Three lionesses pounced on a crocodile after the reptile tried to attack a cub — and a tourist caught it all on camera.

The protective females instinctively leapt into action to fend off the aggressive crocodile after it had attempted to pick off the youngster.

During the violent encounter the crocodile managed to bite one of the big cats but was soon killed by the pride.

The rare scenes were captured by Tony Goldman on a safari trip to the Duba Plains, in Botswana, with his son.

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The tourist, 58, said: "The lionesses had just killed a buffalo and suddenly a crocodile ventured about 90m out of the water towards them to snack on the meat.

"One of the smaller cubs was in the path of the crocodile and it started to advance towards the cub in a menacing fashion before trying to attack it.

"This resulted in an eruption from the three nearby lionesses who went for the croc in an organised fashion.

"I expected the croc to back off but it didn't and there was a tremendous fight. There was a commotion and dust flying everywhere before the lionesses finally overpowered the invader.

"The whole thing lasted about 15 minutes and was only witnessed by my son, our driver and myself.

"I've mentioned this experience to rangers with more than 20 years in the bush and no one has ever seen lions take down a crocodile.

"It is most certainly a very rare wildlife occurrence that we were lucky enough to see and photograph."

- PICTURE MEDIA