Her jaws clamped firmly around the scruff of her tiny cub’s neck, this plucky lioness is taking no chances as she tackles a risky river crossing.
As her nine-week-old youngster dangles beneath her, the mother skips gingerly between impromptu stepping stones.
These stunning images capture the heart-stopping moment the lioness braved choppy waters, clasping her little one’s nape, as she made her way to join the rest of the pride on the other side of the river.
You’re too old to be carried, Simba: The mother starts her perilous journey across the river in Kenya
Careful, Mum! I’m not a sea lion… The parent leaps across the fast-slowing river with the cub in her jaw
Cat-astrophe! I knew you’d slip: The pair splash into the water of the Ntiakitiak River
Amazingly, the cub escaped with only a sodden coat as its mother safely negotiated the fast-flowing waters of the Ntiakitiak River in Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve.
Greek photographer Kyriakos Kaziras managed to capture the moment during a trip in December.
Paul Goldstein, another photographer and owner of Kicheche Bush Camp, where Mr Kaziras was based, said: ‘Kyriakos and his guide had spent early morning with the large Enkoyanai pride.
There had been plenty of rain and the Ntiakitiak River, normally a trickle, was a swollen torrent.
Back on land and I’m feline better: The mother pads on to dry land and make her way towards her pride
I’ve got my pride: Despite being a little bit soggy, the cub made it safely across the river
‘The bulk of the pride were on the east bank and the mother had to take the momentous decision to carry her nine-week-old cub to join them.
‘The risks of such a journey were very real, particularly as the cub was at least a month older than normal “carrying age”.
‘I have photographed lions carrying cubs and seen them crossing rivers, but the combination is unique and has never been seen, let alone recorded.’