Hi John d m,
Fascinating story about Tao,the lion.Not me on photo, a ranger's son.I was just peripheral to the whole affair.This cub was found by people out on poacher patrol.Reading spoor etc dam had been shot and suddenly developed wheels.Only one very new born cub, umbilical cord dried but not off. was found in a dreadful state dehydrated and 3/4s dead.We put it on a i/v drip kept it warm and prayed, after 24 hours it decided yes I want to live.Strangely it was not full of spitting,scratching etc.He was then fed on a puppy substitute milk.During this time the ranger's bitch was taking a great deal of interest in him,so was allowed to lick him to promote bowel movement.After 3 days of nuzzling her he was seen to be suckling.She had started producing milk.She raised him to 2 months with her milk, he was supplemented with oatmeal porridge and meat gradually going over to meat.The bitch took no nonsense and rolled him over if provoked.This actually lasted until he was too big but she remained boss.As he grew reverted to lion behaviour play stalking everything dogs, chickens, people, visitors nearly took heart attacks unless warned.
When about 9 months old he tried to skin himself on a stanchion and we stitched him up on his left side, it left a distinctive scar.He was gradually allowed to go wild.Eventually he became too much and was moved off to a sanctuary with other handreared lionesses, taught to hunt.They were then transferred to a private reserve and he was pride master for 4 years and then lost ascendency and chucked out.Now the strange part he found his way back to the ranger's camp by which time the ranger had moved.He was recognised by scar.The old ranger and his bitch were called and he immediately ran to the bitch and rolled over, I obviously had this told me but don't doubt it.He was then moved back to the sanctuary and died there.He was positively identified throughout his wild days by his side scar.
This was the second time I had seen a bitch raise a lion cub.The first was during the war when I was very young, my dad's regiment was stationed in Eastern Transval, Regiment De La Rey,Cap Badge, a Lion's Head,lioness name Bunty regretably when they were posted to North Africa she was shot.
Now experts what age lion when photo taken and reason?
Of which area of Africa is this lion's colour typical and why?