Lion cub leads forest rangers to mother’s dead body at sanctuary in India
The 15-month-old cub guarded its mother’s body until officials returned
A lion cub at an sanctuary in India has led forest rangers to its dead mother’s corpse, in what was described as “very rare” behaviour by keepers.
The lion corpse was discovered when a forest guard spotted a cub hiding alone in bushes. The guard followed the animal out of the bushes and to the body at a nearby hill, where it then waited and guarded his mother until other rangers appeared.
Anshuman Sharma, the Deputy Conservator of Forests in the Gujarat Gir Forest National Park, told the BBC the lioness most likely died in a fight with another animal.
Mr Sharma said he was patrolling the Tulsi-Shyam range when he spotted the cub hiding, which was unusual as lion cubs are typically accompanied by their mothers.
"I followed the cub which led me to its mother's body lying on a small hillock. The mother was called Rupa. It initially looked like she was sleeping, but when it didn't move, I prodded it with my stick. That's when I discovered that the lioness was dead," he said.
A post-mortem found the animal had sustained broken bones and internal injuries and had died from a haemorrhage, said Mr Sharma. It was aged about 11-years-old.
He later returned with a team of officials to remove the body, and found the cub still sat next to his mother – something he described as “very peculiar”.
Cubs are typically dependent on their mothers until they are aged between two and three-years-old. The 15-month-old is now being monitored by forest officials as a precaution.
"It's mother, Rupa, seemed to be a loner who lived and hunted alone, But now that the lioness is gone, we expect the cub to join another group, or another lioness may start looking after it," Mr Sharma added.
Lion expert Yadvendra Dev Jhala of the Wildlife Institute of India said he has never heard of a similar incident.
However, he told the BBC the lions there "generally know their individual guards well" because of the lack of conflict between humans and the animals in Gir.
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...