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Lion with amputated leg swims record-breaking distance for ‘female partner’

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Two lion brothers set a world record after they crossed a nearly mile-long waterway infested with crocodiles in search of a female partner in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda, Africa. According to the journal Ecology and Evolution’s latest edition, the two made a record-breaking night swim after losing a dangerous fight to another group of male lions.

Researchers say the nearly 1.6-kilometre swim by lion brothers in the Kazinga Channel is the longest documented swim by lions.

Story of Jacob’s resilience

What makes the story of the two brothers more interesting is the resilience of one of the brothers, Jacob, who survived the tough forest conditions nearly years after losing part of a leg to a poaching trap. The lion has been living in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda for the past ten years.

Jacob, along with brother Tibu, crossed the waterway connecting two lakes, likely in search of females. The brothers took the risky path after they lost a dangerous fight to another group of male lions. By crossing the channel by swimming, the two could have also avoided encounter with humans, according to the research.

“Competition for lionesses in the park is fierce and they lost a fight for female affection in the hours leading up to the swim, so it’s likely the duo mounted the risky journey to get to the females on the other side of the channel,” CNN quoted the lead study author Dr. Alex Braczkowski, research fellow at Griffith University’s Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security in Australia.

While sharing Jacob’s incredible journey of survival in an African forest, Braczkowski regarded the lion as a “cat with nine lives.” The lion had faced several obstacles in its life, including a gory fight with a buffalo, attack by poachers, and more.

Calling Jacob Africa’s most resilient lion, the researcher said the lion was once caught in a poacher’s snare before losing his leg in another attempted poaching incident, this time in a steel trap.

The brothers’ attempt to cross the treacherous waterway can be assumed to be the aftermath of a fierce battle between the two brothers and other male lions in the area. As Jacob and Tibu were ousted from their territory, former was heavily injured in the battle and was saved by latter who led the other lions away from Jacob, reported CNN citing the research.

Later, the two approached the channel in search of their ‘female affection’. The two made multiple attempts to cross the river. In one of their attempts, the two had to repeal due to a possible attack from ‘crocodile’.


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Published: 11 Jul 2024, 02:18 PM IST

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