Skip to comments.Lion and Lamb lie down together in Kenya! (my title)
Posted on 01/07/2002 7:58:22 AM PST by Sabertooth
Monday, January 7, 2002
By MUGUMO MUNENE
A lioness has struck up friendship with an Oryx calf, escorting and protecting it around a Kenyan wildlife reserve, in a spectacle which has puzzled wildlife experts.
The full grown lioness has been roaming Samburu game reserve in the company of a Beisa Oryx calf, which it would ordinarily have killed for a meal.
Tourists and game workers have watched in disbelief as the lioness and the frail brown baby oryx walk side by side and lie down to rest with all the intimacy of a mother and calf at the foot of Koitogor hills, near the Serena Samburu.
The lioness has been protecting the calf from other predators and at times walks watchfully behind it as it would with its own cubs.
Game workers have witnessed the lioness frighten off a leopard which had been stalking the calf.
A Nation team which followed the pair for two days saw the lioness lie down to rest in the hot afternoon sun and the oryx curl up casually beside it.
At one point, the lioness went hunting and returned shortly afterwards to keep watch on the grazing calf.
"It's incredible. This is either an extraordinary case of maternal instinct or simply the eighth wonder of the world," remarked Serena Samburu's Herman Mwasaghua, one of the first to spot the unusual pair.
No two animals could be more different in behaviour and feeding habits.
Lions are voracious carnivores and commonly prey on browsers like antelopes, water bucks and zebras. The oryx is a gentle herbivore which survives on grass and leaves and spends much of its time dodging predators such as Big Cats, mainly by its speed.
The lioness sleeps for upto 16 hours a day and is active for only eight while the oryx spends 65 per cent of its time browsing. Lions rely largely on their sight while oryx survives by its sharp sense of smell.
Yet the Samburu pair have stuck together for close to 15 days, wandering in the wild in easy friendship.
The lioness is said to have taken over the calf when it frightened off its mother at birth. The two animals appeared to be badly starved in the early days of their friendship but soon settled to their separate feeding routines. Serena nature expert Vincent Kapeen thinks the lioness spared the calf when its mother fled "because all animals have a special instinct to care for the young."
It took a liking to to the calf, possibly because a baby oryx has the same brown colour as a lion cub at the time of birth and just before maturity.
"The lioness became fond of the calf, maybe because it had lost the company of its pride and was feeling lonely. What is baffling is why the relationship has lasted so long," said Mr Kapeen.
"We don't know what will happen when the oryx grows horns, if they will still stay together."
Samburu County Council rangers have ruled out separating the two, preferring to let nature take its course. Yesterday, a grown oryx watched apprehensively from a distance as the lioness and the baby oryx walked together.
The spectacle has attracted a growing stream of nature lovers, tourists and Samburu villagers.
The oryx is a big antelope with beautiful black and white marks on its head. There are two other varieties, the fringed eared oryx and the Gemsbok. Both sexes have long, almost straight horns, the females being more slender.
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Yet another sign of the Apocalypse.
Lions like this give large predatory cats a bad name.
Yes, both big cats are "signs of the times." ( :
Thanks so much for posting this story. I hope we get updates.
If a stranger or my wife gets close to them she threatens them, growls, shows fangs, etc.), she allows me to pick them up but is very uncomfortable when I do.
She seems very frustrated because they refuse to nurse. If my wife tries to hide them from her she sniffs them out and piles them up again. There is no doubt she thinks they are puppies.
Maybe lions have this condition, also? Regards, Howie
Run that by me again. Don't quite get it.
[Paul Leyhausen] once had a wild cat named Tilly, whose diet included live rats. One of them managed to escape being caught by hiding under the cat's sleeping box. From there it made forays into the cage, nipping at Tilly's heels in a most unsettling manner. (Rats aren't supposed to be aggressors.) Finally, Tilly decided it was a "pet" rat and not a "food" rat, and gave it the run of the cage. She went about her daily business of killing food rats without ever mistaking her pet rat for one of them. In fact, the two of them came in time to eat fresh-killed rats together.
Tilly never struck at or bit her pet rat, even when it snatched food away from her, and eventually it moved from under her sleeping box into her sleeping box. Tilly slept holding it to her breast with her fore paws. This idyllic comradeship lasted four months, at the end of which Leyhausen took the rat away from her. Three months later, he returned it to her cage. Tilly showed no sign of recognition, and started after it. It had turned into a "food" rat. The rat, too big now to hide under the cat's sleeping box, jumped into its one-time refuge. But the appeal to auld lang syne was fruitless: Tilly leaped into the box and killed and ate her former friend.
-- Muriel Beadle, The Cat.
Note to the oryx: Stay close by. Forever.
Some people just don't know the right buttons to push.
And people ask me why they call you mercy.
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!
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