An amateur photographer from Warwickshire has captured video footage of the terrifying moment a gang of lionesses viciously attacked the male of the pride in a bid to kill him off.
VIDEO AND PICTURES: Some may find these images distressing
Heart-stopping footage captures the powerful beasts pouncing on the male and sinking their teeth into his body at West Midlands Safari Park.
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The drama was captured on camera by Kenilworth amateur photographer Mya Beverstock, 19, on Wednesday.
As she drove around the safari park with her parents at around 11.45am she noticed the group of female of lions surrounding the male before pouncing “out of the blue”.
Images taken by Mya show the male roaring in agony as up to nine females sink their razor-sharp teeth into his body leaving him with bloody cuts and bite marks.
Keepers were quickly on the scene and had to step in using fire extinguishers to break up the brutal attack.
It is unclear why the animals turned on the male but in the wild females have been known to kill an elderly male if they no longer think he is fit to rule the pride.
Mya, who works at Domino’s Pizza, said: “I decided to go to the safari park with my mum and dad to take some pictures of the lions.
“We had been sat there for a few minutes when we noticed these two male lions sitting on top a rock growling at something down below.
“We drove around a little bit and I noticed these female lionesses surrounding a male. All of a sudden they just pounced.
“They were biting at his back legs and his neck and pinning him to the ground, it looked really vicious and you can see in his eyes he thought he was going to die.
“Within a flash, safari jeeps were there surrounding the lionesses. There were three vehicles, one was honking its horn while another sprayed an extinguisher.
“There could be any number of reasons why they were attacking him. It could be that they thought he was too old to be their leader or it could have been over food.
“He could have tried it on with one of the females, who knows, but they looked angry and pounced as if they are going in for the kill.
“It was incredible to watch the king of the jungle looking so vulnerable. In the photos you can see him almost pleading for help.
“He had bite marks and cuts on his back legs, he was pretty messed up. Its something you’d be lucky to see in Kenya, yet alone a British safari park.
“You could see car windows going up and almost hear doors locking as it happened, it was just really intense to watch and listen to the roars.
“We went back around later in the day and the females were nowhere to be seen. So they must have ushered them all indoors to protect the three males.
“It was quite an experience which really took your breath away. I never expected to see anything like that. You could see the terror in his eyes.”