This tense footage of a lion duo forced to defend a fresh kill from a charging buffalo bull was caught on camera in South Africa's MalaMala Game Reserve recently. 

Warning: Some viewers may find this footage disturbing.

For lions, taking on an adult buffalo is a calculated risk. If the hunt goes well, the reward provides a feast for the entire pride, but a buffalo is hardly an easy target. If the big cats succeed in taking one down without getting skewered by its impressive horns, distress calls may draw the rest of the herd to the scene, forcing the lions to fend off the buffalo "cavalry".

Unfortunately, help came just a little too late for this buffalo. Ranger Brendan Cole, who filmed the clip, was able to witness the entire encounter unfold. "We came across two male lions chasing a herd of buffalo bulls. The lions chased the buffalo into the riverbed and when we finally caught up with them, they had managed to single out and pin down one of the bulls," he recalls.

Drawn by the buffalo's distress calls, the rest of the herd soon returned. "We waited in anticipation to see if they would try and drive off the lions. One bull stepped up to the challenge ... but it seemed that he had realised that his fallen herd member was too far gone, so he retreated."

This isn't the first time we've seen buffaloes taking on their feline rivals. Footage from Tanzania in 2014 shows a buffalo herd successfully protecting a calf from a pride of lions on the hunt, and the iconic Battle at Kruger clip is a perfect example of these herbivores working as a cohesive unit to defend their own.

These clashes for survival between lions and buffaloes in the Kruger National Park are important. The reserve is one of the last strongholds for viable, stable lion populations, and buffaloes make up a large part of their diet. Despite concerns that the spread of bovine tuberculosis in buffaloes could spell disaster for the cats, research from 2006 shows that populations are stable and have been for 30 years.

Sorry, buffaloes, looks like you'll have to keep fighting off the hungry cats.