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This Easter was a busy time in Kenya’s Samburu reserve. The beautiful Northern wilderness attracted many visitors, and most were keen to see Kamuniak, the lioness who had recently made headlines around the world when she had turned natural order on its head by adopting a tiny oryx calf- usually prey for a lion. When the calf was killed by another lion, she adopted a second oryx, which had to be removed when this unnatural relationship threatened the health of both calf and adoptive mother.

With the calf sent to a new home in the Nairobi animal orphanage, the story seemed to have come to an end. (For full details of the original story, visit our News Archive)

But over the Easter weekend, when local guides tracked down Kamuniak, they found her in the company of yet another oryx calf.

In stunned disbelief, they watched as she led her third adopted oryx to the shade of some trees, and proceeded to lick and clean her new found “cub”.

She had clearly separated the calf from a nearby herd of oryx. As with her first adopted calf, she kept the small frail animal close to the herd, allowing it to return to its own mother to suckle, before taking it back into her care. (Her second calf had been completely separated from its herd, meaning that it had to be rescued from starvation).

Once again, Kamuniak was not able to hunt, as her unusual cub refused to wait for her return and repeatedly followed her onto the plains. Rangers, unsure of what to do, fed Kamuniak hunks of meat to ensure that she stayed healthy.

Now, as the bond between lion and oryx strengthens, the calf christened “Easter” (the previous calf was named “Valentine” after it was adopted on the 14th February) is quite settled with its new mother. Wildlife experts remain at a loss to explain this remarkable relationship.

The international media have once again returned their attention to the wilds of Samburu, and a single Kenyan lioness has become a living legend. Now, the world watches to see how the latest chapter of this magical Kenyan tale unfolds.

Kamuniak and Easter remain together, happily proving that rules of the wild are not quite what they seemed.

Stay tuned to for updates on this unbelievable story…
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