By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis
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The rare pictures, captured in the Maasai Mara in March, show the cowardly lion fleeing danger with a terrified look on his hairy face.
But despite retreating to the unusual safety zone the danger was not yet over as the bovines – prone to trampling – gathered under the tree to wait for the lion to fall.
Charles Comyn, a 63-year-old ex-Army official, was exploring the stunning reserve in Kenya with his wife.
The pair were on their last safari of their holiday – but had no inkling that their lasting memory was yet to come.
Together with their experienced guide the couple parked next to a herd of buffalo who were carefully guarding a new-born calf.
But the animals – known for unpredictable behaviour – suddenly became nervous.
Charles said: “All of a sudden, literally out of nowhere, a male lion sprang out from his hiding place hightailing for a nearby tree with the buffalo now starting to give chase.
“It didn’t take long before the lion had scrambled up the tree, fearing for its life.
“The marauding buffalo circled below, smelling the lion. They were not going to let it get away."
The herd had realised the lion was stalking the young buffalo and weren’t about to give the scaredy-cat a lucky escape.
But after a few seconds of clinging onto the tree the cowering lion became to tremble and tire and started to slide down the bark.
Out of desperation the big cat let out a snarl and suddenly leapt from the tree, ran towards Charles’ jeep and disappeared into the bush – with a look of terror clear on his face.
Charles said: “It was a hair-tingling moment. The lion could not hang for long - one could really sense that he was almost doomed - so he had to make another attempt to flee.
“Very quickly the buffalo resumed their early morning grazing. It was only then that we spotted the newly born calf in the middle of the herd, which they obviously had been protecting from the lion who possibly had spotted a potential ’ light ‘ breakfast.
“What a magical, unforgettable and, as we later learnt, unheard of occurrence.”