Editor's note: Some viewers may find this video distressing.

With their leathery skin and tough horns, rhinos are rarely the prey of choice for big cats, but a hungry group of lions in South Africa's Kruger National Park decided to take its chances recently, and managed to take down a juvenile male. 

The footage was captured by tourist Eric Knopp, who happened upon the kill while on safari. 

"We had heard from a staff member that there were a few lions around," he wrote on YouTube. "When we arrived, the lion was busy trying to kill the rhino." After about twenty minutes, the large male was joined by a young cub and its mother, who immediately jumped in. "The male lion rested and the lioness continued," recalls Knopp.

Tough as this may be to watch, it's incredibly rare to see lions taking down a rhino. It's possible that these big cats simply saw an opportunity in the lone juvenile, or that the animal was sick or injured prior to the hunt. 

Given the risk involved in targeting a 2,000kg (4,400lb) opponent armed with a sharp horn, a small group of lions wouldn't see a healthy adult rhino as a viable target. In fact, even large prides struggle to pull off such a feat.

This particular incident has also received attention for reasons other than the lions' unusual prey choice. Given the scale of South Africa's poaching problem (which has its epicentre in the Kruger park), the event has also sparked questions about what happened to the rhino's horn, given its potential for attracting opportunistic poachers.

While there has been no confirmation on the horn's exact whereabouts, SANParks, the body that manages South Africa's national parks, explains it was likely taken by park staff. "I have no information on this incident," SANParks' William Mabasa told News24. "But [because] it happens to be closer to [a] tourist road, chances are that rangers would have been alerted and they would have removed the horns."   

This is not the first time we have seen lions taking on other members of the Big Five. During a severe drought in Botswana some years ago, our camera crews witnessed a pride of lions adapting to the tough conditions by attacking a young elephant (this one is definitely not for sensitive viewers).