July 18, 2024, 4:56 pm

Two Lions’ Epic Swim to Escape Danger in Crocodile Waters

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  • Update Time : Saturday, June 29, 2024

 Lions’ Brave Escape Across Crocodile-Infested Channel
On a dark night in February, two male lions stood at the edge of the Kazinga Channel in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, contemplating a daring swim across the mile-wide waterway. The channel, inhabited by hippos and crocodiles and up to 20 feet deep, posed a significant threat. The lions, Jacob and his brother Tibu, had just survived a territorial battle and needed to escape to safer grounds.

 Overcoming Adversity
Lions are generally averse to swimming, and Jacob’s challenge was even greater as he only had three legs, having lost one to a poacher’s trap in 2020. Despite these hurdles, the two embarked on what researchers call the longest-recorded swim by lions, a journey documented in a study accepted for publication in Ecology and Evolution.

 Multiple Attempts
Their initial attempts to cross were thwarted. During their second try, a drone tracking them detected a large thermal signature, possibly a crocodile or hippo, forcing them back to shore. Undeterred, they made a successful third attempt and safely reached the opposite side.

Dramatic Crossing and Conservation Concerns
“It was pretty dramatic,” said Alexander Braczkowski, a conservation biologist studying these lions. The dramatic escape underscores the declining lion population in the park, which has dropped from 71 in 2018 to about 40 today, largely due to poisoning by local residents protecting their livestock. This has intensified competition among male lions for territory and mates.

 

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