A little lion cub slipped into a gully and went down a steep incline.

The pride of lions is made up of female relatives, their offspring, and the pride’s owner, the male. His wives provide food for the pride and care for the cubs. Males seldom survive more than 10 years, and they are constantly battling for territory with rivals. And just a fifth of the kids survive since the male who wins the pride conflict exterminates the offspring of his vanquished predecessor.

However, there are still instances where these great predators are described as loving parents, capable of self-sacrifice much like humans. One of these tales took place amid the vastness of Kenya’s national park.

Curiosity got the better of the lion cub, and he fell into a deep ditch. He lacked the strength to scale the clay, sheer wall. He slowly and inexorably slid to a depth of several meters, clutching his claws. Several of the kitten’s adult relatives heard his anguished cries at the same time.

Three lionesses and two young lions attempted to assist the youngster, but the soft ground crumbled with their weight. Four animals abandoned the expedition and retreated to solid ground, leaving only one female to bravely descend to the terrified youngster.

It appears that she was the baby’s mother, because how else could she have taken such a risk? Fortunately, the lioness’ strength and agility allowed her to catch the infant halfway down and climb up. It’s unclear whether the mother made the “recommendation” without his knowledge, but she licked him for a long time, either to soothe or to cleanse him.

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