By Helen Le Caplain
This is the moment a lusty lion lived up to a different sort of ‘pride’ when he pinned down his male pal in an apparent bid to mate with him – while a surly lioness looked on exasperated.
Amateur wildlife photographer Russ Bridges visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, Yorks, with his wife Mandy on August 19 when he came across the frisky felines.
The images show one of the male lions stride over to his mate, mount him and pin him down – then apparently begin mating.
The cheeky big cat even appeared to stick his tongue out at open-mouthed park visitors while on top of his friend, while a lioness was left to look on in disbelief.
Russ from Rotherham, South Yorks, said: “There are two males and female in that pride. One of the lions suddenly got up, walked over and jumped on his friend’s back.
“A fair few people were watching this going on and laughing – they were all commenting on what it looked like.
“I think it was a bit of a ‘should have gone to Specsavers’ moment as the lioness was just lying there next to them.
“In fairness though, every time a male went near her she snarled and swiped their faces with her paw.
“It’s not really unusual for them to act that way sometimes. I don’t know if it’s a dominance thing or something like that – it looks as if they are aggressive, but it’s all play between friends.”
Warehouse shift manager Russ, 42, said he’d snapped lions at the wildlife park before but it was the first time he’d seen them playing together.
Russ said: “Usually they lay asleep doing nothing when I go to photograph them, but this time they were up and about.
“My favourite shot is the one where he appears to be sticking his tongue out.
“I’ve never seen a shot of two males on top of one another with one sticking his tongue out before – it’s like he’s showing some pride in what he’s doing.
“I absolutely adore animals, I can’t even bring myself to kill a fly or a spider, and love the conservation work that the park do.”