These pictures show the incredible moment a fearless lion fights off a marauding young bull elephant in a desperate bid to protect its family.
Lasting less than a minute, the two enraged males squared up to one another before charging in a potentially deadly game of chicken.
While neither animal was hurt, it showed how merciless life can be on the plains of Africa where fresh water and water holes are at a premium.
The lion first offered a warning to the elephant by letting off a loud growl as the two squared off beside a fresh watering hole
Suddenly, the bull elephant charged towards the lion and its pride – which consisted of two adult males, four adult females and ten cubs
Although the lion was forced to take some evasive measures, it successfully stood up to the lion and forced it to beat a retreat
The pair sparred for less than a minute while the rest of the lions in the pride scrambled to avoid the angry elephant
After failing to frighten the lion, the elephant gave up in its attempts to scare the lions away from the watering hole
The intense standoff took place in Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park and was captured on camera by photographer Jan Hrbacek
All of the lions, including a second male and four females, ran away from the elephant while the leader of the pride fought it off
The intense standoff took place in Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park, and was captured by Czech photographer Jan Hrbacek while he was on holiday last October.
Mr Hrbacek said: ‘The young elephant came up to the waterhole, where the pride of lions were lying. The male lions tried to chase him away, but he became angry and chased them back.’
The stand off was short lived and the elephant retreated, leaving the pride to lounge by the watering hole until dark.
The pride consisted of two adult males, four adult females and ten cubs, some of which can be seen scattering in the face of the angry elephant’s charge.
Lion territories can be very large, and the animals can be good at hiding in thick vegetation and rugged terrain, so conservationists use collars to help monitor populations.
The male lion is also wearing a radio collar, which scientists use to track their movements.
Mr Hrbacek said he was very happy but just as surprised to witness the battle.
He said: ‘The elephant was not very big, and no more than ten years old. I was very happy, as I’d never seen a confrontation like this before. I am glad I was there at the right time and at the right place – I felt like I was inside the natural world.’
The elephant originally became enraged after approaching the watering hole to find the pride of lions had already made it their home
Two lion cubs scamper away from the elephant as it attempts to usher them from the watering hole in Botswana
The bull elephant, thought to have been only a youngster, wanders off after failing to impose its dominance over the lions