Why is this such a big deal? Well, for starters — it just so happens that lions and leopards aren’t exactly the best of friends. Sure, they’re related big cats in the wild, but lions are known for making meals of leopards, believe it or not. So seeing this lioness nurse a lonely leopard cub is about as rare as flying pigs out in the Savanna.
The story went that the Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s authorities spotted this happening just by chance. The lioness is five years old and already has a den of cubs to look out for, so this is what makes it possible: she’s already primed and ready to nurse.
The leopard cub got lucky. Normally any lion would make a meal out of a leopard cub, but in this case, maternal instincts took over and it looks like the cub imprinted on this mother in a big way.
Physiologically, this could actually work but in the long run, it would be an interesting, if not dire, adventure for that leopard growing up.
Probably weirder than Disney’s “Lambert, the Sheepish Lion”!