many people have even suggested that the idea of “motherly instinct” also occurs in the animal kingdom. A motherly instinct is the idea that a mother instinctively knows what her baby needs.this story is the perfect example of this, because when this lioness finds a baby baboon, she does something absolutely incredible…
A mother’s love
Although we’ve come to the conclusion that love is all around us in the human world, it seems that nothing comes close to the love mothers have for their babies in the wild. With so many predators and threats to contend with, it’s down to the mothers to ensure that their young are as healthy as they can be. They often sacrifice their own dinner so that their young can eat, they stay up all night to watch for predators in the dark, and they carry their babies until they are ready to go out into the wild. However, there are some instances where it is impossible for a mother to keep a hold of her young, and when a lioness finds a lonely baby baboon, nobody expected her response…
A love for lions
This astonishing exchange was caught on camera by a couple called Evan Schiller and Lisa Holzwarth during one of their many expeditions in Africa. At the time, the couple were exploring what the country of Botswana had to offer in terms of its nature and its animal world – but it’s fair to say that they were specifically interested in one animal. As keen lovers of big cats, the couple had even created their own organization together. The LEO Chronicles helped to raise awareness for big cats who were in danger of extinction. For this project, they would often travel to Africa to take photographs of these incredible creatures.
An amazing experience
During one specific expedition, Evan and Lisa had embarked on a 16-day trip that took them around the country of Botswana so that they could photograph big cats along the way. They were taken around some of the most incredible landscapes by their local guide, who was full of knowledge and information about the big cats they were hoping to see. Although they were prepared to see great things across the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve, they weren’t expecting to see the exchange between the lioness and the baby baboon…
Causing a ruckus
During their trip, the couple were photographing the local wildlife in the reserve when they noticed there was a ruckus nearby. As they stood watching hyenas and leopards from afar, they were quickly swarmed by a large group of 30-40 baboons. The screaming apes seemed to be running away from something in a panic, as they were screeching and running for their lives. No matter how hard they tried, Evan and Lisa could not see what the commotion was all about. At least, not until the situation unfolded even more.
Retreating to a safe distance
Both Evan and Lisa seemed to be stuck in the mud as they watched the baboons run past them, as they couldn’t move from the spot that they were in. So, they simply stood where they were and watched the baboons retreat to a safe distance and hide within the trees. As they wondered between them why the baboons had become so irate, the answer became too clear. Soon, they were surrounded by another group of animals who definitely weren’t as friendly as the primates…
The women of the herd
As Lisa and Evan looked around to see what could have caused the baboons to shriek so loudly, they saw the tell-tale coats of fierce lionesses. To start with, only two lionesses made their way out of the grass and after the baboons, but they were soon being followed by even more cats who were set on chasing their prey. The couple was absolutely astounded at the scene that was unfolding before their very eyes, and couldn’t believe they were witnessing a showdown between a herd of lionesses and a herd of baboons.
Safe in the trees
Thankfully, the baboons had been able to climb trees away from the lionesses, and they thought they were safe. However, their plans were soon thwarted when the big cats started to claw their way through the trees – making them extremely weak and wobbly. Three baboons made the decision to change course and ultimately tried to remove themselves from the trees and run away from their predators. Sadly, only two baboons managed to make it safely across the lioness-infested tundra. The other was left in the clutches of the cats.
An extra addition
Lisa and Evan watched as the baboon was taken away from safety and watched as she met an untimely end. Yet, as they looked more closely, they realized that the baboon was not the only animal hanging from the lionesses mouth. Hanging to her mother’s stomach was a tiny baby baboon, who looked no older than one month old at the time. Before too long, the baby realized what had happened to its mother, and started to become extremely distressed with no one around for care and company. It was all alone.
Not the only one who noticed
However, it seemed as though Evan and Lisa weren’t the only ones who had noticed the little one clutched to the baboon’s belly. Although the baby had tried to retreat to safety up another tree, it did not have the strength or the ability to do so. It was stuck. During its attempts, the lioness who was responsible for its mother’s death noticed the baby baboon – and stared at it with a confused look on its face. In fact, it seemed that the lioness had never seen a baby baboon before.
