A hippo saved a gnu from a crocodile's jaws on the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, and the moment was captured on camera.
In the video, the gnu, also known as a wildebeest, was attempting to cross a waterway when a crocodile latched onto the African antelope's backside to drag it underwater.
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As the defenseless prey appears succumb to the croc's powerful jaws, a nearby hippopotamus trudged over and intervened on behalf of the gnu in the life and death struggle.
Almost immediately after the hippo came within feet of the gnu, the crocodile released its grip and floated back underwater out of view. The antelope's new friend proceeded to escort it to the river's edge and repeatedly nudged the stunned wildebeest to move onto dry land where it would be safer.
The incredible moment was captured on video by Israeli photographer Vadim Onishchenko.
"It was an incredible moment, the hippo actually tried to push it out of the water and then guarded the gnu to prevent the crocs getting close," Onishchenko told reporters, according to Britain's Express newspaper
"I have heard of cases where the animals instinct is to protect the other species. I think the hippo's parental instincts took over," the 34-year-old added. "The hippos are probably the only animal not afraid of the crocs, and I would even say the hippo is the only animal the crocodiles are afraid of."
According to Onishchenko, even the group's safari guide was shocked by the encounter, saying that he had never seen anything like that before.
"It was certainly an unforgettable moment, I feel honored to have seen such a spectacle," Onishchenko added.
Hippos, which according to National Geographic, can weigh
anywhere between 5,000 to 8,000 pounds and have a body length of 9 to 14 feet. They are known for being one of the most deadly animals in Africa as far as humans are concerned, killing thousands of people each year, despite the fact that they are herbivores.
Once found in large numbers throughout eastern central and southern sub-Saharan Africa, the Hippo has reportedly seen its numbers decline in recent years.
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