The wild is an unforgiving place, as proved when a photographer captured the moment a "helpless" baby monkey clung on to its dead mother as it hung out of the mouth of a hungry 400-pound lion.
Photographic safari guide Hendri Venter, 60, from South Africa captured the images in the country’s Zimanga Private Game Reserve from just 65-foot away.
In the space of less than one minute, the hungry lion had both caught and devoured the unfortunate mother monkey, whilst another lion from the pride snatched and took care of the baby.
In one image, the tiny one-pound baby monkey stared forlornly down the camera lens as it gripped onto what remained of its mother's blood-soaked body, both carried by the lion.
Another picture shows a second lion attempting to join in on the action sending the baby monkey tumbling off its mother before it too met its untimely end.
"As a safari guide, I’ve seen many cruel wildlife encounters, but this tops them all by far," Hendri said.
"I was on a game drive with guests following a pride of seven lions when I noticed one of the males chasing something into the shrub.
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"He turned around and I instantly noticed the monkey. I quickly grabbed the camera.
"It definitely stirs up emotions seeing a helpless baby cling on to the lifeless body of its mother when there is nothing you can do to help.
"One of the lion’s younger brothers also wanted a piece and eventually got hold of the baby which he then killed and ate.
"Nature – as wonderful and incredible as it can be – can also be frightful, even bordering on atrocious but this is the reality of it.
"Life and death play out in all of our lives. It’s never easy."
For the most part, the pride’s females hunt for food whilst males protect the young and the pride’s territory, but males are certainly capable of catching their own food if need be.
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