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Yahoo! News   Mon, Oct 07, 2002
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Lioness's special love for antelope
Mon Oct 7,12:52 PM ET

NAIROBI (Reuters) - It's nurture over nature for a lioness in Kenya which keeps choosing to dote on baby antelope rather than devour them.

Reuters Photo

Kamuniak, a lioness in northern Kenya's Samburu National Park has adopted her fifth new-born oryx this year, a Kenya Wildlife Service warden told Reuters on Monday.

The oryx is a type of African antelope more likely to be viewed by lions as lunch than a little one to mother. Kamuniak, whose name means "the blessed one" in the local Samburu language, has been adopting oryxes since the start of the year.

On each occasion she has tried to protect the calves from other predators and even allowed their natural mothers to come and feed them. But eventually the calves escape with the help of their natural mothers, are rescued by park wardens or in one case made into a snack by a male lion while Kamuniak napped.

The wardens think Kamuniak's adoption of the little calf nicknamed Naisimari ("Taken by Force") took place at the weekend after they saw the two together on Monday morning.

"She must have adopted her yesterday because they are in harmony," Samburu warden Gabriel Lepariyo said.

Naisimari's natural mother has been seen following her offspring and its unlikely surrogate parent at a distance.

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