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Lioness Adopts Third Baby Antelope

Monday, 1 April, 2002, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK Lioness adopts third baby antelope
Map of Kenya Tourists flocked to watch the unlikely pair
A lioness in Kenya has adopted another baby oryx - her third in as many months, game wardens at the northern Samburu National Park have reported.

The lioness is said to allow a female oryx several minutes each day to feed the new-born calf.

One was seen in her company in December last year, but it was eaten by other lions after two weeks. Another calf was taken away from her in February and placed in a zoo because it showed signs of malnourishment.

Dangers

The chief game warden in Samburu, Simon Leirana, said that the lioness was seen with a baby oryx no more then three days old early on Saturday.

"We are baffled. We do not know what to do with this third oryx," said Mr Leirana.

He said wildlife officials might decide to let nature take its course, leaving the calf to take its chances with starvation or other predators.

The lioness is said to be "fiercely protective" of the oryx - becoming very aggressive when any human come near.

Three adult onyxes have been seen near the unlikely duo though, one of which is believed to be the mother.

Grief stricken

When the last calf was eaten by a male lion while she slept, the lioness was said to have been stricken with grief - she went around roaring in anger.

Cases of lionesses showing maternal affection for animals they would normally see as prey are not unprecedented, conservationist Daphne Sheldrick said.

"It does happen, but it's quite unusual. Lions, like all the other species, including human beings, have this kind of feelings for babies," she said.

Local newspapers have noted that all three adoptions occurred on significant days - Christmas, Valentine's Day and Good Friday.

The lioness and the oryx The last calf was killed while she was sleeping
The oryx would normally represent a tasty meal to a lion, but this is not the first time the lioness has placed a calf under her protection.
Lions, like all the other species, including human beings, have this kind of feelings for babies
Conservationist Daphne Sheldrick
LadySoulist LadySoulist 22-25, F 6 Responses Sep 27, 2007

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I know this is going to sound crazy, but maybe in her previous life she was an oryx mother who lost a baby to lions. She maybe has faint memories of this in her subconsious. I said it was going to sound crazy, but I believe in re-incarnation.

Wicked story, didn't believe it until I looked it up for myself...wicked

wow, that is soo amazing!

Awwww your dogs awesome ~smiles~

I think this is awesome and intriguing! I once had a MALE dog that would lay and nest with my Calico Cat's babies while she went out to feed or hunt. When she would return to the box, my dog would gently work his way out trying not to disturb the sleeping bundles of fur curled against his belly and chest. He did this every day until the kittens were old enough to follow Mama out of the box! I was fascinated by the Male reaction to this nurturing, and the trusting relationship between Cat/Dog.

Aw. How cute! ^_^