Skip to comments.The lioness and the antelope
Posted on 01/08/2002 3:35:05 AM PST by 2sheep
Nairobi: A broody lioness has baffled wildlife experts in Kenya by adopting an oryx calf - usually a lion's cherished delicacy.
Tourists at the Samburu game reserve in the country's Northern Frontier District witnessed the rare spectacle of a frail brown antelope, still unsteady on its feet, walking side by side or lying curled up under the belly of its adoptive mother.
The lioness even warned off a leopard that had been stalking the young prey.
The lioness had apparently chased away the oryx's natural mother, according to wardens in the park.
Cases of lionesses showing maternal affection for young animals that they would normally see as prey are not unprecedented, according to experts.
Instances of animals nurturing different species were rare, but only because the opportunity did not present itself often, the Briish animal charity the RSPCA said. Helen Briggs, a spokesman, said: "According to our wildlife experts, the maternal instinct of the lioness would have taken over in this case. "It would have been triggered by the smell of the young oryx and the sounds it made which can be very similar in many animals.
"Cross-nurturing occurs in all sorts of animals. It is only uncommon because it does not arise that often."
Vincent Kapeen, a nature expert, said that the lioness may have adopted the calf because it had lost the company of its pride and was feeling lonely. "What is baffling is why the relationship lasted so long," he added.
Tragedy struck when the lioness, weakened by a lack of food after a fortnight protecting the baby, led the oryx to the river to drink. "By bad luck, a male lion was somewhere behind the bushes," said Patrick Muriungi, who works at the reserve.
"When the lioness went to take a nap, the baby oryx was playing around and it was caught by the lion and killed. The lioness was very angry. She went around the lion about 10 times roaring, and then disappeared. "Then the lion took the carcass and ate half of it. The lioness has not been seen since."
Daphne Sheldrick, a conservationist based in Kenya who is renowned for caring for orphaned young animals, said motherly instinct prevailed on the part of the lioness. "This is not unprecedented. It does happen, but it is quite unusual," she said. "Lions, like all other species, including human beings, have this kind of feelings for babies. This one, I think, felt sorry for this baby.
"However, the story could only have had this kind of bad ending."
I had hoped that Heaven was going to be VERY near, but, alas, the poor baby got consumed.
OK, I can go with that analysis.
Seriously... a nice story.
(Visions Beyond The Veil by H. A. Baker is an important and interesting book that reveals many formerly hidden spiritual truths that every Christian believer should be aware of. The book will serve to encourage you, as you discover the many spiritual truths that God chose to reveal to a group of poor Chinese beggar children at an orphanage in China in the 1920s. Some of the insightful topics it covers include: Heaven, Paradise, Eternity, judgment, angels and demons, and what is going on in the spiritual world around us. The book is must reading for everyone. It will help you understand how much God loves us, and how much He wants us to spend eternity with Him in the wonderful place that He has prepared for us.)
(H. A. Baker was a missionary to China operating an orphanage in the Yunnan Province beginning in the early 1920s. The visions that a group of the Chinese beggar children from his orphanage had, after a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, fill the pages of this wonderful book, Visions Beyond The Veil. Mr. Baker purposefully did not copyright the original book so that it would live on and bless generations to come.)
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