Possible Plagiarism of the Battle at Kruger

Reading Robin Binckes’ novel Canvas under the Sky, starting at page 178, I found a scene that was remarkably like something I had seen before. I searched on Google using the keywords “Buffalo, Lions, Crocodile” and the second entry was this video titled Battle at Kruger, which had been a viral video years ago.


Is this plagiarism?

Plagiarism: the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.

The act of using another person’s ideas – if a YouTube video is an idea – which I would think it is, qualifies.

This YouTube has been viewed 75 million times. Why would Binckes retell a story that 75 million potential readers had already seen in a video, and not give credit?

Here are pages 178 – 180 of Robin Binckes’ novel Canvas under the Sky, and you can judge for yourself:

Early one morning, a week after the funeral, Jan and I set off to hunt lions that had killed three cattle the night before. We tracked the spoor of a pride for some miles until the trail ran cold at a small stream. We climbed off our horses and concealed ourselves behind some bushes. While we studied the terrain for signs of lion, a herd of some forty Cape buffalo emerged from the scrub about fifty yards downstream and across the river from us. Jan started to ready his Sanna for a shot but the buffalo became agitated and began to move farther downstream, tossing their heads and swishing their tails. I guessed they had picked up our scent as the wind was blowing in their direction.

Jan nudged me in the ribs. “Look,” he said, pointing.

Five lions were stalking the buffalo through the long grass on the riverbank. They were thirty yards away when the buffalo started to move away, firstly at a walk, then at a brisk trot. The lions broke cover and the buffalo panicked, running wildly in different directions. A lioness singled out a buffalo calf. Totally focused, she ignored the larger animals as she bounded past. Within a few strides she leaped onto her prey, her claws gouging its sides. The whites of the calf s rolling eyes showed its terror. The rest of the pride joined the attack. The young buffalo crashed to the ground, surrounded, before slipping down the riverbank and splashing into the water. Standing in the shallows, the lions savaged the animal, with throaty roars and grunts until their coats were seeped with blood. “He’s had it,” Jan whispered.

I nodded. We were totally engrossed in the scene until my gaze was drawn by a movement in the water, a few yards away. Two giant crocodiles were silently approaching the battle scene. The jaws of one crocodile emerged from the muddy waters. Mouth agape, it raced the last few yards, reared out of the water and grabbed the kicking, twitching back legs of the young buffalo. With a shake of its scaly head the crocodile started to pull the prey into the water. The calf had become the prize in a mortal tug-of-war.

As we watched in amazement the crocodile, realizing it was losing the struggle, summoned all its energy and power and heaved out of the water so that its jaws clamped the buffalo’s rump. Shaking its tail, it began to pull the calf deeper into the water. The lions, angered by this intrusion into what should have been an uncontested kill, let out a barrage of roars and intensified their mauling of the calf s throat and then, almost as if by command, pulled together. The crocodile held on but was yanked up behind the buffalo until, with a shake of its head and a thrashing of the tail, it let go. The crocodile sank beneath the waters to sulk in the muddy depths below.

“The lions have won,” exclaimed Jan.

“No they haven’t. Look there,” I whispered. “I can’t believe this. It’s not over yet. The buffalo have come back.”

The buffalo had regrouped as a herd and returned. The lions looked up from their anticipated feast, aware of the approaching buffalo moving menacingly at a determined trot in their direction. There was no doubt what their intentions were. The lions clambered nervously to their feet, moving cautiously away from the approaching herd that had formed itself into a wall of muscle. As the speed of the buffalo increased, the nerve of a lioness broke as she slunk away from the others. A huge buffalo bull trotted after her, faster, then faster, and with a sweep of his horns, gored the lioness in the side and tossed her a full five feet into the air. When the lioness hit the ground her legs were like pistons which pounded the ground as she fled. The buffalo trotted back to the herd which had now surrounded the remaining lions.

At that moment there was a flurry of dark brown from among the lions and the buffalo calf—bitten, mauled and almost drowned—staggered away from the lions and disappeared into the protective ranks of the herd. Having dealt with one lioness, the buffalo drew closer to the remaining four, which slunk away along the riverbank. It was all over. The buffalo had won and the buffalo calf had survived … for the time being.

Jan breathed in one mighty rush. “Whew! That is something! I have never seen anything like that before.”

I shook my head, “There’s no point telling any of the others,” I said. “They’ll think we’ve had too many brandies.”



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