3-legged lion swims 1 kilometre in crocodile infested river with brother

Jacob is a 3-legged lion living in a national park in Uganda with his brother Tibu. Jacob is 10-years-old which is an amazing age (thanks to him having nine lives) as he lives in a very dangerous place for lions. Note: this story has captured the imagination of people worldwide and is all over the internet in thousands of news articles. It reveals our love of the lion and their courage. A great shame therefore that we are making the lion extinct in Africa bit by bit.

Kazinga Channel
Kazinga Channel. Image: UNRA.
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He lost his leg in a poacher’s snare. He has been trapped twice in fact. As he lives in a national park he is tracked by rangers it seems who were able to release him from the snare and amputate his leg.

Just found a picture of Jacob. An amazing lion:

3-legged lion Jacob who has 9 lives and who swam one kilometer in crocodile infested waters with his brother to find a mate
3-legged lion Jacob who has 9 lives and who swam one kilometer in crocodile infested waters with his brother to find a mate. Image: Dr Alexander Braczkowski, from Griffith’s Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security.

Jacob has been gored by a buffalo and his family was poisoned by poachers looking for lion body parts for the lion body part marketplace which is big in Asia. The lion population has halved in this park (not named but believed to be the Queen Elizabeth National Park) over the past five years.

Dr Alexander Braczkowski, from Griffith’s Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security, filmed the 2-lion coalition crossing the Kazinga Channel at night. It was a one-kilometre swim. Very dangerous as there is a real threat of attack by crocodiles. They made it.

Dr Alexander Braczkowski said:

“Jacob has had the most incredible journey and really is a cat with nine lives.”

“I’d bet all my belongings that we are looking at Africa’s most resilient lion: he has been gored by a buffalo, his family was poisoned for lion body part trade, he was caught in a poacher’s snare, and finally lost his leg in another attempted poaching incident where he was caught in a steel trap.

“The fact that he and his brother Tibu have managed to survive as long as they have in a national park that has experienced significant human pressures and high poaching rates is a feat in itself – our science has shown this population has nearly halved in just 5 years.

“His swim, across a channel filled with high densities of hippos and crocodiles, is a record-breaker and is a truly amazing show of resilience in the face of such risk.”

Lions are not as good as tigers at swimming. Tigers have been seen swimming in open sea for up to four miles.

RELATED: Are lions good swimmers? ‘Quite capable’ is the description.

But this intrepid pair of male lions travelled for one kilometre in, it is believed, a search for a female.

Male lion coalitions are outside of a pride. They can try to take over a pride and if successful they commit infanticide to force the lioness to have their offspring.

Dr Braczkowski added that, “Competition for lionesses in the park is fierce and they lost a fight for female affection in the hours leading up to the swim, so it’s likely the duo mounted the risky journey to get to the females on the other side of the channel.”

There is a bridge that they could have used by it is also believed that they were deterred by the presence of people. Lions and all African wildlife are scared of people.

“Jacob and Tibu’s big swim is another important example that some of our most beloved wildlife species are having to make tough decisions just to find homes and mates in a human-dominated world,” Dr Braczkowski said.

The story is reported in Eureka Alert!

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