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.
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.