These pictures show the remarkable moment a massive male lion appeared to get a telling off after playtime when two baby cubs got carried away.
The photographs by game lodge manager Tom Coetzee captured the Black Dam pride at play in the Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Mr Coetzee had been tracking the pride of three lionesses, four cubs, and a male to a favourite location near a riverbed where the females had set up a den. Pictured is the play fight that turned a little too rough for the mother lions liking.
Not so rough: The male lion gets a telling off from the mother of their cubs for playing too aggressively. Pictures were taken by a game keeper near their riverside pride in Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa The cubs beginning their playtime (left). Baby cubs often play fight as a practice for their later years where they may be forced to fight for dominance. Cubs play with anything that interests them including ostrich eggs, turtles and their mothers tail Mother plays with the cubs while the male lion looks on. Female lions remain playful in their later years, much more so than the male adult lions Defending cubs against outside males is one of the primary reasons why female lions live in groups, as there is strength in numbers and only groups of females can defeat males and successfully protect their cubs
These pictures show the Black Dam pride in South Africa, the images captured by a local game lodge manager who takes care of the grounds. Prides may have several female and male lions, with the male lions all vying for dominance Female lions remain more playful in adult life than male lions in order to teach cubs how to fight and defend themselves, as well as play fighting to show affection to their young The male lion may have many female partners throughout his life as head of the pride, which means he will have many children by many different mothers While the lion’s powerful jaws can often be strong enough to break the neck of significantly larger animals like antelopes, gazelles, or zebras, they are soft but firm when playing with their young, with one mother lion showing expert control in this picture The male lion of the pride approaches his cubs. While male lions are often not as playful as female lions, they do have a soft side, sometimes taking time out from eating and basking to engage in a bit of rough and tumble The male lion appears to begin playing with the cubs of the Black Dam pride. The male lions can often be aggressive toward their cubs as a way of asserting dominance over fast-growing young males lions The male lion starts to get a bit rougher: The males will rough-house with the younger members of the pride when they are smaller because they do not have the physical advantage, but will remember that the lion is the dominant male Mother, who has been watching the play fight, begins to intervene. The male lion can often get carried away while fighting, which is why the female lions of the pride stick close The female lions gang up on the male. Often, groups of females will stick together to contest male lions from other prides that might have approach their territory, finding safety in numbers The mother defends her cubs: While the play fighting is innocent and often harmless, the act of defense is not, as a mother will become incredibly fierce to defend her cubs The fight becomes serious. While the mother has to defend her cubs, the male of the pride also has to maintain his dominance, making these sorts of fights dangerous, and sometimes lethal The cubs and other female of the Black Dam pride look on as the fight comes to a close. Lions have tremendous agility and brutal strength, making them incredibly efficient and deadly hunters The mother pounces at the male lion, who appears to recoil at the challenge, showing that the female has successfully defended the cubs, who still look on at the fight as it comes to a close