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Photographer captures a real “Lion-King” moment between a baboon and a lion cub

While the scene may well arouse tenderness among its observers, the truth is that it’s a not-so-friendly reality.

Scenes from real life have been an inspiration for films that portray the life of nature. The Lion King became famous for depicting the life of wild African animals, and one of its most representative scenes is undoubtedly when Rafiki, the baboon, presents Simba on top of Pride Rock to the animals of the savannah. Interestingly, a photographer in South Africa came across a similar scene in real life, a baboon carrying a lion cub.

Kurt Schultz is a nature lover and photographer, as well as the director of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, so he is constantly in contact with real-life scenes that very few have the opportunity to admire.

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A scene straight out of The Lion King

Schultz was shooting his shutter towards the landscapes of the African savannah when he suddenly noticed an uncanny resemblance in the behavior of a baboon to the iconic Rafiki from The Lion King. The baboon picked up a lion cub and carried it with his snout and paws to climb with him to the top of a tree.

Once in the treetops, the baboon began to groom the little lion. Schultz even noticed that the treatment given to the little feline was similar to that which female baboons give their cubs. They like to groom each other with great regularity and thus generate bonds and also make sure to keep pests at bay.

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However, while the scene may well arouse tenderness among its observers, the truth is that it’s a not-so-friendly reality. After two decades of giving educational visits and roaming the trails of Kruger, Schultz knows that there is little chance that the little cub will survive in the care of a baboon. It will likely not make it to adulthood and perish along the way.

Nature has mysterious ways that respond to a single precept; survival. After years of traveling Kruger’s trails, Schultz knows that although to human eyes the scenes may be labeled harsh, the truth is that there is nothing he can do to change the course of things. Instead, he can only remain a spectator and learn from what he observes.

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Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera

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