By Mike Jones
This little lion cub was firmly told to ‘push off’ by a male that clearly did not want to play – and he could not find any friends his own age either.
The adult gave the cheeky youngster a firm shove with his paw to send him sprawling after the cub tried to attack his hind leg.
He also viciously snarled at the little one to let him know he was in absolutely no mood to play.
Eventually the rejected cub ran off to play with its siblings, who were also too busy wrestling with each other to care about their brother and growled at him to back off.
Finally mum stepped in to give him a quick lick, before going off to look out for her other cubs and leaving him sat alone, staring into the distance.
The scene was captured by photographer Victoria Coombe, 40, from Buckinghamshire.
Victoria said: “A playful lion cub was trying to interact with a large male lion only to be snarled at. He clearly did not want to play.
“So the cub wandered off to its two siblings and had a bit of a wrestle with them until he got bored and went over to the male again.
“This time he tried to jump on the male’s back leg only to receive a bigger telling off than before.
“He whipped round and used his paw on the cub’s head to send him rolling sprawling on his back.
“At that point the lioness seemed to step in and strolled over to all three cubs whilst the male watches in the background.
“After a few more minutes of the cubs playing she decides that it’s bath time and gives them all a wash.
“The social interaction between lions in a pride is what makes them so wonderful and interesting to watch.
“Play fighting amongst lions can look fierce at times, but it is integral to their survival, because it’s through this wrestling and fighting that the youngsters learn and develop their hunting skills which they will later rely on to survive.”
Victoria has been interested in African wildlife every since childhood and began photographing animals on safari over 10 years ago.
She said: “I have always liked animals and from as far back as I can remember I have loved lions.
“I was given the story of Born Free on a tape cassette when I was a child and after hearing about Elsa the lioness I was totally hooked with thoughts of Africa and lions.
“Over the years I watched hundreds of nature shows, read books about lions and wildlife and eventually in my 20’s I plucked up the courage to head off on my first photographic safari to the Masai Mara Game Reserve.
“Over the last 10 years my photographic skills and knowledge increased and I have found myself travelling to Africa and other wildlife locations as often as time and money allows me.”