Baboon steals lion cub in Kruger National Park

Posted on 3 February 2020

Kurt Schultz, a former ranger who now operates Kurt Safari, filmed a highly unusual sighting on Saturday 1 February 2020, while travelling to a meeting in the Kruger National Park.

Kurt explained to Latest Sightings: ‘Before the meeting, I decided to enter the park early to do some photography – a hobby and passion of mine.’

‘I drove onto the S21, one of the roads near Skukuza where I came across a troop of baboons being restless. Being early morning this is relatively common, but then I noticed a baboon carrying something and the rest of the troop were interested in that baboon. The baboon was not visible and I spent some time at the sighting as I was told it was possibly a lion cub.’


‘Knowing the area, I know there are cubs present in the area lately and being early morning, and close to a granite rock face, I suppose the baboon troop rested during the evening on the rocks. They probably during the early morning moved down to start their day foraging for food came across the hidden lion cub.’

‘I first thought it was a female baboon but it was in actuality a young male baboon. The young baboon crossed the road and climbed up a marula tree. I waited for about 30 min before it came into view and was moving from tree to tree, the rest of the troop then moved away and the baboon was grooming and caring for the lion cub as if this was a young baboon.’

‘I spent about 1 hour at the sighting and decided to leave as I had a meeting at 9 am. It is normal for a troop of baboons to kill young leopard and even lion, however after 20 years of guiding this is the first time I have seen a baboon nurturing and caring for a young predator cub.’

Speaking to Martin Bester on Jacaranda FM, Kurt explained that he and other rangers had returned later and searched the area around the sighting, however, the baboons and the lion cub were nowhere to be found.

He said that it’s not unusual for leopards to kill baboons and baboons to kill leopard cubs, however, he has never seen a male baboon act in a nurturing manner to a lion cub. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the young cub would survive with the baboons very long, Kurt told the radio presenter.

Image: Kurt Safaris/Facebook

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