Mega-mammals like rhinos and buffaloes typically stay out of each other's way if their paths cross on an open grassland or at a waterhole, but for one especially belligerent white rhino in South Africa's Kariega Game Reserve a Cape buffalo became the unwilling recipient of an all-out attack.


Head guide Wayne Deryck Howarth captured the "extremely rare sighting" on camera earlier this month and shared the footage on the Kariega Game Reserve Facebook page. "The incredible strength of both species is on display here as well as the obstinate nature of the buffalo," the team wrote in the video description. Known for their resilience, adult buffalo bulls can weigh up to 800 kilograms (1700 lbs) and rarely back out of a fight – even when they're up against a 3.5-tonne rhino. 

It's unclear what preceded the attack, but it's likely the rhino bull was trying to assert his dominance in front of a nearby female known as Thandi who he had been trailing for some time. Although not as aggressive as their smaller relatives, the black rhinos, white rhinos can become defensive during courtship, and this is not the first time this bull has been caught in a buffalo brawl. Three years prior a similar battle played out, possibly involving the very same buffalo:

Thankfully for the buffalo, Kariega's rhinos are dehorned as a defensive measure to deter poachers. Rhinos are able to regrow their horns, so removal is a safe and effective aid in the fight against illegal rhino killing. "Before dehorning we lost eight rhino due to poaching in three years," Kariega explained on Facebook. "Since we started dehorning almost 10 years ago we have not lost a single rhino to poaching or lions, buffalo or any other other animal."

After a brief scuffle that saw the buffalo flung around a fair bit, the two animals went their separate ways without any signs of significant injury.


Top header image: Matthew Rogers, Flickr