Motherhood isn’t easy for humans, but it’s even harder in the animal kingdom, where there are all sorts of dangers lurking behind every corner.

This tough lioness wasn’t going to let anything happen to her cubs. To combat a threat, she did something all mothers would do: she fought back.

This lioness had her work cut out for her. She needed to make sure all of her young ones made it to safety on the other side of the river.article-0-1430AEEA000005DC-595_964x661-e1442570318769

She set out first to make sure the path was clear.article-0-1430B45D000005DC-401_964x642-e1442570334449

And it’s a good thing she did, because she quickly spotted a waiting crocodile submerged in the water.article-0-1430B624000005DC-468_964x635-e1442570352842

She leapt into action, ready to do battle and protect her young ones.article-0-1430BAC9000005DC-503_964x546-e1442570369514

But the water is the crocodile’s natural element, and it caught her in mid-air.
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It grabbed onto her face with its massive jaws. All hope seemed lost at that point.

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But the lioness was miraculously able to get away.
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The lioness immediately made a break for dry land.
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She took to the shore to make sure her family was okay.article-2178290-1430E3B4000005DC-543_964x590-e1442570457706

During all of the commotion, all of the young ones made it across the river safely.article-2178290-1430EAA2000005DC-220_964x538-e1442570472157

All in a day’s work for this brave mom.article-2178290-1430E43A000005DC-498_964x683-e1442570487124

These incredible moments were captured Okavango Delta in Botswana, Africa, by Belgian wildlife photographer Pia Dierickx, who later said the clash took only a few seconds. “It was only after checking my pictures on the camera viewer that I really realized what I had witnessed.”

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