This is the a.g.o.n.i.s.i.n.g moment a baby hippo bravely tries to save his d.y.i.n.g mother from a hungry lion after she became stuck in a muddy riverbank.

The desperate calf is seen roaring at the prowling lion in a David and Goliath stand off in Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa, is one of Africa’s largest nature reserves, and its high density of wild animals includes the ‘Big Five’: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes.

The bravest little hippo: A baby hippo steps in to defend its mother, which had ended up stuck in mud in Kruger Park
Protector: The lion can be seen lying in wait for the d.y.i.n.g mother hippo while her heartbroken calf circles her
Coming closer: Noticing that the mother hippo was close to d.e.a.t.h, the lion decides to move in

Lions do not tend to target an adult hippo: despite their appearance – a large body and short, stumpy legs – hippos are fast, a.g.g.r.e.s.s.i.v.e and have very sharp teeth.

However, it would appear that the weakened hippo stuck in mud and close to d.y.i.n.g a natural d.e.a.t.h was too good of an opportunity to miss.

The lion did not seem to fancy its chances against the calf either, and reportedly left the scene after being chased off.

Sadly the tale did not have a happy ending. The mother hippo d.i.e.d of dehydration shortly after the photos were taken. Not yet ready to look after itself, the calf also d.i.e.d of a similar condition two days later.

No way out: The exhausted and weak hippy notices the lion coming closer but remains stuck in the drying mud
Taster: The lion gets its teeth into the adult hippo in front of its baby calf
Bad move: The lion soon learns that the calf may be a baby, but will defend its mother with its d.y.i.n.g breath
Heartbreaking: The baby calf chases the lion off, but sadly neither mother nor baby calf made it, with both p.e.r.i.s.h.i.n.g from dehydration within a few days of these photos being taken

Source: dailymail

By Michael