Dynasties: David Attenborough shows horror battle of lion and hyenas - 'he's tiring fast'

Daily Express :: Nature Feed
Dynasties: David Attenborough shows horror battle of lion and hyenas - 'he's tiring fast'

The violence is played out between Red the Lion and a baying clan of spotted hyenas with jaws so strong they could rip the big cat apart in seconds. Over three minutes of graphic footage shot for BBC One’s landmark Dynasties series, the lone lion and 20 ferocious hyenas lock jaws and strike blows in a maelstrom of fury. The brutality leaves the normally dulcet strains of Sir David’s narration taught with tension when the hyenas mass for a final onslaught. “He’s trapped by over 20 of them,” whispers Sir David. “The pack tries to wear him down. This number of hyenas could kill him. It’s impossible to fight them all at once…”

Although standing head and shoulders over the hyenas, young Red, his mane flowing and mouth stained with the blood of his enemies, begins to flag. Hyena cackles drift across the African savannah, building to a crescendo of victory whoops.

“He cannot keep them at bay much longer… He’s tiring fast,” says Sir David as the short clip released for tonight’s broadcast fades.

Viewers will have to watch to find out what happens in the latest edge-of-the-seat storyline presented by the highly acclaimed series that delves into the world of nature’s most iconic creatures and their tremendous struggles for survival.

Already, the series has explored the deadly fights for dominancy among the chimpanzees of Senegal and how emperor penguin fledglings face the harshest climate conditions on Earth.

This third episode follows the famous Marsh Pride of Kenya’s Masai Mara. Led by a remarkable 14 year old lioness called Charm, her 10-strong family have a far from charmed life facing the hardships of finding prey when the great wildebeest migration comes to an end.

There are run-ins with hippos and buffalo but, most deadly of all, is the conflict with livestock farmers ready to put down poison bait to protect their cattle from marauding lions.

Hyenas are also a constant and when Red, one of the young males that make up Charm’s family group, goes exploring alone, leaving sidekick Tatu with the rest of the pride, the outcome looks disastrous.


Simon Blakeney, producer of tonight’s episode, explains: “Some of the most exciting moments involved the pride’s two sub-adult males, called Tatu and Red. They are like teenagers, in human terms.

“At one point in the film they both sparred with a hippo, half trying to catch it. It was a crazy, over-confident teenage thing to do because a healthy hippo is easily more powerful than the two lions put together. Tatu had his front feet on the flanks of the running hippo, and his back feet were bouncing and splashing across the water-sodden ground. They were never realistically going to bring it down. For the crew, witnessing and filming moments like that were incredible.”

Describing the battle royal between Red and the hyenas, Blakeney explains: “Initially he tried to show how dominant he was by chasing individual hyenas. But by the time he got over his bravado, he was surrounded by twenty or thirty of them and couldn’t escape.

“Each time he lashed out at one that came close, others would attack him from behind. He was vastly outnumbered, and trapped in a life and death situation.”

Find out what happened tonight. Dynasties, BBC One. 8pm

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