What do you think happens when there is a big drought in African safari country and lions can't find their traditional prey? You probably don't have the stomach for the answer. Nor for the spectacle that results.
A BBC crew was in African safari country recently and managed to film a rather gory scene that required lots of editing before it could pass, barely, for family viewing. Folks back from a safari where they saw lions in parts of Africa hunting elephants had sounded off the film crew. Elephants are huge animals and it is difficult to imagine even powerful lions hunting them.
It emerges that in the biting drought in parts of Africa, lions have been left with little option but to hunt the much larger prey in groups of 15 lions or more. They carefully isolate a single elephant usually a weaker or younger one. They then pounce on it. Now, typically a lion kills it's prey first by breaking its' neck with a powerful swipe of its' paw or by using it's powerful jaws to crush the spinal chord. However this is hardly viable with an elephant. The consequence is that the lions eat most of the elephant when it is still alive. In fact some of the eating is done when the elephant is still on its' feet. One piece of editing that the BBC crew had to do was turn down the screams of pain from the elephant as it was eaten alive by over 15 hungry lions.
Fortunately this practice is not too widespread, as few would have the stomach for such a spectacle, even on Television. In most of lion safari country in Africa these kings of the jungle still hunt much smaller prey, which would be much more exciting and less upsetting to watch.
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