Father’s pride: adorable photographs capture playful moment between lion and cub

This is the adorable moment a playful lion cub jumps on her dad to welcome him back to the pride after a few days away.

Photographs show the cheeky youngster leaping on to her father’s back and grabbing his mane.

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In other snaps, she can be seen sat on his head with her paws clasping his ears.

Although mostly unfazed by the antics of his offspring, the elder lion does appear to let out a roar at one point – but this doesn’t put the youngster off.

The images were taken by photographer Daryl Dell at the Phinda Private Game Reserve in Hluhluwe, South Africa, earlier this year.

The 40-year-old said: “There was a whole pride of lions with cubs.

“The male had been apart for a couple of days and when he came back it was very exciting for his cubs to see him so they were jumping on him and playing.

“He was totally unfazed by it. It was amazing to watch.

“You don’t see the cubs jumping on their dad and playing that often so it was special to see.

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“You think of lions as animals that hunt and kill things so it was lovely to see the fun side of the father.

“We spent a good few hours watching them. I think we were there for about four hours.

“It was a nice cool day and we spent a lot of time watching them sleeping waiting for them to be more active.

“They played for quite a while then started to relax.”

Having worked on safari for 15 years, sometimes waiting up to 17 hours a day for sightings of Africa’s most impressive animals, Daryl said it’s still special to capture moments like this one.

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Daryl said: “I was pleased with how the pictures turned out. I felt like I’d captured a special moment which showed the bond between dad and cub.”