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Zebra Foal Escapes Lions

I published my new Tanzania trip photos recently (if you missed them, see the full galleries in the photo archive), and if you checked out the wildlife gallery you may have noticed a couple of frames depicting a lion chasing a zebra foal. There’s more from that sequence, but I’ve enlisted help from my tour clients to help tell the full story.

We arrived at a small lake in Ndutu where thousands—more like tens of thousands—of plains zebras were coming in for a drink. There were some wildebeest mixed in, but it was primarily massive herds of zebras wading into and across the water. This is what The Great Migration is all about.

Plains zebras

I was so enthralled by the spectacle that I didn’t hear my guide tell us that there were lions on the other side of the lake. I was too busy checking out the lines of equids heading into the water.

Plains zebras

Luckily, the other vehicle in our group was aware of the lions, which had killed a wildebeest.

Lion with wildebeest carcass

The other members of our party were staked out and waiting to see if anything interesting would happen with the cats, despite the fact that they’d already made a kill. Surprisingly, something did go down. A tiny zebra suddenly walked into the frame.

Lions hunting zebra

Oops! That was definitely the wrong place to be. Despite the fact that breakfast was already served, the lions weren’t going to turn down an extra snack.

Lions hunting zebra

Somehow, the foal gave this lioness the slip. But then it headed back the other way…

Lions hunting zebra

…where another lioness was willing to give it a try.

Lions hunting zebra

The chase was on again!

Lions hunting zebra

This was right around the time that we pulled up in our vehicle. And we just happened to be in the right position to see predator and prey tear around the corner toward us.

Lions hunting zebra

Lions hunting zebra

Lions hunting zebra

Lions hunting zebra

Lions hunting zebra

Lions hunting zebra

Remarkably, the foal managed to extend its lead (no small feat… did you know lions are one of the five fastest land animals on earth?), but that didn’t keep the cat from pursuing a bit longer.

Lions hunting zebra

Lions hunting zebra

Finally, the lioness gave up. The baby zebra had escaped this time!

Lions hunting zebra

Thanks to my clients Dan, Pat and Steve for contributing their photos to help tell this story.

 

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