Even future savannah rulers enjoy to play at three months old.
A video of three cubs in Senegal, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, has given hope that the famed West African lion, which has been devastated over time, may be resurrected.
Panthera, a wild cat conservation organization located in the United States, has released never-before-seen photographs of a lioness and three kittens spotted by remote cameras in the Niokolo-Koba National Park in southeastern Senegal in February.
In what Panthera describes as a “thrilling sign of recovery for the critically endangered West African lion”, video footage shows the big cat eating an animal carcass while its three-month-old offspring try to imitate it.
They brandish their claws and fangs, testing them out on scraps of wood or their mother’s hindquarters.
“This documentation of new lion life… indicates the remarkable recovery of a population on the brink of extinction”, the organisation said in a statement.
Panthera has been collaborating with Senegal’s Directorate of National Parks on conservation efforts in the Niokolo-Koba park since 2011.
According to the organization, the number of lions in the park has increased from 10 to 15 to around 30 in that time.
The West African lion is distinguished from the African and Asian subspecies by its narrow mane and bald appearance.
Panthera estimates that there are between 120 and 375 of them surviving.
West African lions, revered to the extent of being mentioned in the Senegalese national anthem, have been destroyed by poaching and the progressive loss of their habitat.
According to Panthera, their historic range has fallen by 99 percent, citing the International Union for Conservation of Wildlife.
Florence, the lioness recorded on camera, is considered to be nine or ten years old and has helped the colony recover.
The two boys and one female cubs shown with mom are thought to be her third litter since 2021.