Opportunist: The leopard boldly pounced on the lion cub right under the mother lion's nose and took it away

Opportunist: The leopard boldly pounced on the lion cub right under the mother lion’s nose and took it away

All this lion cub wanted was a safe place to sit while its mother went hunting for food.

Instead it became another animal’s lunch when a hungry leopard snatched the three-week-old cub and climbed a tree to devour it.

The cub’s mother had been moving her children deeper into a parched bush for safety in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, East Africa, so she could go hunting for food.

Yet instead of providing her babies with some well-earned lunch, a sneaky leopard pounced on one of the unprotected cubs left alone by their mother.

The lion cub was visibly frightened as it was taken away.

The leopard carried the cub up a tree in its in its mouth before devouring the helpless lion cub.

Canadian lawyer Scott Hyman, 54, saw the scene unfold in September and managed to capture it on camera.

He said the lioness was ‘moving her cubs deeper into the bush for safety when she [had] to leave them alone to go off and hunt.’

He added: ‘They have no hands so have to use their mouths to gently carry the cubs.’

The lawyer and keen photographer said he did not capture ‘the most brutal parts’ of the baby lion’s death.

A 160-pound leopard snatched a three-week-old lion cub that had been left alone by its mother and climbed a tree to devour it

The lion cub had been left alone by its lioness mother while she moved her other children to the safety of a nearby bush before she went hunting for food

The cub was helpless and unprotected and the perfect prey for a hungry leopard, who fancied the baby lion for dinner under the Tanzanian sun

The leopard snatched the cub in its jaws and sprinted away. It climbed up a tree before eating the young animal in the shade

The cub’s mother looked shocked with her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide when she realised what had happened to her baby

The lioness moved her other cubs into the safety of the nearby thicket to prevent another gruesome attack by the hungry leopard

 

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