For almost all newborn animals in the often-perilous savannahs, woodlands and forests of southern Africa, survival is uncertain. In a heart-wrenching video filmed recently in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, a giraffe mother tried in vain to protect her newborn calf from an onslaught of predators that moved in at the prospect of an easy meal.
After coming across a female giraffe towering over the lifeless body of her calf, freelance guide Stef Botha spent nearly five hours recording a tense standoff between the resilient mother and the lions, hyenas and jackals eager for a meal.
“It was such an emotional sighting,” Botha told Latest Sightings. “Giraffes gestate for about 15 months and to lose a calf so shortly after giving birth must be a terrible experience. The calf must have died during the night and this mother giraffe stood there protecting it the whole night, up until the lions arrived the next morning. She kept a few jackals at bay, a hyena, and for a short while the lions. While she was chasing the hyena, the jackals would come in and feed on the little calf, it was terrible.”
The giraffe mom bravely fought off a lioness that arrived in the late morning, but eventually gave up the carcass of her calf when a male turned up to forcefully claim it. “Perhaps because her own life was now at risk … she walked off. The male lion grabbed the giraffe calf and headed off into the bush with it.”