Just a short one today on a lion’s powers of recovery.
The Nkuhuma young male of the Styx/Nkuhuma pairing was injured over a month ago, apparently by a wildebeest horn that penetrated his jaw, leaving a severe gash behind his mouth.
In a human, a wound like that would’ve warranted an immediate trip to the emergency room, a whole lot of stitches, probably an expensive medical bill, and would’ve almost certainly caused a whole lot of worry – and no small amount of inconvenience – as it healed over the next few weeks.
Yet in this young male lion, if we fast forward 8 weeks, we can barely even recognise that he was ever injured. A thin line in his fur suggests some kind of previous disturbance there, but that’s about it:
Imagine that gaping wound healing without any treatment whatsoever, and not just that, but the lion would have had to actively employ his mouth in the submission of prey, the subsequent eating thereof, stretching his jaw to groom, and pretty much aggravating the wound in some way or another on a daily basis.
Yet two months later, there is barely a trace of the injury left.
Being the apex predators they are, weakness is not a term that can ever really be attributed to lions. To just make it to independence is special, since most don’t. There is a necessary stoicism that accompanies a lion’s growth, and a wound like the Nkuhuma young male received is simply part of the entry fee he pays to the upper echelons of lion dynamics. Never a whimper will you hear from an injured lion. They simply get on with it to the best of their ability, and as long as they can get enough food to survive, their bodies will – at least with superficial wounds like this – do the rest.