A photographer in Africa was able to capture the moment a lioness "sprang" into action to fight a crocodile that was posing a threat to her cubs as the pride crossed a river.
Pia Dierckx, 48, is a photographer from Antwerp, Belgium, He had been trailing the pride and was observing the lioness as they got ready to cross a small river in Botswana.
While the waters may have been calm, they were anything but safe and Dierckx explained that she was caught off guard when she heard a big splash.
"I watched a lioness carefully move out into the channel and then there was a huge splash in the water," she told BPNS.com.
The lioness had spotted the crocodile moving in closer to her traveling cubs and in a split second jumped on top of the croc, biting the reptile on the mouth and then forcing it underwater.
"Luckily for the lioness the crocodile did not have an opportunity to do the death roll because her mouth was kept closed between the front legs of the lioness," Dierckx added.
After the quick encounter the lioness led her cubs to the safety of the river bank while the crocodile left the area to find an easier meal.
The photographer explained that the exchange only lasted for a matter of seconds and did not even know what happened until she took a moment to view the pictures herself.
"It was only after checking my pictures on the camera viewer that I really realized what I had witnessed. Luckily the story had a happy ending because all the lionesses and cubs made it safely to the other bank," Dietckx said.
Unfortunately, lions continue to be killed for their fur and teeth and their survival is also threatened due to the continued destruction of their habitat, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.