lioness appearing to lead a lone wildebeest calf back to its herd
Footage has emerged of a lioness appearing to lead a lone wildebeest calf back to its herd in what a wildlife official has described as 'an act of love'.
The Tanzania National Parks posted the video Monday in which a lioness is seen walking side by side with a plucky wildebeest calf half her size as she escorted the baby animal back to safety in the Serengeti National Park.
Such behaviour is highly unusual and has led Pascal Shelutete, the spokesman for the Tanzania National Parks Authority, to tell the lioness' maternal instincts must have overcome her natural predatory instincts.
Lions are 'generalist hypercarnivores', meaning the overwhelming majority of their diet consists of meat and is not limited to any one species or type of animal.
However, zebras and wildebeest are among the prey animals targeted most often by lions as they are slower and easier to catch than animals like antelopes and gazelles, but pose less of a danger than buffalo.
Healthy adult lions need to consume an average of between 11-16lbs of meat per day, and given that it is rare for lions to enjoy successful hunts in the wild on a daily basis, it is highly unusual to see one of the world's greatest hunters pass up an opportunity for an easy meal.