A visitor to the Kruger National Park in South Africa captured a dramatic moment between a lioness and a male lion that shows the fierce motherly love lionesses feel towards their young.
The tense incident that was captured on camera is common in the animal kingdom, but not something regularly witnessed.
In the video filmed from a parked safari vehicle, the mother lion walks down a path with her cub trotting playfully behind her. Standing in their path several yards ahead, a male lion intently watches the pair approach.
Sensing a potentially dangerous situation, the lioness crouches her head slightly and runs toward the male and attacks him, and the two scuffle briefly before the mother lion returns to cub, looking back several times to make sure the male lion doesn’t follow.
Passengers watching from inside the safari vehicle can be heard gasping and exclaiming “no.”
“Oh my God,” one passenger whispered.
The fight was over in a few seconds and no animal seemed to cause the other any permanent harm. The lioness merely warned the male to stay away from her cub.
The footage concludes with the mother heading back to her young cub before turning around to give the lion one last warning.
Kylie Haslam, a guide at the park who witnessed the incident, said the lioness was nervous and appeared to check on her cub more than normal. According to the Daily Mail, Haslam said she saw the male look over at her, which is when the mother lion decided to attack.
The male lion hid underneath the safari car after the attack, she said.
“It was such an amazingly special thing to witness, the raw aggression and unbelievable love the mother had at the same time,” Haslam said.