A baboon was spotted grooming a lion cub on February 1 by South African wildlife guide Kurt Schultz, a behavior the 20-year safari veteran said he had never seen before.
Before bringing a tour group to South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Schultz said he saw a troop of baboons acting in an agitated manner. He then noticed that a young baboon had caught a lion cub, but instead of killing it, which Schulz said was the normal course of action, the baboon seemed to have adopted it as a pet.
In video uploaded to YouTube, the baboon climbs a tree while clutching the cub, then sets the little cat down to groom it.
“This is a very unusual sighting, the first of its kind for me,” Schultz, who has been a guide for more than 20 years, says in the video. “This cub is still alive … it still looks fine, no injuries.”
Schultz told the Associated Press, “I don’t see a chance of this poor cub surviving. The troop of baboons was large and a lion would not be able to get the young back.”
Schulz said: "Nature is cruel at most times, and the survival of a young predator cub is not easy. The lion cub would pose a threat to the baboons when it gets older. I have witnessed baboons viciously killing leopard cubs and have heard of baboons killing lion cubs.” Credit: LatestSightings.com via Storyful