As everyone knows, animals are unpredictable and curiously mercurial. One moment they might seem like harmless creatures out in the wild and the next thing you know, they are viciously and mercilessly attacking anything within sight.

The most recent installment of Knives Save Lives, our effort to illuminate the ways knives have saved lives, demonstrated how a blade rescued campers from the clutches of a rabid mountain lion. Two other stories featured an attack by two pit bulls and a bear.

Our next story of heroic knives takes us deep into the wild of southern Africa.

Joe Viljoen and his two sons, Micha and Zen, run a business out of South Africa called Brave Heart Safaris that takes amateur hunters on trips to hunt big game. Some of the species you can hunt include giraffes, hyenas, elephants, antelopes, lions and warthogs among others.

A few years back, a routine hunt for cape buffalo turned into a potentially deadly trip.

The three men and a client tracked a cape buffalo for a while and eventually fired shots at it. They followed it into a thicket of shrubs, but that’s where things became complicated.

When Joe Viljeon was near the buffalo, it charged at him. His first instinct was to fire at its head until he saw his son Zen standing nearby behind the buffalo. The piercing and powerful bullet would have gone straight through its head and possibly hit his son. So, he did his best to protect the inexperienced client next to him and took the charge of the animal.

While the cape buffalo was on top of Viljoen, the client fired four shots at the animal and hit it in the stomach. He was afraid to shoot any higher because he didn’t want to hit Viljoen. As a testament to the power and force of the buffalo, the shots struck its stomach but had absolutely no effect except making the beast angrier.

Viljeon continued to take the brunt of the attack until his son Zen sprung into action.

In the midst of the chaos, Zen ran toward the cape buffalo and unsheathed the knife he always wore, a Cold Steel OSS. He stabbed the animal three times in the lungs and side, plunging the knife into its body (though you can only see two strikes in the video below).

After the final blow, the buffalo staggered away from the two of them and collapsed on the ground. Thanks to the quick thinking of Zen and the availability of his knife, he was able to save his father’s life.

This is a prime example of how sometimes a rifle is still impractical and pales in comparison to the versatility of a knife.

Things can go wrong and danger can strike in all situations at any moment. It’s always important to be prepared for anything by having a good knife handy.


Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at
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