>> Scientists have long assumed lions were hard-wired to kill leopards until this week, when a wild lioness was caught on camera in Tanzania suckling a leopard curb. I'm Ed for Reuters News in Johannesburg. The startling photographs that were taken this week are the first evidence of this kind of inter-species bonding between predators in the wild.
Normally, carnivores will kill a smaller species of carnivores. So for example, lions will typically kill leopards. Leopards will kill wild dogs. This is the nature of things. This is because they compete for sources of food while at the same time sharing territory. So generally, the relationship is one of nature, red in tooth and claw.
In captivity, though, the situation can be different. Scientists say that, yes, leopards, if they are raised from a young age, can actually interact with lions, but that is unusual, and that is in their natural setting of captivity. So this is extremely unusual, and I believe scientists will be monitoring this situation to see what comes of it, because the lioness in question is a lioness that is wearing a radio collar.
She's known to scientists, she's known to organizations such as Panthera, a New York based big cat conservation organization. And so, time will tell if this lion continues to bond with and nurture this leopard, or if she will eventually do what comes naturally and kill and eat it.