Amazing moment that lioness ‘shows love’ for wildebeest calf and leads it back to its herd

When a Mother’s Love Is Stronger Than Predatory Instincts: Amazing Moment That Lioness ‘Shows Love’ For Wildebeest Calf And Leads It Back To Its Herd

  • Incredible footage has surfaced of a lioness tending to a lone wildebeest calf
  • Tanzania National Parks official Twitter account posted the video Monday
  • The lioness led the baby animal across the plains of the Serengeti
  • Wildebeests are among the prey most often targeted by lions
  • There are only a handful of documented cases of lionesses displaying such unusual behaviour



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Amazing images have surfaced of a lioness appearing to lead a lone wildebeest calf back to its flock in what one wildlife official has described as “an act of love.”

The Tanzania National Parks official Twitter account posted the video Monday showing a lioness walking side by side with a brave wildebeest calf half her size as she escorted the baby animal back to safety in the Serengeti National Park.

Such behavior is highly unusual and has led Pascal Shelutete, the spokesman for the Tanzania National Parks Authority, to tell the BBC that the lioness’ maternal instincts must have overcome her natural predatory instincts.

Lions are “generalistic hypercarnivores,” meaning that the vast majority of their diet consists of meat and is not limited to one species or type of animal.

However, zebras and wildebeest are among the prey most frequently attacked by lions, as they are slower and easier to catch than animals such as antelopes and gazelles, but less dangerous than buffalo.

Healthy adult lions should consume between 11-16 pounds of meat per day on average, and since it’s rare for lions to enjoy successful hunts in the wild on a daily basis, it’s highly unusual to see one of the world’s greatest hunters pass up an opportunity for an easy meal.

First, the wildebeest calf is depicted next to the fearsome lioness as she leads the delicate prey animal across the plains

First, the wildebeest calf is depicted next to the fearsome lioness as she leads the delicate prey animal across the plains

The lion then steps in front and the wildebeest obediently follows her as if the lioness were its own mother

The lion then steps in front and the wildebeest obediently follows her as if the lioness were its own mother

The lion then steps in front and the wildebeest obediently follows her as if the lioness were its own mother

Amazingly, this isn’t the first time a lioness has been known to protect and nurture an animal that she would normally kill without giving it a second thought.

Footage published by the Smithsonian Channel as part of the 2015 documentary ‘Surviving the Serengeti’ shows a baby wildebeest, born minutes earlier but separated from its mother, coming face to face ​with an adult lioness hunting.

In a miraculous turn of events, just as the lioness is poised to kill, she stops and lets the wildebeest sniff her.

Moments later, the lioness is depicted rolling around with the wildebeest, allowing the calf to snuggle next to her warm body as if it were her own offspring, before releasing the newborn animal and letting it gallop to meet its mother.

Footage published by the Smithsonian Channel as part of the 2015 documentary 'Surviving the Serengeti' showed an equally confusing moment when a lioness allowed a newborn wildebeest calf to snuggle next to her warm body before galloping to meet its mother.

Footage published by the Smithsonian Channel as part of the 2015 documentary 'Surviving the Serengeti' showed an equally confusing moment when a lioness allowed a newborn wildebeest calf to snuggle next to her warm body before galloping to meet its mother.

Footage published by the Smithsonian Channel as part of the 2015 documentary ‘Surviving the Serengeti’ showed an equally confusing moment when a lioness allowed a newborn wildebeest calf to snuggle next to her warm body before galloping to meet its mother.

Meanwhile, gamekeepers in a Kenyan national park were stunned in 2002 when a lioness adopted not one, but two prey animals in as many months.

Guards at Samburu National Park said the lioness took a baby antelope under her wing in January 2002, before encountering another calf a few weeks later.

Rather than immediately tearing into the delicate animal, the lioness led the baby into the shade of an acacia tree, where she began to nurse him and later protected him from other lions.

When the lioness adopted the first calf, behavioral experts concluded that she must have mistaken it for a stray lion cub.

Lions are “generalistic hypercarnivores,” meaning that the vast majority of their diet consists of meat and is not limited to one species or type of animal. However, zebras and wildebeest are among the prey most frequently attacked by lions, as they are slower and easier to catch than animals such as antelopes and gazelles, but less dangerous than buffalo (Pictured: A lioness tries to subdue an unlucky wildebeest in Nxai Pan National Park, Botswana, 2019)

But in February, the lioness even allowed the real mother of the second calf to feed her offspring before chasing the mother away.

The wildlife experts were amazed at this behavior, as it suggested that the lioness hadn’t mistaken the calf for a lion cub, but had simply decided to take care of the calf.

The lioness nursed her baby antelope for two weeks, before another lion attacked and killed it while she was sleeping.

In the weeks that followed, however, park staff said the lioness would routinely track herds of antelope, but would never attack them, opting instead to hunt warthogs.

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