Lion Cub Saved by Mother

by on September 28, 2011

in Wildlife

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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  • Skyinwell

    Thank you,Mum!

  • Megan

    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

    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

    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

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

  • Riette

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


  • http://facebook gail du preez

    A real Kleenex moment – nothing stronger than mother love.

  • Yvonne

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

  • Myriam

    thank you for sharing. Beautiful !! :)

  • Geri Potter

    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

    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

    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

    Proof again that “love conquers all”.

  • Penny Parker

    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

    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

    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

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

  • Sue Edmunds

    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

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

  • ray rodin

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

    • Adam Bannister

      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.

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  • Johanna

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

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  • Shirley Crawford

    What a neat story.

  • Pilanesberg

    Great story and even better footage. Well done!

  • Etosha

    Very cool footage!

  • Jayashree bondopadhaya

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

  • j banerjee


  • Victoria R

    It goes to show what this mother lion will do for her cub. It does not show the greatness of “all mothers” or say anything about the greatness of “motherhood”. Why are people so desperate to cling on to any heroic effort from any one female and than praise the creation of motherhood and all who fall into the category of being a mother as attributing some quality of greatness by default. It is quite the charade of our times:)! unfortunately:)!
    Being a mother doesn’t make a lion great and it doesn’t make any woman great. Its the soul under the skin that matters for all sentient beings male or female. There are plenty if souls who would do heroic acts and plenty of others that never will. being a mother has nothing to do with it.