A tasty morsel—left uneaten
Copyright precludes us from republishing the photo we printed on the back cover of Creation 30(4). But National Geographic has their original video clip of the Legadema/baboon encounter at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/04/leopard-lessons/leopard-video-interactive—click on “Unlikely Surrogate” (Lesson 2)
Incredibly, this killer leopard carried this one-day-old baboon high up a tree to safety—out of reach of a pack of hyenas below.
The camera crew who took this photo [in the original printed article] recounted how Legadema—as they’d named her—cuddled the newborn to keep it warm through the long, African night.1
‘It was as if nature had turned on its head completely,’ said one of the film-makers, Dereck Joubert. He explained how baboons are a major food source for leopards—Legadema herself had just killed the baby baboon’s mother. Joubert related that when the newly-orphaned baboon called out, ‘we thought we were going to hear a major crunch and the leopard smacking its lips’. Instead, Legadema gently picked up the infant by the scruff of its neck, and climbed the tree.
Despite the leopard’s efforts, by morning the tiny baboon was dead. ‘We think it was simply too small to survive the night without its natural mother and the sustenance she could provide,’ said Joubert, adding that when Legadema realised the baby had died, she moved on.
Such behaviour, from an evolutionary perspective, makes little sense—even with an overly-active maternal instinct, surely the leopard would not have left such a tasty morsel uneaten once all hope of its reviving had passed?
From the perspective of biblical history, however, this and other evolution-defying examples2,3,4 of suppressed carnivory are a beautiful echo of a pre-Fall world without death or pain, and a reminder of the biblical prophecy of such a time to come (Isaiah 11:6; 65:25).
- Brennan, Z., A leopard changes its spots … and saves a baby baboon, The Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 17 December 2006, p. 53.
- Echoes of Eden—Instead of eating baby antelopes, this lion wants to love and protect them, Creation 24(4):14–15, 2002; <creation.com/oryx>.
- Tigers and pigs … together?, Creation 27(3):28–29, 2005; <creation.com/tigerpig>.
- The leopard’s friend, Creation 28(1):10, 2005; <creation.com/leopardfriend>.