In a remarkable display of compassion and protection, a male baboon came to the rescue of a lion cub, carrying it to safety up a tree and tenderly grooming its fur, evoking scenes reminiscent of “The Lion King.”
This rare and heartwarming incident was captured by safari guide Kurt Schultz on a Saturday in Kruger National Park, South Africa, while he was photographing lions.
Initially, Kurt, 43, was concerned that a group of baboons might harm the vulnerable cub, a situation he had witnessed on multiple occasions. However, to his astonishment, one of the male baboons rushed to the cub’s aid, cradling it in its arms and skillfully climbing a marula tree. All the while, the helpless lion watched from above as its adversaries circled below.
The baboon carries away the lion cub
The compassionate baboon continued to carry the lion cub up the tree, and as it reached higher branches, it began grooming the little lion cub as if it were a baby baboon. This remarkable display of care and tenderness persisted as the baboon moved from branch to branch, looking after the cub for an extended period of time.
The little lion rested in the baboons lap (
“The males do a lot of grooming but the care given […] was the same care given by a female to one of her own young.
“In 20 years of guiding southern and east Africa, I have witnessed baboons viciously killing leopard cubs and have heard of baboons killing lion cubs.
“But I have never seen the care and attention given to a lion cub in this manner.
From its vantage point high in the tree, the baboon surveyed Kruger National Park, providing a unique perspective of the landscape.
Kurt reflected on this unforgettable experience, stating, “This will remain one of my most interesting sightings.” While he and other animal enthusiasts observed the situation with bated breath, there was a lingering concern that the baboon might eventually return the cub to its excited and potentially dangerous troop, which can be playful yet lethal.
Unfortunately, Kurt had to depart to allow other guests to witness the spectacle, and he was informed that the primates eventually moved the cub away. The cub’s fate, however, remains shrouded in uncertainty.
Kurt Schultz witnessed the rare cross species interaction (
Kurt said: “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.