By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis
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The horned animal wrestled with the fearsome predator for an hour in the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.
As the strong animals clashed, it soon became apparent that neither would walk away from the fight unscathed, as the buffalo gored the big cat with its sharp horns and the lion sunk its claws and teeth into its prey.
Matt Armstrong-Ford, 25, from Eastbourne, who works for Shenton Safaris as a guide and camp manager, came across the bloody scene with the lion’s hooked onto the female buffalo’s muzzle.
He recognised the lion as a six-year-old feline who suffered from mange, a type of skin disease, and had become detached from his pride.
“Both animals stared at each other both too exhausted to move.
“After a few minutes of rest the lion then went for the buffalo and another ten minute battle ensued. Again the buffalo managed to shake itself free.
“The same process continued for about an hour until both animals were completely spent.
“The rest of the herd, who had come to the water to drink were watching from a distance while the fight carried on.”
As it looked like fortune was favouring the exhausted but ravenous lion a member of the buffalo’s herd came to its aid and delivered a deadly blow.
Matt said: “That seemed to give the cow the opportunity it need to escape and along with the rest of the herd moved off.
“After this the lion managed to drag himself under a bush to lick his wounds. Both animals were covered in blood by the end.”
Two days later the lion succumbed to his injuries, while the buffalo’s carcass was found two weeks later having failed to fight off infection.
Matt added: “I have never seen anything like that before. Usually when lion hunt buffalo it is as a pride – it is hardly ever alone.
“The fact that the lion was familiar to us and we had seen him in his prime made it very emotional to see him in the state he was in. By the end of the fight everyone was exhausted.”