While the wild can be a brutal place, sometimes animals surprise us all and do some incredibly caring things for one another. In this particular situation, a lioness goes in for the kill…until she sees the an adorable little baby baboon and just can’t bring herself to kill him. It’s quite an unusual predator and prey scenario, and it stunned onlookers. Luckily, someone was around to capture the action. This may not your average Kodak moment, but it’s pretty amazing nonetheless.
Wildlife photographer Evan Schiller and his wife Lisa Holzwarth adore big cats, and are major big cat conservation advocates. Last spring, the two were photographing the landscape in northern Botswana’s Selinda area when a troop of around 30-40 baboons came running through the bush, capturing the attention of some nearby lionesses.
Evan and Lisa were forced to watch as one of the lionesses went in to kill a mother baboon with a baby clinging to her side, but were absolutely amazed at what happened next…and photographed the entire incident, of course.
Thanks to National Geographic for this incredible story!
Here’s where it gets interesting: Waiting in a nearby tree is a big male baboon, who is obviously intent on saving the baby. The male lions were causing such a ruckus that it presented a short window of opportunity for the brave hero to descend the tree, grab the baby and head back to safety.
“I was touched by how gently the father baboon held this little baby who was in tough shape after its ordeal.”
The baby baboon was really struggling with the heat and the father baboon really needed to get him into the shade. Finally, with the combination of daring courage and the lions own desire to take cover in some shade, he was able to dash to the safety and shade of a neighboring tree.
And what happened to the baby? It seems the little guy survived with the help of his troop. He was alive and safe in his father’s arms when Evan and Lisa left.
“No matter what,” Lisa says. “The young baboon remains an inspiration to me—and a reminder, that life is fragile and no matter how much we fight to control its outcome, all we can do is live in the moment.”