Battle at Kruger
Battle at Kruger is an eight-minute amateur wildlife video that depicts an unfolding confrontation between a herd of Cape buffalo, a small pride of lions, and one or two crocodiles. The video was shot in September 2004 at the Transport Dam watering hole in Kruger National Park, South Africa, during a safari guided by Frank Watts. It was filmed by videographer David Budzinski and photographer Jason Schlosberg.
After being posted on YouTube on 3 May 2007, Battle at Kruger received 66 million views and became a viral video sensation and was widely praised for its dramatic depiction of wildlife on the African savannah. It became one of YouTube's most popular nature videos, with more than 72 million views and 86 thousand comments as of October 2013[update], and won the Best Eyewitness Video in the 2nd Annual YouTube Video Awards. The video was also the subject of an article in the 25 June 2007 issue of Time magazine, and was featured in the first episode of ABC News' i-Caught, which aired on 7 August 2007. A National Geographic documentary on the video debuted on the National Geographic Channel on 11 May 2008.
Taken from a small vehicle on the opposite side of the watering hole with a digital camcorder, the video begins with the herd of African buffalos approaching the water, unaware that lions are crouched nearby lying in wait for them. Upon seeing the lions, the buffalos flee and the lions charge and disperse the herd, picking off a buffalo calf and unintentionally knocking it into the water while attempting to make a kill. As the lions try to drag the buffalo out of the water, it is grabbed by a crocodile, who fights for it in a brief tug of war before giving up and leaving it to the lions. The lions lie down and prepare to feast, but are quickly surrounded by the massive reorganized buffalo herd, which moves in and surrounds the lions. One of the lions is tossed into the air by the alpha male buffalo and the buffalo chases it away. The remaining lions are subsequently scattered and chased away soon after the initial engagement, and the baby buffalo escapes into the herd while a few lions remain surrounded by the buffalos. The buffalos then proceed to aggressively chase the remaining lions away.
Two veterinarians and animal behaviorists interviewed by Time assert that the behavior exhibited by the buffalo is not unusual. Dr. Sue McDonnell of the University of Pennsylvania (School of Veterinary Medicine) said of the video:
"The larger herd is broken down into smaller harems, with a dominant male and several females and their babies. If a youngster is threatened, both the harem males and bachelor males — which usually fight with one another — will get together to try to rescue it."
It is, however, rare for such events to be captured on film even by professional wildlife photographers. Indeed Dereck Joubert, a photographer and writer for National Geographic said of the video:
"There is no doubt at all that the tourist who shot that scene [...] was unbelievably lucky. I mean, we would've considered ourselves lucky to have had that whole scene happen in front of us."
- "Animal battle video becomes hit" BBC News, 9 August 2007. Accessed 18 September 2007.
- Battle at Kruger, YouTube.com. Accessed 7 October 2013.
- 2nd Annual YouTube Awards Winners, YouTube.com. Accessed 4 April 2008.
- "A little help from his friends". (25 June 2007). Time, Vol. 169, No. 26, pg. 47.
- Millhon, Drew (2007-08-01). "Video Captures Animal Battle for Survival". ABC News Internet Ventures. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- A Canon ZR50MC MiniDV, as reported in "You’ve Seen the YouTube Video; Now Try the Documentary", The New York Times, 10 May 2008.
- Bobbie Johnson ,"10m viewers for YouTube phenomenon", The Guardian, 10 August 2007. Accessed 18 September 2007.
- Sue McDonnell PhD (Profile), University of Pennsylvania. Accessed 18 September 2007.
- Jeffrey Kluger, "When Animals Attack — and Defend", Time, 7 June 2007. Accessed 18 September 2007.
- Dereck Joubert Biography (1956-), filmreference.com. Accessed 18 September 2007.
- Drew Millhon, "Video Captures Animal Battle for Survival", ABC News, 1 August 2007. Accessed 14 July 2008.