A Lion’s Weakness

What these lions did in 1967 shows that even lions can be affectionate


In 1967, a white photographer named Graham Dryer visited Thanda Private Game Reserve in South Africa and captured a story that portrays that even lions can be caring. It all began with a little quest for adventure. Graham decided to follow the Sunday Pan, one of the most admired lion prides in the reserve at that time. He secretly followed when they were going out of their abode, with the hope of capturing interesting fights between the lions and their preys, but something strange happened instead.

The pride consisted of 5 lions. A male lion, one lioness and three young cubs. As they moved together, Graham noticed that the lioness left the pack and ran to a different location. He didn’t follow her, until he heard a familiar sound coming from where she was. It was the sound lions make when they’ve found their preys, or so he thought. The sound didn’t attract only him. The male lion and young cubs also ran towards the source of the sound. By the time Graham got there, he found a fox lying helplessly on the ground, with the female lion moving round it in what appeared to be a circle. The instincts of the male lion kicked in by the time it saw the scene. It was so ready to pounce on the fox and begin to feast, but as was the custom of lions, it was waiting for the female to claim her victory before it made any move. Ideally, it is expected that the lioness will waste no more time, because meal was ready, but the situation was different.

Seeing that the lioness refused to make any move, the male lion began to growl, but that didn’t move the lioness, and when the lion decided to take the bull by the horn and launch for its feast, the female lion roared heavily, making him to stop. It was obvious that the lion and three cubs were confused and wondering what had gone wrong with the female lion. As a human being, Graham thought the lioness’ motherly nature had taken the best of her, and rather than devouring her supposed prey, she was protecting a helpless animal. According to Graham, the situation remained like this for several minutes. He also noted that the lions got tired and all five decided to lay beside the helpless fox. This excited Graham and his curiosity antennas were on high alert, he desperately wanted to know what would happen next. Meanwhile, he didn’t stop taking pictures!

At some point, the male lion rose up with anger. It began to roar against the lioness who wasn’t intimidated by his advances. She roared against the male lion too. Seeing the resilience of the lioness, the lion chose to back out, giving the lioness a cheap victory. Not long after this, Graham heard a loud noise coming from somewhere. He knew without any doubt that it was the sound of lions feeding on their unfortunate prey. His heart sank as he remembered the poor fox. He immediately edged closer for better clarity. Indeed, he saw lions feeding on an animal, but when he looked closer, he realized that it was a different pride and they were feeding on a Buffalo, not a fox. The Sunday Pan ran towards the feasting pride, leaving the fox behind. Graham noted that the fox was able to escape, he also stated, in an interview, that he saw the fox moving around a few days later.

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Written by Clara Kendall


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