WATCH | Swimming lions a once-in-a-lifetime surprise for ranger

26 March 2019 - 15:00 By TimesLIVE

Most lions dislike water, but this pride is different.

Mike Kirkman, the head ranger at Mala Mala game reserve, captured this unusual sighting of lions frolicking in the game park's Sand River.

"It was more surprising than anything. This pride was known to lie in shallow water, but I had never seen them as deep as this and evidently enjoying being cooled off. The cubs obviously thought this was completely normal and so just carried on. These are the only lions, and indeed the only cats, that I have ever seen in the wild just plop down in the river to cool off and have fun in the water," Kirkman told Latest Sightings.

"It was a very rare sighting and I have never seen any other lions doing anything like it in 15 years of guiding, nor do I really expect to ever see it again."

Kirkman said the lions stayed near the water for two days as they had a buffalo kill nearby. They moved off after they were finished with the carcass.

While admitting it is rare for lions to be seen in water, Kirkman has a theory for this pride's behaviour.

"I have no idea why these lions don’t have a dislike for water like most lions do. The only theory I have is that for some reason the lioness learned to do it and then passed it on to the two males, which she had raised, and then on to her cubs as well."