There is nothing more heartbreaking for a mother than to unexpectedly lose all of her babies at the same time, yet unfortunately, this is a common thing in hostile animal habitats. Even though they have no other option than to learn to live with the pain, many of them have a difficult time overcoming it. And in the case of this young lioness who lives in Etosha National Park in Namibia, she has decided to fill the void in her life by taking care of a truly remarkable baby who is from an entirely other species.
A springbok was adopted by the heartbroken lioness and raised as her own not long after a male lion murdered all of her newborn cubs. One of the very few guests who had the opportunity to observe their tender interaction was photographer Gordon Donovan.
What happened next completely astounded the man, who was 53 years old at the time. At first, he believed that the young springbok was nothing more than her prey, which is exactly what he was supposed to be. She not only affectionately played with him, kissed him, and groomed him, but she also guarded him from the other hungry lions who were in the area.
Donovan described it as “a odd but amazing sight to witness,” and he couldn’t believe what he saw. “I was thrilled about the lions, and I was anticipating the kill when she caught the springbok. But it never showed up and she began to clean the calf. It’s impossible to predict what the natural world has in store for us, and that’s part of the pleasure.”
It is reasonable to assume that Donovan’s incredible trip, which took him all the way from New York to this lovely nation, did not let him down. Many wildlife photographers spend their whole lives hunting for such breathtaking photos, but not all of them are able to see exactly what they are searching.
“These are the moments I seek when I go to Africa,” Donovan continued.
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