Lion Cub Saved by Mother

by Rich Laburn on September 28, 2011

in Wildlife Diary


We received this story via email and thought it was too brilliant not to share with you. Taking place in Kenya’s Masaai Mara game reserve and photographed by Jean-Francois Largot, this dramatic story once again displays the strong bond that lionesses and their cubs share.


Clinging on for dear life to the side of a vertical cliff, the tiny lion cub cries out pitifully for help.

His mother arrives at the edge of the precipice with three other lionesses and a male. The females start to clamber down together but turn back daunted by the sheer drop.  Eventually one single factor determines which of them will risk her life to save the youngster – motherly love.

The drama begins: The mother arrives at the edge of the cliff as her son cries out for rescue after being trapped when he slipped

Lioness and Cub down ravine

On the brink: Four lionesses look over the edge before aborting their rescue mission because of the sheer drop.
Lion pride watching over cliff face

Slowly, agonisingly, the big cat edges her way down towards her terrified son, using her powerful claws to grip the crumbling cliff side.  One slip from her and both animals could end up dead at the bottom of the ravine.
Coming down to rescue cub

Just as the exhausted cub seems about to fall, his mother circles beneath him and he is snatched up in her jaws.
Rescued cub

She then begins the equally perilous journey back to the top. Minutes later, they arrive and she gives the frightened creature a consoling lick on the head.
Consoling lick on the head

Despite the presence of wardens to deter poachers, day-to-day life for the lions is not without its dangers … as the cub learned the hard way.

Photographed by: Jean-Francois Largot

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Skyinwell September 28, 2011 at 10:38

Thank you,Mum!


Megan September 28, 2011 at 10:46

Incredible! This is a once in a lifetime moment to have captured on film. I would have been hard-pressed not to clamber from my car and rescue the little guy myself!

Great post.


Mildred Campbell September 28, 2011 at 11:26

What a beautiful story and just goes to show that mother’s love is the best you can get. A mother will always fight for her children through thick and thin. It just shows that mother nzatures is the most wonderful thing in God’s kingdom. Thank you for showing this to us.


Gwendolene George September 28, 2011 at 11:42

These are brilliant pictures! Well done Jean-Francois! Wow! Lovely story too! It just comes to show that a mother would do anything for her youngsters.


Patsy Weingart September 28, 2011 at 12:03

Correct, too wonderful not to share. Thank you. PW


Riette September 28, 2011 at 12:10

It is just amazing how Mother Nature works. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes we as humans, can just learn from our Animal Kingdom



gail du preez September 28, 2011 at 12:37

A real Kleenex moment – nothing stronger than mother love.


Yvonne September 28, 2011 at 12:45

Really amazing story and great pictures!
Thank you for sharing!


Myriam September 28, 2011 at 13:24

thank you for sharing. Beautiful !! :)


Geri Potter September 28, 2011 at 13:43

Amazing story, beautiful pictures! Lovely to see how all the pride rushes to the rescue. Captures just how strong and powerful these creatures are and yet how gentle and tender they can be. Thank you VERY much for sharing!


Rosemarie September 28, 2011 at 13:52

What fantastic photography, who would have thought that a animal could do that. Just goes to show once again. “It is a Mother” Beautifull


sheila lawson September 28, 2011 at 14:22

What a wonderful opportunity for you to be able to film this event, showing a mothers love. It makes no difference what species you belong to ,a mother is a mother…I found the film so uplifting. Well done & thank you for sharing it with us all.


Sheena September 28, 2011 at 14:34

Proof again that “love conquers all”.


Penny Parker September 29, 2011 at 09:17

What an amazing moment between that mom and her son. Lovely blog, and some lovely comments. This story is so special, I could feel the tension when I was scrolling down. Fantastic! I’d like to second Geri – so strong and yet so gentle.


Erna de Waal September 29, 2011 at 13:30

Photography and story excellent! What a privilege to be there at the right time!
No love greater than Mother Love.
Thank you for sharing your talent with us.


Kobus Muller September 30, 2011 at 00:10

Brilliant , whow i never thought a Lion can climb like that , i better be more carefull in the bush. Great story , heartwarming Thank You


Sue Wlos September 30, 2011 at 19:01

Once again nothing more powerful as a mother’s love!!!!!


Sue Edmunds October 2, 2011 at 03:13

Wow, you can see how strong the mother is as she climbs back up, every muscle seems defined. It looks as if she is using every bit of her strength to make it back up. It must have been a heartstopping time for those watching. Glad she and cub made it. Brilliant photography.


Tintin October 4, 2011 at 12:21

Undoutedly wonderful…wat great phtograghy and great story…Mothers love is the best


ray rodin October 8, 2011 at 08:11

Would anybody know how I could get hold of Jean-Francois Largot
Amazing pics


Adam Bannister October 8, 2011 at 15:01

They certainly are Ray, however unfortunately I don’t know how you could get hold of him. Perhaps a couple of online searches will provide you with some information.


Johanna October 15, 2011 at 10:08

I can’t stop looking at these pictures. How incredibly moving!


Shirley Crawford February 6, 2012 at 19:37

What a neat story.


Pilanesberg May 10, 2012 at 14:27

Great story and even better footage. Well done!


Etosha October 3, 2012 at 15:40

Very cool footage!


Jayashree bondopadhaya May 11, 2013 at 21:48

Whether u r furry or scaly,have 2 legs or 4 ,the incident proves “HIS MOM HIS WORLD………HER CUB HER LIFE!


j banerjee May 12, 2013 at 18:37



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