Baboon Recreates Iconic Lion King Scene

Too often in life, real-world recreations of cartoon scenarios end in tragedy. Coyotes eat roadrunners, an anvil to the head ends in a solemn hosing down of the sidewalk, and super-intelligent mice with their sights set on world domination are generally more likely to get swallowed by cats.

Today, however, we can take comfort in the potential for a more magical tomorrow, as a baboon in South Africa has re-enacted the opening of The Lion King with a baby lion. 

That story again for more cynical readers: we can cower in fear knowing that apes no longer fear the laws of man or nature, as a baboon in South Africa has re-enacted the first act of Taken with a baby lion.

Unlikely animal friendships, brought to you by heatstroke

So here's the inside skinny: on February 1st, 2020, safari operators at Johannesburg's Kruger National Park observed a group of baboons nabbing a lion cub from a rocky area utilized by big cats as a daycare for their young when the adults go hunting. According to the Associated Press, the baboons did what baboons do: they played pass-the-alpha-predator for a little bit, then got bored and moved on to other projects.

When the excitement had died down, a male baboon grabbed the baby lion, which park employee Kurt Schultz described as "showing signs of dehydration," and carried it into a tree. There, the primate "moved from branch to branch, grooming and carrying the cub for a long period of time... the cub seemed very exhausted," as would anyone in the throes of a potential Harambe reboot.

By Schultz's reckoning, the event should have ended disastrously, as baboons generally see lions as an imminent threat and tend towards smashing any unaccompanied babies into a fine paste. This time, inexplicably, one denizen of the South African wildlife park decided instead to just groom the little big cat, presumably ushering in a new and terrifying age of lion-baboon cooperation in which none of us is safe.