A South African park ranger saved a little girl from a lioness attack by shouting and throwing a coffee cup at the animal, a newspaper reported on Friday.

“I realised I would have been in a lot of trouble if anything happened to the little girl, so I decided that it would rather have to be me,” Beeld newspaper quoted ranger Franco Kubile, 32, as saying about jumping in front of the large cat.

Kubile was accompanying a group of seven tourists on a safari drive at the Madikwe reserve in the north of the country.

The tourists alighted the vehicle at a clearing, so some people could pass water under a nearby tree. The ranger stayed at the vehicle preparing coffee.

“I heard people yelling and saw a mother and her toddler daughter running away from a lioness,” the ranger recalled.

Still holding the coffee cups, the ranger jumped in front of the lioness, shouted “Stop, Stop” and threw the coffee cups at her. Eventually, she backed away.

“There’s a 50/50 chance that a lion will run away when you take it on. However, as soon as you start running it sees you as prey,” Kubile said, noting that the young girl was “certainly prey.” The ranger told Beeld that the lioness likely had her cubs in the thicket, where the guests went to relieve themselves and was protecting her young.

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