The once-in-a-lifetime moment when cameras captured a brave lioness defending a helpless fox from a predatory male lion in a touching display of compassion in Animal Kingdom‎

The once-in-a-lifetime moment when cameras captured a brave lioness defending a helpless fox from a predatory male lion in a touching display of compassion in Animal Kingdom‎

A feisty fox left a pride of lions with their tails between they legs after a battle on an African game reserve – and even managed to bite a lioness on the nose.

The tiny animal held his own as it defended itself on a path in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.

And these pictures, taken by South African wildlife photographer Graham Dyer, show exactly how strong its resolve was.

The fox was seen struggling to move after being attacked by a member of the pride – and as the lions closed in, the cunning creature proved it wasn’t going down without a fight.

Face to face: The small fox and the much larger lioness face off on a path in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana

Fight cub! The tiny creature holds his own among the pride of lions, where even the tiny lion cubs are baring their teeth

Hear me roar: The small creature was seen struggling to move after being injured by the lion, but still managed to bite her on the nose

Mr Dyer, 47,  from Johannesburg, took the images last month.

He said: ‘When we got there the lead lioness had caught a bat-eared fox and had evidently injured its spine as it couldn’t stand on its hind legs.

‘The lioness had received a bite to her nose for the trouble.

‘The plucky fox was alarm-calling and snarling at the lions for the first five to six minutes but then, later, only when a lion approached.

‘Suddenly, all the lions heard what sounded like other lions fighting over food in the distance, they paused for a second and then all quickly ran off in that direction.’

Lion versus lion: The lioness is seen lunging at the male as the fox, who appeared to be unable to use its hind legs, looks on

I’m not afraid! The fox shows its resolve despite the large male lion towering high above it in the Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

What are you looking at? The lioness appears distracted as she approaches the fox – after injuring the small creature’s spine and legs

Feirce and feisty: Despite being outnumbered, the fox shows ferocity in the face of danger and snarled at the lions for several minutes

Not backing down: Graham Dyer, from Johannesburg, who took the images last month, says the fox snarled whenever a lion approched

Dinner time! Mr Dyer added all the lions suddenly sped off into the distance after hearing what sounded like others fighting over food

Go away! ‘The plucky fox was alarm-calling and snarling at the lions for the first five to six minutes,’ said the photographer

Shall we call a truce? After an intense standoff, the fox and the lioness appeared comfortable in each other’s company

Staying away: A tiny cub stays close to an adult lion in the extensive national park in the Kalahari desert of Botswana

Chilled out: The lions were seen relaxing in the presence of the injured fox, whose spine was injured by a member of the pride

Off we go: The big cats quickly ran off and left the fox after hearing the sounds of other lions during a hunt in the distance

Let’s go now, kids: A male lion approaches two small lion cubs in Kalahari, which is the second largest game reserve in the world

King of the jungle: A large male lion is seen resting by the roadside in Botswana’s Kalahari Game Reserve

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