The lion is the king of a jungle but the lioness proudly asserts herself as a leader.
Images from the Mara North Conservatory in Masai Mara, Kenya have been released and they paint a tale of a proud lioness protecting her cubs from an outsider.
The lioness snapped after a male lion kept following her family as they wandered around the conservatory.
The scuffle was caught on camera by photographer Sara White from the Real Africa firm.
According to biology, male lions break away from their pack and start their own families at 36 months. However, lions on the conservatory tend to start breaking away much earlier at 18 months.
When the lion finds a mate, he kills off all of her cubs and establishes his own pride.
This particular lion was stalking two lionesses and their cubs. The lionesses tried to dodge the male but he stayed persistent. This resulted in a confrontation with one of the females biting him in the face.
Later on, the lion was spotted resting under a tree with one of the lionesses. Apparently, she gave in and allowed him to rest with her and her cubs.
Lionesses conceive at 32 months of age. Their fertility rate starts to decline at 11 years old but they can birth cubs until they are 15 years old.
During mating season a lion will locate a lioness and stalk her while she’s in heat. There isn’t much competition between lions for a mate because of the extended mating season. Lionesses have the ability to mate 100 times per day.
The gestation period for a lioness is approximately 120 days. The lioness gives birth by herself in a private lair. Typically, she gives birth to three cubs. She rejoins the pride and introduces her cubs.
Unfortunately, cubs have a high mortality rate with 50 percent dying within their first few years.