Astonishing moment male lion befriends tiny cub – instead of killing it – after taking over the pride

This little cub can’t believe it’s luck as it nuzzles up to and plays with a male lion who has just taken over the pride and killed another youngster.

PIC BY Vicky Coombe / CATERS NEWS

The astonishing moment saw the pair snuggling up and play fighting – which is highly unusual as male lions usually attack cubs after taking control of the pride.

Buckinghamshire photographer, Victoria Coombe, watched in amazement as the action unfolded at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya.

PIC BY Vicky Coombe / CATERS NEWS

She said: “This pride was incredibly interesting to watch during our stay.

“According to our guides the two males had come in and taken over the pride, whilst doing this unfortunately as nature dictates they usually kill off any young cubs.

“This in turn will set the females of the pride back into an oestrous cycle, thus allowing the new males to mate and produce a new litter of offspring with their DNA.

PIC BY Vicky Coombe / CATERS NEWS

“Our guides have said that they’ve only seen this type of behaviour a couple of times in their years of working in the bush so it was a really interesting dynamic to watch.”