Remarkable photographs have emerged showing a frightened lion escape a herd of angry buffalo – by scrambling up a tree.
Despite withdrawing to the odd safety zone the danger wasn’t completely ended as the buffalo – prone to trampling – congregated under the tree to wait for the lion to fall.
Charles Comyn, a 63-year-old ex-army official, was touring the gorgeous Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya with his wife when he stumbled into the astonishing image.
The two were on the last safari of their holiday but stated they had no indication that their lasting experience was yet to come.
Together with their skilled guide the pair parked near to a herd of buffalo who were carefully guarding a new-born calf.
But the animals – notorious for erratic conduct – suddenly got scared.
Mr Comyn said: ‘All of a sudden, literally out of nowhere, a male lion leapt out from his hiding location hightailing for a nearby tree with the buffalo now starting to give pursuit.
‘It didn’t take long before the lion had scrambled up the tree, frightened for its life.
‘The marauding buffalo circled below, scent the lion. They were not going to let it get away.’
The herd had discovered the lion was stalking the baby buffalo and weren’t about to allow it a lucky escape, he said.
But after a few seconds of clutching onto the tree the terrified lion got to shake and fatigue and started to slide down the bark.
Out of desperation the big cat gave out a snarl and abruptly sprang from the tree, rushed towards Mr Comyn’s jeep and fled into the bush.
Mr Comyn 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 run.
‘Very shortly the buffalo started their early morning graze. It was only then that we noticed the freshly born calf in the middle of the herd, which they evidently had been sheltering from the lion who potentially had spotted a potential light food.
‘What a magical, amazing, and as we subsequently learnt, unheard of occurrence.’