Wild animals never cease to amaze us! We’ve seen some weird moments over the years on different documentaries, but this pair of young lions exceeded our expectations. It happened one day in Kenya when a lioness got shot with a tranquilizer dart. To her rescue, her companion tries to save his friend and starts pulling the dart out.
Let’s see the photos taken by a wildlife photographer and discover the whole story behind them.
20. Ol-Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya
Everything was normal for these two lions when the lioness was suddenly stung by a dart. It was all happening for a reason, as the conservationists in Ol-Pejeta Conservancy were out on a mission…
19. Monitoring Big Cats
In Kenya, the conservationists monitor their big cats by using a radio collar. This way, they know where a certain feline lives and if something were to happen to it, they could easily find and treat her.
18. Caring for Injuries
The same thing happened to this lioness. She had an injury to one of her paws and to avoid infection, the staff working with the Conservancy had to treat the animal. And the only way to get close to her was to sedate her…
Sedating a big cat is easy when you have a gun with tranquilizer darts. To help us understand how it works, a biologist and the program director for the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative said the following.
16. Vocalizing the Pain
‘When a dart hits a lion, they will usually vocalize their discomfort and move; it is like getting stung by a wasp,’ said Luke Dollar. Before the sedative kicks in, the lion will move and attract the attention of their companions. When this happens…
15. What’s Wrong?
That’s when the other lions come to investigate and the young and curious ones might act like the male in these photos. Dollar said that there might be a reason for why the lion tried to pull the dart. The animal’s reaction is incredible!
14. Is This a Toy
‘A tranquilizer dart with a bright flight—the fanned end that helps stabilize the dart—will be especially enticing to a lion, like a bouncy cat toy,’ said the biologist. So, what happened?
13. A Curious Cat or a Hero?
Was the lion trying to save his companion or he was just a curious cat? We might never know. But we’d really love to believe that this young lion had good intentions to save his lady. After seeing that the lioness was shot, he did this amazing thing…
12. Good Pals
Nonetheless, the lion did his best. He went to see his companion and whether he was playing or trying his best to save the lioness, we have to give him credit for his fast reaction. But there’s more to this story…
11. Coming to the Rescue
Probably, because the female lion was voicing her sting, the young lion came to see what was wrong. Looking rather funny, the colored end of the dart probably made the lion curious, as he started to bite into it. You won’t believe what happened after!
10. What Happened After?
After hitting a lion with a tranquilizer, it takes about 10-20 minutes for it to fall asleep. The tip of the dart has a small barb to keep it in the skin. That’s why the lion couldn’t take it out. That small hook doesn’t hurt them…
9. Getting Medical Help
After the lioness was sedated, the conservationists started treating her. It looks like her paw was wounded, so they clean and administer medicine to the wound. They also fit her with a collar to monitor her and the pride.
8. Collaring the Lions
Later, the young lion also gets a collar that will help conservationists to make sure the cats are the community are both protected. The wildlife in Kenya is very rich, housing a lot of endangered species.
7. Trained Rangers
Conservationists have among their members trained rangers from the Kenya Police which receive support from the Kenya Wildlife Service & Criminal Justice System. Together, they work to protect the wildlife.
6. Ol Pejeta Conservancy
The conservancy protects 108 black rhinos that are critically endangered, elephants, big felines and many antelope species. They also offer great experiences to people that want to see wildlife in their natural habitat.
5. Lions Live in Groups
Most of the big wild cats prefer to live lonely lives, but lions are very social. They hunt together, care for their cubs and for their damsels in distress. This is what makes the story so special…
10. A Strong Social Bond
Lions form prides, and they usually have one or two males, five or six females, and their cubs. They are the only big and wild cats that live in groups. They care for each other and when one is in pain…
3. Sedating Their Cats
If you’re wondering whether it’s healthy or not to sedate wildlife, the tranquilizers contain drugs that work fast and will only last an hour to one hour and a half. This is what Luke Dollar said about it…
2. Treating Wounded Animals
‘It is similar to the anesthesia used when spaying or neutering a pet,’ said the biologist. So, considering that the conservationists only use them to treat the wounded cats once in a while, it’s safe to say they’re in good hands.
1. A Beautiful Moment
Whether the young lion was trying to save his companion or just curious, like all cats, we root for this couple and hope his lioness is healthy, recovering from her wound and feeling better!