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A Lioness Captures A Baby Baboon And Does The Last Thing You’d Expect

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Mother nature can be brutal at times, but the story about an extraordinary wildlife interaction will defy all odds of the animal kingdom. This touching story embraces the behavior between the animals involved and proves just how thoughtful animals truly can be.

Start the slideshow to read the full story.

The trip began with Photographer Evan Schiller and Lisa Holzwarth on a safari in the northern Botswana‘s Selinda Camp. During the drive, they encountered a huge group of baboons.

“30-40 baboons were heading in our general direction, making a lot of noise.” Lisa recounted.

The baboons were seemingly frightened by something when they all scampered up the trees and two large lionesses appeared from the tall grass. One brave baboon abandoned the tree, trying to make a run for it, but got snapped up in the lioness’ jaws.

The hungry lioness grabbed the female baboon before she could get away. The lioness quickly realized, as the mother baboon hangs from her jaws, that there was something else there. A baby baboon slowly let go of its mother’s body, then something incredible happened…


The frightened baby baboon made a break for it and left his mother’s side. He attempted to climb a nearby tree but without enough strength, he couldn’t get away fast enough. The lioness quickly shifted her focus on her easy prey. Wildlife photographer Evan Schiller and his wife Lisa Holzwarth thought they were about to photograph a tragic moment.


Instead, the lioness did something that amazed everyone – instead of snapping the baboon up in her jaws, she began playing with him. She was surprisingly gentle, yet curious about the baby baboon.

“The baby was showing signs of physical harm and fatigue from the whole ordeal, the lioness picked the baby up in her mouth—it was agony watching the baby’s ordeal—and I kept on turning off the video option on my camera because it was hard to record.” Evan told National Geographic.

After examining the baby, she softly picked him up in her mouth and carried him away before settling down with him in between her paws.

Instinctually, the little baboon reached out to her chest and began to try suckling on the lioness, as if he thought she was his new mother.

“What happened next blew our minds,said Evan Schiller, “the baby, in another instinctual moment, held onto the lioness’ chest and tried to suckle.”

The baby continued to roll around and play in the lioness’ arms, appearing completely comfortable and unafraid as he was cradled between her paws.

Observing the scuffle from afar, two male lions soon stalked over to examine the baby baboon, but the lionesses chased him away, perhaps to protect the baby!

A male baboon had been intensely watching the baby baboon from a nearby tree, determined to rescue him when the opportunity presented itself. When the lionesses were distracted by the two male lions, he went in and grabbed the baby and took him back to safety.

Stranded in a tree, the male baboon grasped the baby baboon in his arms. He held out in the tree until another opportunity arose for him to descend and catch up with their troop. Once the lions withdrew to their shelter, the baboon made a break for it.

The little baby was soon returned safely to his father’s arms.

“No matter what,” Lisa said, “The young baboon remains an inspiration to me and a reminder, that life is fragile and no matter how much we fight to control its outcome, all we can do is live in the moment.”

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