Heartwarming footage shows the moment a giraffe mother accidentally pushes her newborn calf to the bank of a river while trying to save it from a lioness.
The child – just a few hours old – is too weak to climb back up the cliff, but miraculously survives being crushed by a hungry hunter.
Shocking photos show the young man being dragged by the head with the lion’s jaw and then by the neck by the side of the river.
Her twinkling eyes and soft breath are the only signs that she is alive.
The frantic mother is repeatedly seen chasing the lioness from the lame calf in a five-hour fight for survival.
Incredibly, the calf was later able to get back on its feet and fled into the water while the lioness was still lurking nearby.
But after an exhausting struggle—and not getting milk from its mother—it finally couldn’t raise its head and sank.
The incredible scenery was captured in Kenya’s Masai Mara by safari guides Don Heineke and Rustam Framji.
don, 30, Latest Sightings Told to Safari Website: “Thirty minutes after birth, giraffes are already able to walk with only minimal stumbling, and within ten hours they are able to run.
“Unfortunately for this young calf, a lioness and a hyena showed interest in the calf soon after its birth.”
Don said the hyena quickly lost interest, but the lioness continued to follow the herd of giraffes for four miles.
He said: “The newborn calf was knocked several times by its mother while trying to escape from the lioness.
“After walking 6 km, the giraffe and its baby, which had not yet taken a sip of milk in its life, reached a dead end on the bank of the river.
“The lioness crawls up to them, thinking it’s the finale of an already intense series.
“The mother tried to save her calf from the lioness and panicked – accidentally knocking the newborn down a cliff.
‘Battle for Survival’
“The newborn calf was now stuck in the bank of the river. The mother tried to get the young calf out but it was too weak to climb the shore.
“The calf lay down and at this point there was no chance against the top hunter who took the opportunity to grab the calf and lead it towards the water.
“The mother tried her best to protect her newborn calf and drove the lioness several times, and at this point we thought the calf was 100 percent dead.
“To everyone’s surprise he stood up, but not for long, as the calf was looking for safety in the river, where it fell asleep from exhaustion.
“The giraffe’s cub, with a fight to survive, sank like no one has ever seen before.”
Dramatic photos last week showed two 17ft male giraffes using their necks to kill each other in a battle for supremacy during mating season.
And last month’s video showed a tough giraffe repulsing an attack by six lions as they bit her legs and back in hopes of a feast.
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