A lioness has been caught on camera taking a swipe at the father of their cub after a stand off between the pair.
The father hit a raw nerve when he growled fiercely at the two-month-old, causing the lioness to strike a warning blow across his face.
The cub had been sunbathing on the bed of a dried up marsh in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, when he was disturbed by his father.
Like Simba practising his roar in the film The Lion King, the cub snarls at his father but was shown who was boss with an even louder reply.
The mother, who had two cubs nearby, padded over to ensure things weren’t getting out of hand and struck the lion across the face.
The event was caught on camera by photographer Elliott Neep who said: ‘It was like he was telling him “Don’t snarl at me”, the mum came over and said “keep it calm” but then slapped the dad with her claws out, leaving a scratch.
‘He retaliated and slapped back but kept his claws in. It was extremely brave of her to stand up to him. At just a couple of months old, the cub still needs the protection of its mother.
‘If she had not been there the dad would have probably whacked the cub so hard it would have knocked him over.’
The 36-year-old, from Wantage, Oxfordshire, added: ‘I have been photographing lions for many years but this was the biggest I have ever seen.
‘Lions normally weigh up 450lbs and I would say this one was at least that – possibly around 500lbs.
‘He didn’t appear to have any battle marks, which is unusual for a pride male. I imagine he is so big nobody else dares fight him.
‘However, I don’t think the cub was in any real danger because it was his cub.
‘The situation ended peacefully with all the family members making up and returning to their sunbathing.’
Squaring up: The lion went over to his cub while it was sunbathing on a dried-up marsh
All made up: After the lioness had the last word, all was calm again with the family