Mother wildebeest takes on a leopard in a brutal battle over calf

This intense and hard-to-watch battle was captured on video by a young tourist in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

The leopard was initially seen chasing a lone impala, but after the antelope made a break for a nearby riverbed, the big cat encountered an easier target – or so it seemed. A young wildebeest calf was resting nearby, which would have been easy pickings for the leopard … had it not been for the calf’s powerful mother, who wasn’t giving up without a fight.

“I was utterly shaken! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but somehow I still ɱaпaged to film,” recalls 12-year-old Muhammed, who recorded the video and submitted it to the Latest Sightings YouTube channel.

Things turn particularly brutal about midway through the clip, when it appears that the momma wildebeest is attacking her own baby. The most likely explanation is that she is simply trying to get the calf to stand up amidst the extreme stress and confusion of the situation. The calf’s injuries probably prevented it from getting to its feet.

We can also speculate about whether the behaviour was triggered by the youngter’s continuing distress calls. In a sighting elsewhere, a herd of zebras was observed attacking a wildebeest calf, possibly because its loud calls were perceived as a safety threat. It sounds grim, but when the fate of your herd hinges on passing predators unseen, being quiet is a must. In that attack, however, the youngster was an interloper from another species, so it’s impossible to know whether something similar was at play in this recent Kruger scenario.

It’s also worth noting that the tourists’ vehicle was a bit too close to the action, which likely added another stressful element to what was already a very intense situation.

Eventually, the mother wildebeest ɱaпaged to chase the leopard into a nearby tree, but the cat returned to claim its meal soon afterwards. “I was low-spirited because it seemed the baby suffered for a long ᴛι̇ɱe, but my sister explained that this is the cycle of life, and part of nature,” says Muhammad.