Thrill of the fight – Tigers in vicious brawl
These predators are enjoying the thrill of the fight – as one tiger even takes a swipe at the other’s eye.
The two 17-month-old tigresses were spotted sparring in a practice bout.
Training for vicious territorial disputes in the future, the cubs bared their teeth and reared up against one another.
One even caught the other in the eye with a swipe across the face.
However, after the battle was other, the two showed their family bond and affectionately rubbed heads with one another.
The tigresses are of royal blood, as their mother Noor is one of the most iconic tigers in the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, India.
Their bout was captured by wildlife photographer Daryl Balfour, from South Africa, who leads safaris in the park.
Daryl said: “Photographing good action like this with wild tigers in the reserves in India is an uncommon occurrence and is thus very rewarding and gratifying.
“The ‘fight was simply two sisters engaging in teenager roughhousing play. It helps prepare them for more serious territorial disputes once they become independent from their mother and have to go out into the real tiger world and establish and defend a territory of their own.
“In India’s small tiger reserves surrounded by a sea of people territory is precious, and as adults these fights can be to the death.
“Most animals will have “fights” of varying intensity as they go about establishing their ranking in the family, pride or herd hierarchy, and in this case either of these sisters could be learning that the other is a bit stronger.
“Knowledge like that could prevent a possible fatal encounter later in life.