention to the new arrivals.

“The mother elephant, realising the danger, tried to fend off the lions. The lions retreated but soon regrouped, and this time they encircled the mother and calves. In a bold move to fend them off, she charged at them, hoping to scare them away. This left her calves momentarily unguarded. It was during this critical moment that the lions seized the opportunity to attack. In the chaos, one of the calves tripped, and a male lion saw its chance. He pounced and grabbed it.

“The mother elephant rushed back, realising the danger to her other calf. In a frantic bid to save her offspring, she was torn between protecting the second calf or rescuing the first calf. She rushed at the lions that had grabbed the first calf, leaving the second exposed. The lions took this moment to go at the second calf. Luckily for it, the mother returned in time to save it. However, the first calf was not so lucky.”

The sighting ended with the mother elephant and her surviving calf escaping, leaving the lions and her first calf behind.

At this point, Clack stopped filming because it was just too sad. He couldn’t keep watching as a little elephant was taken away from the mother, and she could do nothing but look on.

“In such moments, it’s best to understand the situation and remain quiet. Any noise can escalate the tension. It’s the harsh reality of the circle of life.

“To witness an elephant with twins was a first for me, and the unfolding events were both awe-inspiring and heart-wrenching. In the wild, every day is a fight for survival, and this sighting was a testament to the incredible strength and resilience of these majestic creatures,” says Clack.

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