Lions are found in both Asia and Africa and are currently an endangered species thanks to the encroachment of man on their natural habitat.
Unusually for big cats, lions are also highly social animals. They travel in prides and care for their mates and offspring as part of their day-to-day lives.
This may be why, when this adult lioness found a baby baboon, that she did something completely surprising.
10. Baboons Are Big Monkeys
The baboon lives in various regions of Africa and is a ground-dwelling species rather than a tree-dwelling species like most other types of monkey.
Baboons are mostly herbivores but are completely capable of taking up an omnivorous diet. In South Africa it’s not unknown for baboons to attack and eat sheep and goats.
In general, baboons are formidable monkeys and they travel in packs. But, of course, their babies are as vulnerable as babies of any other kind…
9. The Death Of A Mother
This isn’t uncommon behavior for baboons. While they are a social species, there is no system of adoption within baboon tribes and thus when a baby is too young to care for itself and its mother dies – the baby is simply abandoned.
This baby baboon was just old enough to flee for its life up a tree when the lioness arrived. Sadly, it wasn’t fast enough.
But the baboon wasn’t fast enough. The lioness knocked it from the tree trunk and the baby baboon landed on the floor next to the tree.
Evan Schiller, the photographer, and his wife Lisa thought that the baby must be doomed and their hearts sank as the lioness circled closer and close to the baby. You can see how frightened the baboon must be here.
7. Hold On…
But instead of ripping the baboon to shreds and then devouring it, the lioness did something completely unexpected.
She gently reached out her paw and began to play with the baby. Not in the way that a cat will sometimes play with its prey before eating it but in a tender almost human way.
Then ever so carefully she leaned out and her jaws closed around the baby baboon – you won’t believe what happened next.