A strange but true happening was seen at South Africa’s Kruger National Park on Saturday, when a Safari operator Kurt Schultz in South Africa came across a male baboon carrying and grooming a lion cub as though it was its own baby.
“The baboon was grooming the lion cub as if it was a baby baboon. Male baboons do a lot of grooming but the care given to this lion cub was the same care given by a female baboon to one of her own young.” Schultz told the AP.
Schultz said he had never seen anything like it during his two-decade career, and he quickly took photographs of the rare display.
A video of the sight was also posted to Instagram and has since received more than 126,000 views.
The baboon was part of a larger troop that was in an area with granite hills and boulders where lions and leopards typically hide their cubs when they go hunting, he told the outlet, and this is how the cub was likely found.
When he initially spotted the baboons, they seemed “excited” and were likely fighting over the cub. He believes the cub may have been injured during the commotion.
“[Baboons] are really strong animals and when they were all excited and fighting over the baby in the beginning, it could have been injured internally,” Schultz said, adding that the cub showed signs of dehydration that morning.
“[The baboon] moved from branch to branch, grooming and carrying the cub for a long period of time,” he recalled. “The cub seemed very exhausted.”
Taking into consideration its weakened state and the nature of baboons, Schultz believes the cub will not survive for long.