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Don't worry, deer... I won't bite! And you can spring bok to your family when you’ve finished lion around with me

You might be forgiven for thinking this lioness is just playing with her food.
But these remarkable photographs capture the powerful beast caring for a young springbok as if it were her own offspring.

For although the antelope species are her natural prey, this grieving lioness adopted the calf after her own cubs were killed by a rival male lion.

Photographer Gordon Donovan recorded the extraordinary scenes of her tenderly cradling the antelope, licking it clean and shielding it from danger.

She even protected the bok from a pair of pregnant lions who approached in search of food at Etosha National Park in Namibia.

Photographer Mr Donovan, from New York, said: ‘It was a bizarre yet stunning sight to behold. I was excited about the lions, and when she captured the springbok I was waiting for the kill.

‘But it never came and started cleaning the calf. That’s the mysterious way of nature, never knowing what will happen next.

‘Then she protected her adopted springbok cub from the other lions. These are the moments I seek when I go to Africa.’

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