Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Miracle Lioness: Kalmuniak

SAMBURU , KENYA - In Biology, we know that there exist the thing called food chain. It could be like this: soil nutrients consumed by grass, grass consumed by deer, deer consumed by lion, lion die consumed by micro organism into soil nutrients, and so on. The food pyramid draws on who eat who and who get eaten by who. This means, an oryx, a kind of horned deer living in Africa, is a food to wolves, leopard, lion or other predators.

However, as what was reported in BBC, A lioness in central Kenya has baffled wildlife experts by adopting a baby oryx. Reports say the full-grown lioness came across the oryx two weeks ago in the Samburu Game Reserve, scaring off its mother. Instead of then attacking the defenceless calf, the lioness adopted the baby, protecting it from other predators, including a leopard.

The local witnesses stated that every evening the lioness and the baby oryx would rest together. The lioness would curl up her body to the side of the oryx. The lioness even allowed the real oryx mother to come playing with the baby oryx, giving the baby milk. When the baby gets full, the lioness would then chase away the mother to go. That also means extra work for the lioness, for she has to protect the baby oryx. In any way, the oryx do rise the appetite of her predator relatives, many other lions would love to meal on the oryx.

However on Sunday of 6 January 2002, the sad end to the story came when the lioness led the oryx to the river to drink. Weakened by two weeks of looking after her adopted baby, she fell asleep, failing to notice a hungry male lion in the area. The oryx was no more.

Patrick Muriungi, a receptionist at Samburu Lodge, told AFP the lioness was grief-stricken when she awoke to realise from the small noises of what had happened. The lioness was right away very enraged and attacked the male lion. "She was very angry. She went around the lion about 10 times roaring, and then the lioness disappeared," he was quoted as saying.

Of course this extraordinary case attracts the attention of many. "This is either an extraordinary case of maternal instinct or simply the eighth wonder of the world," the local Herman Mwasaghu told The Nation newspaper. "What is baffling is why the relationship has lasted so long," said Wildlife expert Vincent Kapeen. He also thought the lioness spared the oryx "because animals have a special instinct to care for the young". Or could it be because the lioness was being lonely? How about you? What do you think?

Local people in Kenya named the lioness Kamunyak, which means “the blessed one” in the local Samburu language. Since then she has cared for five more young Oryxes, but none lives longer than a week and the last escaped back to it's mother. Kamunyak was last sighted in February 2003, and despite a number of searches, she has not been spotted again. Her story was recorded by Saba Douglas-Hamilton and her sister, Dudu, between January 2002 - August 2003. Their film, Heart of a Lioness, was shown on the BBC and Animal Planet. This a powerful message for us all to fight racism. If an animal can overcome her hunger and instinct to protect, imagine what we humans can do, if we really wants to.\

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