Real Life Simba And Rafiki Captured Recreating Lion King Isn’t Actually Cute At All
A photographer witnessed a Lion King scene come to life when a baboon lifted a lion cub into the air – but the actual situation was far from the heartwarming movie moment you might expect.
Safari guide Kurt Schultz was photographing lions in South Africa’s Kruger National Park on Saturday, February 1, when he spotted the male baboon carrying the small cub up a marula tree.
Schultz has repeatedly seen cubs fall victim to groups of baboons and he feared this situation would be no different, as numerous monkeys gathered beneath the tree to watch the young lion being carried up.
Those on the safari watched nervously as the baboon hopped from branch to branch before settling with the feline in its arms. The scene was not unlike the moment Rafiki holds Simba out over pride rock in The Lion King, and at one point Schultz even saw the baboon groom the young cub in a caring manner.
Speaking of the unusual scene, Schultz commented:
The baboon was grooming the little lion cub as if it was a baby baboon… 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.
This will remain one of my most interesting sightings.
The photographer caught the surprising moment on camera and, while the pictures appear to show a cute bond between the two animals, Schultz admitted the situation probably didn’t end well for the young cub.
Schultz eventually had to move on to let other tourists take a look at the scene, and it emerged the primates later took the cub away with them.
Its fate sadly remains unknown, but Schultz said he didn’t ‘see a chance of [the] poor cub surviving’.
The troop of baboons was large and a lion would not be able to get the young back. Nature is cruel at most times and survival of young predator cubs is not easy.
The lion cub poses a threat to the baboons when it gets older.
We can hold out hope the baboon and cub sparked up a Rafiki and Simba-like relationship, but unfortunately it seems that kind of bond only really exists in Disney films.
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