Horrifying pictures of an adult sea lion taking its frustration out on a cub seal in South America have gone viral.
The images were taken by photographer Pablo Cersosimo in Peninsula Valdes, Argentinian Patagonia, during the mating season for the South American sea lion, British news agency SWNS reports.
Cersosimo, who manages Wild South Photography in Buenos Aires, Argentina, said the scenario is not uncommon during the mating season for these mammals.
“These images show a sub-adult South American sea lion kidnapping a recently born pup," Cersosimo said. "During the mating season, it's usual to see subadults having this behavior due to the frustration of not being able to fight against the big adult bulls for the females."
Cersosimo, 52, said he was "amazed" at the difficult lives these creatures lead, almost as soon as they are born.
"They first need to survive their own species to have a chance," Cersosimo added. "These animals face difficult situations since they are recently born pups and as a wildlife photographer, they earned all my admiration and respect."
Despite the unfortunate incident, Cersosimo said he was "lucky to be in the right place at the right moment," adding he was "grateful like always when I'm working doing what I love.”
The sea lion pup managed to survive the encounter.
South American sea lions, which live for around 20 years, vary in size, according to MarineBio.org. Males can reach up to 8.5 feet in length and weigh as much as 660 pounds, while females can reach around 6 feet in length and weigh roughly half the weight of males.
Males also have lighter manes than females, though females have lighter fur on their heads and necks.
The mammals were hunted "extensively" in the 19th and 20th centuries and are "endangered," according to the World Wildlife Fund.