Even in old age, the king of beasts commands respect.
This amazing footage filmed at Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya shows an aging male lion fending off roughly twenty hyenas as they took turns aggressively approaching him.
Hyenas and lions are known rivals in the wild, where both species often compete over prey and leftover carcasses. While lions are naturally bigger and more powerful, hyenas won’t shy away from an attack when the odds are in their favor. Never far from the rest of their clan, hyenas actually outnumber lions three to one on the African savanna — which means that even the continent’s top predator sometimes find themselves threatened.
When they decide to gang up on a lion, hyenas will often try to overwhelm the big cats with a coordinated mob attack accompanied by loud, incessant vocalizations.
In this case, the lone, aging lion makes for a much easier target than a larger pride. But despite the lion’s weak state, the hyenas instinctively know to remain cautious around the formidable animal — after all, lions are the single leading cause of death for spotted hyenas and even the most coordinated attack can result in serious injury.
Because of this, hyenas typically only risk engaging with lions when there’s food to fight for. A guide that accompanied the videographer expressed just how unusual this encounter is, saying, “This is not something you see, ever.”
The aging lion survived this encounter but reportedly passed away later in the year due to old age.