Lion Cubs: Mesmerizing Babies at 3 Weeks
Shot on Location:
Ndutu, Tanzania, February 2017 with the 1Dx and Canon 500mm f/4 II.
It was easy to be mesmerized by these adorable 2 1/2 week old lion cubs. They were the youngest lions that I ever saw in the wild and it was amazing to see how fast they grew in just 10 days. We'd check on this family every morning and every afternoon because they are so vunerable at this age. In fact, we started with four cubs on the first sighting and were down to three on day 2, so we weren't over-reacting. And now that African lions are now on the endangered species list, the cubs' survival and well-being even had more meaning.
The cubs grew fluffier by the day and their personalities blossomed as well. At first, their blue-gray eyes couldn't see more than vague shapes and the cubs were even cautious with their own mother. It was adorable when the smallest cub kept circling around it's mom with a slow, unsteady attempt at walking. Then I figured out that it was looking for Mom's teats based on sound and smell because it couldn't see well yet.
And I loved seeing their ears bent forward like little yodas, straining to make out new sounds and Mom's calls. It was also precious seeing baby teeth starting to emerge after a few days, and how the cubs started to wander and wrestle as their sight got better.
I truly wish that I could've observed this family for a few more weeks as it was a new and exciting experience. Even though the cubs mostly ate, slept and snuggled, it was like watching moving art because they rarely stayed still for more than a minute. Enjoy this magical and rare experience.
All images © Christina J. Prestegard 2004 - 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.