Lion family's amusing efforts getting out of tree
On a recent safari in the Kruger National Park, we came across a very unusual and rare sight. Three lions sitting in a tree close together. Lions are not known for their tree climbing abilities and climbing up and down trees is by far their weakest trait. Unlike the leopard, these big cats are not agile enough to climb trees with ease. The lion’s size and weight also counts against them. Finding this small family up in a tree turned out to be an unforgettable and amusing experience. The big lioness with her sub adult and 9 month old cub looked really uncomfortable up in that tree. Getting up into a tree is one thing but getting down again is a total different occasion.
While commenting on the uncomfortable lions with their unsteady footing up in the tree, the sub adult lion suddenly loses his footing and falls out of the tree. Like a true cat, he lands right on all four his paws without any injury. It was as if the young lion heard the comment regarding his poor tree climbing abilities and instantaneously showed us how insecure he really was up in that tree. After the sub adult’s ungracious effort, it was the little cub to go next. Hesitant at first, the cub slowly and carefully starts his descend down the slippery tree trunk. He is determined to get down and with a combination of sliding and jumping, the adorable cub makes it down just fine. We felt relieved and amused at the same time.
Once her offspring were safe on the ground, it was time for mommy to give it a go. At first she looks unsure about how she will go about getting down.This mother was definitely not going to jump like her youngster did. She rather assessed the situation patiently before making her decision. She finally gets herself into the fork of the tree and gracefully walks down, showing her young exactly how it should be done.