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Mum to the rescue! Moment lioness saves her cub from plunging down into a watering hole in Kenya


Mum to the rescue! Moment lioness saves her whimpering cub from plunging down steep bank into a watering hole in Kenya

  • Curious cub got stuck on a steep bank after getting a drink from a watering hole 
  • Mother lioness gently carried the baby back to the rest of her litter in her jaws
  • Photographers Laurent Renaud and Dominique Haution captured the rescue


This is the moment a lion cub was rescued by its mother as it struggled to stop itself plunging into a watering hole in Kenya.

Photographers Laurent Renaud and Dominique Haution, both 62, from Douai, France, feared the cub wasn’t going to make it back up a steep bank after it went down to the water for a drink.

But the lioness heard the distressed cub’s cry as it tried to scramble up the hill.  

The lioness was determined that her cub would be safe and acted swiftly to save her baby

The cub was lifted up by its neck and taken to a flat part of the bank after becoming stuck while going for water

The cub was lifted up by its neck and taken to a flat part of the bank after becoming stuck while going for water

The lioness wasted no time and sprung into action as she lifted her cub in her mouth and carried him to safety

The lioness wasted no time and sprung into action as she lifted her cub in her mouth and carried him to safety

The photographers captured the moment the lioness gently picked up the cub in her jaws and carried it back to the rest of her litter.

They filmed the scene in September during a visit to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. 

Laurent said: ‘We witnessed the rescue of a lion cub by his mother as the lioness and her two cubs went down a steep bank to drink water.

‘The passage to reach the water was quite deep and steep and after they had finished drinking, they had to climb back up.

The baby lion clung on for dear life as he was awaiting rescue from the danger he was in

The baby lion clung on for dear life as he was awaiting rescue from the danger he was in

The French photographers captured the perilous moment the small cub looked like it would fall into the murky watering hole

The furry cat looked helpless at one point in the footage with him looking sure to fall into the brown watering hole

The French photographers captured the perilous moment the small cub looked like it would fall into the murky watering hole

Parts of the Kenyan bank broke away as the cub struggled for grip trying to avoid falling in

Parts of the Kenyan bank broke away as the cub struggled for grip trying to avoid falling in

Despite his best efforts, the lion cub could not find safety on its own and had to be rescued

Despite his best efforts, the lion cub could not find safety on its own and had to be rescued

‘One of the two cubs quickly found the way out following his mother, but not the second one as he went in the wrong direction.

‘The cub attempted to climb the cliff at first, but quickly realized that it was too difficult.

‘The baby was about to fall in the water so he cried out in panic.

Danger faced the lioness too as she traversed the steep bank to reach her child in trouble

Danger faced the lioness too as she traversed the steep bank to reach her child in trouble

The cub joined his pack after being rescued by his mother who put herself in danger to do so

The imperiled cat was greeted by the rest of his pack when he arrived to safety in the mouth of his mother

The cub joined his pack after being rescued by his mother who put herself in danger to do so

‘As he was beginning to get exhausted, the female reached out to him, grabbed him up in her jaws and carried him all the way up.

‘This is great proof that you always need a caring mum on your side.

‘We were very afraid that the lion cub would fall into the water but luckily his mum came to his rescue and saved her baby.’

The pack of lions were seeking refreshment from the Kenyan heat when they visited the watering hole that the cub nearly fell in to

The pack of lions were seeking refreshment from the Kenyan heat when they visited the watering hole that the cub nearly fell in to

The pack of lion cubs roamed the plains after the danger and looked to enjoy being joined again by the rescued cat

The pack of lion cubs roamed the plains after the danger and looked to enjoy being joined again by the rescued cat

Nature reserves like the Masai Mara in Kenya are one reason that the lion population is growing in the East African country.

The lion population grew by 25% between 2010 and 2020 according to the Born Free Foundation. 

The footage ends with mum and her cubs roaming across a plain looking unfazed by the danger they had just been in

The footage ends with mum and her cubs roaming across a plain looking unfazed by the danger they had just been in

The pack were drinking at a watering hole before the small cub found himself in a spot of bother on the steep bank

The pack were drinking at a watering hole before the small cub found himself in a spot of bother on the steep bank

Populations elsewhere in Africa are dwindling at around 20,000, just one-tenth of the 200,000 which were alive a century ago, the conservation charity has said.  

Despite conservation efforts, the West African lion is still listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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