Being a lion 101: Learning to leap

On the other side of the small creek are 10 lion cubs, running through the grass.

I am disappointed we are on the wrong side, until they paw closer and settle in with three female lions ... about 30 feet from the Land Rover.

On this morning, the Moms are teaching the cubs how to jump across the creek, and we are there for the front-row show.

First, mom leaps. The cubs watch.

The other two jump.

The cubs scamper around the bank and do little calls to the lionesses on the other side, who watch.

Clearly, they don't think they will make the jump. As the go back and forth, and one runs down, swims and scurries up the other side, I spy one taking off and just walking 10 feet away, where there is no leap required.

He's over.


They look to see how he got there. What?!

The others cry to their moms.

But this is a teaching moment for Being a Lion, and the rest all try to jump. They all chicken out, going in the water and needing help from the Moms to be hauled out.

They do.

They pick them up with their mouth on the scruff of their necks and lick them clean.

There is one cub left.

He is waiting, waiting, and the Mom is standing on the other side, like what? come ON!

Some calls.

Finally, the last one - the one that was most scared to go - he leaps!!!! And makes it.

He or she was the only one to attempt the leap and he or she made it.

We clap for him and cheer.
Two female lions nudge his face and clean him off, and take him or her by the scruff.

They all wander about 10 feet in the bush and continue to hang out.

I just witnessed lions teaching each other how to grow up and be daring.


Lions are the mighty, the feared, but we have seen them be the most caring of the animals we have seen, staying together as prides and showing affection for their young and each other. The females hunt. That was a surprise. The male of a pride will stand guard, some distance away, from its pride.

You can hear the male call for its cubs and pride ... up to 5KM away.

Amazing. Such a wonder to witness.

— with awesome guides Big John and Jackson. At Olare-Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya