'It's unprecedented': Lion nursing baby leopard captured on camera
17 July, 2017, 12:20
The five-year-old lioness, called Nosikitok was reclining on the grass and nursing a leopard cub, thought to be no more than three-weeks-old.
A lioness has been spotted suckling a leopard cub for the first time.
If the leopard does somehow manage to survive long enough without its mother's help - typically the cubs need care for about 12 to 18 months - the feline will probably set out on its own. In captivity, predators may bond with other meat-eating species, but in the wild, the gloves are always off as they compete for prey.
The photos were taken on Tuesday by a guest at the lodge Joop Van Der Linde.
Like this adorable leopard cub they are around two to three weeks old.
An incredible image of a wild baby leopard drinking milk from a lioness at Serengiti in Tanzania has emerged, leaving everyone spellbound.
"It is quite possible she has lost her own cubs, and found the leopard cub in her bereaved state when she would be particularly vulnerable", he said.
Dr Luke Hunter, president and chief conservation officer for Panthera, a global wild cat nonprofit, received the photo in an email recently and his "jaw just dropped". If Nosikitok's maternal instincts override her natural impulse to kill the leopard, she will have to bring it back to her den-where her hungry cubs, if they are still alive, will be waiting.
However, the baby leopard's road will be hard, because even if the lioness accepts the baby as her own, it is unlikely the rest of her pride will do the same.
However, after about eight weeks, lionesses bring their cubs to the pride, and then raise them communally with the other adults. "She's encountered this little cub, and she's treated it as her own". The leopard cub's future prospects look bleak, according to Hunter. Her survival-and that of other lions in the region-is no doubt due to the efforts carried out by KopeLion's team, who previous year prevented 26 lion hunts, including those targeting the Masek pride, to which Nosikitok belongs. "It is very unlikely that the lioness' pride will accept it".
"This is a truly unique case", Dr. Hunter said. "I am sure it would go its own way".
At this point, it's pretty likely that the rest of the lions-possessing neither the lionesses maternal hormones nor whatever connection she may have developed while nursing the cub-would kill the leopard on sight.
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