An incredible video of a hungry lioness stalking a newborn baby giraffe while the protective mother struggled hard to save her calf has gone viral on social media.

The heartbreaking video of a 10-hour-old baby giraffe fighting for survival in front of the terrified mother was shared by wildlife app Latest Sightings.

After an intense battle with the lioness, the newborn miraculously survived but later fell into a river and drowned out of exhaustion. The video was captured in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy of the Masai Mara in Kenya while Don Heyneke, a wildlife photographer was on a safari trip,  The South African reported.

The video begins by showing the giraffe calf that is still learning to walk being stalked by a hungry lioness and a hyena. The hyena soon loses interest in the prey but the lioness relentlessly follows the herd for around four miles. 

All through the journey, the protective mother tries to keep her calf right under her legs to shield the baby from being attacked by the lioness.

When they reach a dead-end, the lioness creeps up to them and the terrified mother accidentally bumps the newborn down a cliff. The calf then gets stuck in a riverbed. The lioness grabs the calf and drags it towards the water.

The below footage may be disturbing for some viewers. Viewer discretion advised.

Meanwhile, the mother giraffe chases the lioness several times but her calf looks almost dead from the attack. "To everyone’s surprise, it stood up but not for very long as the calf ended up finding safety in the river where it fell asleep from exhaustion. The baby giraffe, with a fight for survival like no one has ever seen before, drowned,” Heyneke said.

The video has received several comments from the viewers who were left amazed by the intense fight.

"Surely this footage will win awards... that last shot is one of the most amazing (and tragic) bits of wildlife footage I've ever seen," a viewer commented. "One of the most amazing yet true displays of nature. The will to survive," another wrote.

giraffes-gc96053bae_640 representational image Photo: pixabay