“Male Elephant’s Courageous Defense Thwarts Lion’s Attack on Family”


These photos capture the incredible moment when a brave male elephant defended his family from a fierce lion attack.

In a dramatic showdown that lasted less than a minute, the two enraged males faced off against each other and charged, playing a potentially deadly game of chicken.


While neither animal was injured, the incident highlights how unforgiving life can be in the African plains, where access to water is scarce.

The intense confrontation took place in Nxai Pan National Park in Botswana and was captured by Czech photographer Jan Hrbacek during his holiday last October.

According to Hrbacek, “The young elephant came up to the waterhole, where the pride of lions was lying. The male lions tried to chase him away, but he became angry and chased them back.”


The confrontation was brief, and the elephant eventually retreated, leaving the pride to relax by the watering hole until evening.

The pride consisted of two adult males, four adult females, and ten cubs, some of which can be seen scattering in the face of the angry elephant’s charge.

To monitor lion populations, conservationists often use collars since lion territories can be large and the animals can be difficult to detect in thick vegetation and rugged terrain. In this case, the male lion was also wearing a radio collar, which scientists use to track their movements.


Hrbacek was thrilled and surprised to witness the battle, “The elephant was not very big and no more than ten years old. I was very happy, as I’d never seen a confrontation like this before. I am glad I was there at the right time and at the right place – I felt like I was inside the natural world.”


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