Frightened lions hide in tree after being charged by angry elephants

The pride of Lions in a very picturesque African tree after being spooked by a herd of Elephants.Photo/Zhayynn James via Caters News

A wildlife photographer has captured the dramatic moment a pride of lions bolted up a tree after they were spooked by a herd of elephants.

The sheepish cats were relaxing in the bush but sought refuge in the tree’s branches when they were startled by the leader of the herd.

The protective elephant charged at the frightened lions as they scrambled up the tree to safety in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania.

Photographer Zhayynn James, from India, was in the right place at the right time when he captured the incredible scene.

The 40-year-old said: “I was on a wildlife photography tour when we came across a group of adult lionesses and some younger lions lounging under the shade of the Acacia trees.

“Further back was a large herd of African elephants and their calves – the matriarch had probably smelt the lions, and decided to investigate in case they were a threat.

“On seeing the pride of lions, she bellowed and charged at them – the lions scrambled to escape.”

James said the rest of the herd arrived a few seconds later.

He said: “They all trumpeted their displeasure at the lions. The lions all climbed gingerly up the tree, heading onto different branches, before all deciding to lounge on the same branch.

“They were almost falling over each other to get away from the elephants, almost falling from the tree in the process – they were keeping a wary eye on the elephants, who had moved off after chasing the lions away.

“It was a surreal experience – I consider myself blessed for having witnessed such wonderful moments of natural history play out in front of me.”