Hippos save wildebeest from jaws of hungry crocodile

Not because a wildebeest appears doomed as a crocodile holds tight to a hind leg.
Because the wildebeest family stands by idly watching a buddy fight for its life for a full 8 minutes.

But don’t worry.

Some hippos come to the rescue in Kruger National Park in South Africa.

And, it’s all caught on video by tourists Mervyn Van Wyk and his wife Tokkie and posted online Latest Sightings, which always has the most amazing animal video from the area.

Wait for the pair of hippos to move in at the 2-minute mark.

 Mervyn recalls this about the encounter:

“It was a fabulous Friday morning and at approximately 9:30 we were driving close to Transport dam near Skukuza. As we approached the dam we noted that blue wildebeest, zebras and impalas were happily grazing on the opposite side of the dam. I turned the car into position so that my wife had a clear view as she wanted to take a few pictures. We happened to notice that one unlucky wildebeest was grabbed by a crocodile on his right rear hoof. This began a game of tug of war that lasted for around 8 minutes. The wildebeest would try dragging itself out of the water whilst the croc would pull it back in. You could see the exhaustion that the poor wildebeest was experiencing. Tokkie kept the cam rolling while I observed the area in the close vicinity. I then noted what I thought were more crocodiles approaching but then saw it was actually 2 hippos. The hippos approached the scene cautiously and then suddenly sprang onto the croc forcing him to release his grip on the wildebeest. This amazingly allowed the wildebeest a chance to escape even though he had a broken hoof. We could not believe the rarity of this situation. I have never seen a hippo coming to the aid of another animal, it was simply astonishing. Remember in Kruger, never rush away and always be patient because these amazing sightings are everywhere to be seen.”

In posting the video, the experts at Kruger say it might not entirely be goodwill on the part of the hippos.

“While this might seem that the hippos were rescuing the wildebeest, it is most probably hippos showing territorial behaviour. Hippos don’t like sharing their turf and might have seen the wildebeest as an intruder, thus attacking the wildebeest to get him out the water.”

Still, it’s a bit more Disney to imagine the hippos were just being good Samaritans.

It’s not clear what happened next to the wildebeest, which escaped with a very broken leg.

About the author

Recovering newspaper reporter.

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