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Leopard Cub Adopts Her Prey's Baby, Shows What We Can Learn From The Animal World


Humans can learn so much from the natural world. While we often struggle to get along with each other, animals can make room in their hearts even for natural enemies.

An excerpt from the 2006 National Geographic documentary 'Eye Of The Leopard' captures the extraordinary moment when a leopard's maternal instinct outweighed her predatory nature.

A 2-year-old leopard cub named Legadema had just made her first kill -- a baboon -- when a baby emerged from the dead animal's pelt. Unexpectedly, Legadema ignored her meal, gently carried the baby to the safety of a tree, and began to care for the newborn.

"Several times, the baby baboon fell out of the tree," filmmaker Dereck Joubert said, according to the Daily Mail. "Each time, Legadema raced down to pick her up before the hyenas descended, and carried her back up to safety. The baboon clearly thought of Legadema as a surrogate mother. For several hours, they nestled in the tree."

Unfortunately, without sustenance from its mother, the baby baboon did not survive the night, but Legadema's protection likely spared it from some worse fate.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that the baby baboon emerged from its mother's pouch. However, baboons are mammals, not marsupials, and they do not have pouches. The baby crawled forth from its mother's fur.

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