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6. To Safety?

005-6-to-safety-892497The lioness picked the baby baboon up ever so softly with her teeth in the way that a cat will carry its young. The baboon, for the moment at least, was perfectly safe.

The lioness brought the baboon a little distance away from the tree and placed it gently on the ground. Then she protected the monkey with her forearms and while the baby baboon looked a little distressed from the severity of its earlier ordeal; the lioness made no move to eat the baboon or to cause it any physical harm!

But was the baboon really safe or was there something else in store?

5. The Observer…

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006-5-the-observer-892499Evan Schiller, the photographer who recorded the moment between the baby baboon and the lioness said, “The lioness picked the baby up in her mouth and I was in agony watching the baby’s ordeal. I kept on turning off the video option on my camera because it was so hard for me to record.”

Yet, despite Evan’s fears, you can see that the baboon quickly becomes confident that it will not be harmed and begins to gently nip at the lioness – a gesture of play rather than hostility. If the baboon had felt threatened it would almost certainly have tried to flee.

4. Closer And Closer

007-4-closer-and-closer-892501It seems incredible that the natural predator, the lioness, hadn’t turned on the baboon and simply swallowed him down by now.

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Instead, the baby began to cuddle the lioness tighter and tighter and a bond of trust began to form between the monkey and the big cat.

She cradled the baby between her front paws as though she understood that this was a baby and that it was her responsibility to protect him from harm.

While mix-species animal relationships are not unknown in captivity this is very unusual in the wild.

But what would happen when the other lions found the baby?

3. Dinner Time?

008-3-dinner-time-892503Lions are, as we have already said, social creatures and they travel in groups known as “prides.” The lioness’s pride soon became curious about her new found companion and came to investigate.

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Instead of surrendering the baby to the pride, the lioness quickly chased the other lions away. This is not unusual behavior in lion prides. While the male lions are the largest and most powerful cats of the pride, it is the female lions which generally run the pride, catch prey and decide how it will be distributed among the group.

The baboon had had his second lucky escape of the day.

2. A Brave Baboon

009-2-a-brave-baboon-892505During the ruckus between the lioness and the rest of her pride, a canny male adult baboon approached the scene. He’d been keeping an eye on the baby throughout, it’s possible that the baby’s mother had been his mate.

When the lions began to bicker over the baby and the lioness was chasing off the adult male lions – the male baboon leaped into action.

He scooped the baby from the grass by picking him up in his mouth and headed for the safety of the trees. The lioness’s job was complete and the baby was back among his own kind.

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