Lions are without question the largest and most feared of the African predators. Majestic in their day to day, they carry around a certain nobility, a respect if you will, until they climb a tree… Lions are not gifted climbers. Trees are the domain of the leopard, and when lions decide they should give it a try, it is usually quite a comical affair.
I came across a pride of lions trying to deal with the heat of the day. The (much wiser) adult females took their cover in some lush grass at the base of the tree, but the youngsters just had to give tree climbing a try. They went up one at a time, the others watching the below-par efforts of their siblings. They started with a tree that had been partially pushed over by an elephant, and had a good angle to it. That was manageable, but did pose a few difficulties for the younger lions. That tree got boring quickly, and the bravest of the bunch, a young male, went for a vertical tree. As is always the case with lions, going up is fine, it’s coming down that is the problem! He made it almost effortlessly to the first fork, and then…
He stayed there for a while, sussing out his options, before deciding it was time to come down. Easier said than done. He was stuck.
Accepting the situation, he slept. Going for the classic leopard ‘drape’, he lounged out over the lower branches, getting it all wrong! He just looked desperately uncomfortable. It did make for some interesting photographs though. It isn’t everyday you see a lion in a tree!
I waited around to see how he would negotiate the path back to solid ground, but with no luck. He was still very much in the tree when I left, with what looked like no easy way down.