Last month, Kathy Long was on safari in South Africa’s Mala Mala Private Game Reserve when she witnessed an incredible scene; an adult male lion attempting to kill a malnourished sub-adult female.

Erin Long, who wrote about the experience on Africa Geographic’s blog, says that they came upon three lions; a female, her cub, and a sub-adult female sleeping in the morning sun. As they watched, a male lion approached. He seemed to be stalking the sleeping females. Once she become aware of the approaching danger, the sub-adult female adopted a submissive pose, her body flattened to the ground, and refused to make eye contact. The male launched a vicious assault anyway. The young female, though tiny by comparison, put up a fierce fight.

According to the guide, the sub-adult female’s father was once the dominant lion in the area. The male that attacked her was part of the new coalition of males that had taken over.  Apparently, the female is too young to breed and is of no use to the males. You can watch a video of the battle below and get the full story, along with some great photos, here.