Playing with its prey
As the lioness got over its confusion, Lisa and Evan were convinced that she would want to eat the baby. No matter how hard the baboon tried to scream and run away, it seemed as if the lioness was playing with its prey. She would knock him down from the tree, she would push him about, and she would even jump at it to scare it. The couple knew it was just a matter of time before the lioness ate the baboon. Little did they know something extraordinary was about to happen…
A change in tone
After a few minutes of playing an intense game of baboon-and-lion with the baby, the lion seemed to become bored of their to-ing and fro-ing. So, she grabbed the baby by her mouth and placed it down onto the floor below her. The baboon was directly below her mouth, and Lisa and Evan were prepared to turn away from the scene before them because they knew it would be upsetting. They knew that she would just have to open her mouth, and that baboon would be gone forever.
An unwelcome visitor
Yet, the lioness didn’t get the chance to eat the baby baboon straight away, because she was soon visited by an unwelcome addition to the group. After realizing that one of his own had been killed and that a baby was left to its own devices, the leader of the baboon tribe had tried to distract the lioness to allow the baby’s father to reclaim his child. Although the baboon father was desperately trying to sneak his way through trees to secretly grab his baby, his attempts just weren’t working.
The unusual scene
As the father tried desperately to help his baby escape the clutches of the lioness, Evan and Lisa were greeted with an unusual scene that would change the course of their whole expedition. Rather than screaming out of fear, the baboon baby had calmed down, and was now clutching onto the chest of the lioness! The couple was sure that the baboon had instinctively clutched onto the warmth and the comfort of her fur, and felt incredibly safe. But the story wasn’t over just yet…
Even more comfortable
Evan and Lisa couldn’t get over the scene in front of them. After killing an adult baboon, the lioness had allowed the baby to clutch at her chest – but that was just the start. After a few minutes of warmth, the baboon took its comfort to new levels, when it started to suckle on the chest of the lioness. What was even more impressive was the fact that this 350-pound lioness was being so calm and gentle with the tiny baboon. It was no longer the prey.
Picking the baboon up
The lioness allowed the baby baboon to suckle at her chest for many minutes, and Evan and Lisa watched the whole ordeal from just a few hundred meters away. Although they were impressed that the lioness had comforted the baby, they were still a little uneasy. This discomfort became even more apparent when they realized that the lioness had got bored of the baboon suckling, and had decided to move on from their location. So, the lioness picked the baboon in her mouth and started to walk away…
A few more visitors
As the lioness walked away from the scene and into the bush further, she was soon approached by a few more visitors. A group of male lions had made their way into the clearing and were hoping to mate with her – but she wasn’t interested. She set down the baby baboon and tried to ward off the male lions with all of her might. However, what she didn’t realize was that this was the worst move she could possibly make, as another visitor was waiting in the wings, ready to pounce.
Daddy to the rescue
Waiting for a moment to strike, the baboon’s father took the opportunity to take his child back from the clutches of the lion. As soon as he grabbed his child, he placed it between its mouth and ran quickly to safety. However, there was only one way to go in the barren landscape – and the father and baby soon found themselves up another tree, trying to escape the clutches of the lioness. As the sun beat down on the pair, Lisa and Evan knew that they couldn’t last long up in the tree.
Making the final move
After realizing his own mistake, the baboon father knew that he had to move from the tree and to real safety away from the lionesses. So, he held his baby “in all sorts of contorted positions” and made his descent down the tree. In fact, he tried this multiple times but found his path blocked by the lionesses. Eventually, the lionesses skulked off away from the blazing heat to find water, which left an open gap for the baboon and his baby. They were free, at last!
In real harm?
Evan and Lisa couldn’t’ believe that they had witnessed such an event right before their very eyes, and they knew that they would remember that moment for the rest of their lives. However, they had a big decision to make – was the baboon in real harm? On the one hand, the lioness showed real signs of aggression during its hunt for dinner and in the killing of the baboon’s mother, but she had also shown real compassion after she realized the baby was there. Would she have killed the baby, too?
An end to their story
Evan and Lisa eventually had to say goodbye to their expedition in Botswana but knew that their experience on the reserve would stay with them forever. Although they didn’t know whether the baby baboon survived the whole ordeal and is still alive today, they were happy to see the lioness showed compassion to such a weak and vulnerable baby – even one that wasn’t her own. They wondered whether this was proof of a motherly instinct, or whether this was just a random act of kindness within the animal kingdom.