Tan­za­nian li­on­ess nurses leop­ard cub

The Guardian Weekly - - Diversions - Damian Car­ring­ton

A li­on­ess has been spot­ted nurs­ing a tiny leop­ard cub in Tan­za­nia, the first time a wild cat is known to have adopted a cub from an­other species. The five-year old li­on­ess called Nosik­i­tok is closely mon­i­tored­monit by con­ser­va­tion­ists in the Ngoron­goroNg con­ser­va­tion area and is k known to have had a lit­ter of h her own in June. How she came to adopt the leop­ard cub, t thought to be three we weeks old, is not known. But Luke Hunter, pres­i­dent­presid of big cat conse con­ser­va­tion group Pan­thera, said h her re­cen re­cent births are a crit­i­cal fac­tor fac­tor: “She is phys­i­olo phys­i­o­log­i­cally primed to ta take care of baby cats cats, and the lit­tle leo leop­ard fits the bill – it is al­most ex­actly the a age of her own cubs and phys­i­cally very sim­i­lar to th them. “She would no not be nurs­ing the cub if she wasn’t al­ready awash with a fe­ro­cious ma­ter­nal drive. Even so, there has never been an­other case like it, and why it has oc­curred now is mys­ti­fy­ing.”

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