Lion Adopts Antelope: 3 Other Heartwarming Adoptions That Defy Mother Nature [VIDEOS]

By Mo Mozuch on October 12, 2012 2:25 PM EDT

Full-grown antelope NOT raised by a lion.
photo: nationalzoo.edu (Photo: Jessie Cohen)

A lion in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda was photographed by Adri de Visser doing something normal, then something weird. The normal part, which de Visser was looking for, was the lioness killing and devouring an adult female antelope. The weird part? After making the kill the lioness is seen nuzzling and, well, NOT eating the antelope's baby. Basically, the lioness was like a teenager telling Mother Nature "I don't have to be what you expect me to be!" De Visser told Britain's Daily Mail that the lioness sat with the cub for 45 minutes, not eating it or maiming it any way.

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Anyone who has ever seen a housecat toy with a bird or mouse knows that felines have a propensity for playing with their prey before killing it and leaving it on your sofa. In this case, the lioness not only watched the antelope calf as the infant animal but carried it off to safety when a loud motorcycle startled her. De Visser said he received a report from some tourists who saw the calf later and said it was still alive and apparently uninjured.

Strange as this story is, it's not totally unheard of. In 2002, the New York Times reported on a lioness that adopted five antelope calves and became a tourist sensation. She was nicknamed Kamuniak, which means "blessed one," and tourists loved seeing her defy the laws of nature on a daily basis. Until the laws kicked in and she ate one of the babies after it starved to death. Because, try as she might to defy Mother Nature, Kamuniak couldn't properly nurse the calves and they were eventually rescued by wildlife officials. This video details the cute but sad story. (WARNING: It's tough to watch the whole thing and not get a little watery-eyed. Just sayin'.)

 

The lioness isn't the only one getting in on the interspecies heartwarming adoption game. This video shows Sai Mai, a tiger in a zoo near Bangkok that adopted some piglets. This is really insane because we all know that pigs taste better than antelopes. The video also shows some tiger cubs nursing off a female pig, just to add more of a mind-explosion to an already mind-exploding story.

Of course, felines aren't the only ones shacking up in odd interspecies relationships. Take a look at this video showing the love between Owen, an orphaned hippo baby, and Mzee, a giant tortoise.

Sure, hippos and tortoises don't have the kind of predatory/prey dynamic that giant cats and helpless baby animals do, but still, it's weird and it shows that even Mother Nature's laws can be broken.

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