This young lion performed a backflip as it escaped the claws of a vicious lioness who slashed it across the face.
British photographer Elliott Neep watched as the lioness approached a zebra carcass to feast with her two cubs in the Masai Mara, Kenya.
But juveniles from a different pride dared to come too close and the protective mother lashed out in anger.
Mr Neep , from near Wantage, Oxon, said: ‘A lioness approached the scene with her two two-month old cubs bouncing around and running about.
‘By this time there wasn’t a great deal left on the bones because two pride males and the rest of the pride had had their fill.
‘Three juvenile lions also moved into the kill but the lioness did not like this at all.
‘She began growling and roaring at them, but they simply looked up and carried on eating.
‘The cubs sat down in the grass as their mother went in closer.‘
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The 36-year-old continued: ‘Across the carcass, just inches from each other, the mother and the juveniles snarled and growled even more aggressively.
‘This time, the younger lions began to back down and edged backwards keeping their eyes on the lioness.
‘One young male turned his back to leave then all hell broke loose.
‘The lioness flew across the carcass, clawing and swiping at all three of them.
‘They ran for their lives but the lioness caught one in the shoulder with one claw and it span around.
‘With the other paw, she smashed it across the muzzle and it flipped over to release the claws now hooked in its skin.
‘The juvenile can be seen spinning in mid-air, kung-fu style. The youngster got to its feet and fled, chased now by the pride males.
‘The lioness stood riveted to the spot just shaking with fury. It was over in seconds.
‘Just seeing the body language and pure rippling aggression in these animals is enough to give you chills and shivers.’
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