Recently, on January 1, in Kruger National Park, South Africa, a strange incident occurred: a baboon was carrying a small lion up a tall tree. These images were captured by Kurt Safari tour operator Kurt Schultz. The male baboon holds the lion cub and climbs the tree as if it were his cub.
As Schultz passed a group of baboons, he noticed that they seemed to be very excited. His crew was also watching the monkeys and noticed the silhouette of a lion cub inside. Taking a closer look, they discovered that a monkey was carrying the lion. At first, everyone thought the lion was dead, but when the baboon crossed the road, climbed a tree, and began grooming the animal, they knew the lion was still alive.
Baboons steal lion cubs while their mother hunts
According to IFLScience , baboons are members of the largest family of primates, the Old World monkeys, and they are all very large. Baboons can be very aggressive when defending their territory. However, it is not common for baboons to kill the young of large animals such as big cats or the young of other members of the pride. And his behavior is unusual.
when baboon hugs tree
“During my 20 years as a guide in southern and eastern Africa and 20 years here in Kruger, I have seen baboons attack and destroy leopard cubs and have heard of baboons killing their own cubs. lions, but I have never seen them take care of their cubs like that.” – He says in Schultz’s email to IFLScience.
Like all primates, baboons groom each other, although the cause is different in each species. According to Schultz, “The male baboon cares for her cub as a mother would care for her cub.” However, this did not seem to be a pleasant experience for the lion.
seems that the lion will not be able to survive
“The animal appeared to be exhausted, although it was not visible to the naked eye, it seemed to have suffered internal trauma. Baboons are a healthy species, the lion may have suffered trauma. When the monkeys get excited, they compete for it at first.” Schultz said.
Although the age of the lion has not been determined, it is known that the area where the incident occurred is a place where lions or leopards hide their cubs, between hills or large rock holes when they are hunting. Because of this, the young can become hungry, thirsty, and even injured, with a small chance of being saved when they are taken away. Despite being preyed upon by leopards, baboons have large fangs, 5cm longer than lions, meaning they are fully capable of fighting off adult leopards.
similar to this legendary movie scene, natural life in real life is not so easy.
We may often see animals of different species becoming best friends in captivity, but this sighting is really rare in the natural world. And the lion probably won’t live long. Schultz was saddened to witness this incident, but had to admit that:
“Nature works in its own way and we cannot interfere. Our job is to keep Kruger in its place.”