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Lioness spares a baboon and snuggles gently after killing her mother


In a game park in Bᴏᴛsᴡᴀɴᴀ, a Connecticut photographer captured an exciting encounter between a young baboon and a 350-pound lioness. The breathtaking images capture the baboon’s mother being slain and the infant being left alone with the howling predator. But instead of gobbling up the tiny critter, the large cat tenderly plays along as the young baboon tries to nurse the lioness.

The breathtaking pictures were taken by professional photographer Evan Schiller in November while he and his wife Lisa Holzwarth were on a game drive in northern Bᴏᴛsᴡᴀɴᴀ’s Selinda Camp. The lionesses had been keeping an eye on a leopard when a large troop of baboons, a fierce opponent of the leopard, burst through the underbrush while creating a commotion.

Then two sizable lionesses appeared from the dense ɢʀᴀss and charged toward the baboons. Two additional lionesses quickly joined them. It was a chaotic sᴄᴇɴᴇ with the baboons screaming and the lionesses roaring loud guttural sounds. The lionesses were also tearing at the trees, making the baboons even more ғʀɪɢʜᴛᴇɴed. Three baboons immediately tried to “make a run for it” to another set of trees. Two made it safely, but a third was caught in a lioness’s mouth.

A little baby (less than a month old) slowly disengaged from its mother’s lifeless body while the third baboon lay dying on the ground. Despite its young age, the infant baboon instinctively tried to find protection in a tree after fleeing the danger. Unfortunately, although it had a decent instinct, it still lacked agility and speed.


The lionesses then caught sight of the young baboon. They avoided going in for the ᴋɪʟʟ, though. As a result, one of the lionesses started playing “cat and mouse” with the youngster because they were so enthralled. The infant was crying and kicking the lioness in the snout while leaping up and down. Every time the little animal appeared to make some progress in its vertical attempt to flee, the lioness would gently knock it off the tree trunk.

Finally, the lioness gently, without smothering it, took the baby baboon into its mouth and set it down on the ground in front of her. The infant again clung to the lioness’ chest out of pure instinct and tried to nurse. The lioness first let the infant “suckle” for a bit before picking it back up in her jaws.

Then two male lions caused the lionesses to become distracted. This gave the baboon’s father the chance to save the defenseless baby. The big male baboon, who had been attempting unsuccessfully to save the baby all along, was suddenly able to climb down the tree, retrieve the infant, and then climb back up for safety while the lionesses were occupied fending off the brothers’ amorous approaches.


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