Paul Goldstein, a wildlife photographer from London, was in the Maasai Mara in Kenya when he came across two lions that snuck off to the bush for some privacy before engaging in affectionate love making and then were seen later nuzzling each other.
Goldstein said he first observed them standing side-by-side in the Mara when one lay down and was gently mounted by the other. At one point, one lion’s head was resting on the other’s. Goldstein, a guide for Exodus Travels, told the Daily Mail newspaper: “Sometimes you just see something that takes your breath away. I was guiding in the Maasai Mara recently and we saw two impressive alpha males in perfect light.
“After a while they stood together, in perfect symmetry. What then happened was remarkable.
“I have heard of this happening in Botswana but with nothing like this vigour, and indeed at various zoos and safari parks, but incarcerated animals will do strange things, who can blame them. This however was astonishing. I normally loathe any sort of humanising with animals and our documentary channels are full of it, but this was not only surprising but it was impossible not to smile.
“When lions mate, it normally lasts a few seconds, these two were at it for over a minute and the obvious affection afterwards was very evident, as opposed to the violent withdrawal when males and females mate.
‘Even as he dismounted, he did not back off as is normal after mating, he crept round to the other male’s muzzle, for a nuzzle and threw a conspiratorial wink his way.”
Ezekiel Mutua, the chief executive of Kenya Film Classification Board, had his own views on this. He said the pair must have been influenced by gay couples in the park as lions do not have access to TVs or films where such acts are witnessed. But he added it was also possible that they were driven by evil forces, saying that “demons also possess animals.”
In an interview with Nairobi News, Mr Mutua, who is not shy about making moral pronouncements, said, “We do not regulate animals, but this is a first and [it is] interesting to hear that there are two male lions in love. … These animals need counselling, because probably they have been influenced by gays who have gone to the national parks and behaved badly. I don’t know, they must have copied it somewhere or it is demonic. Because these animals do not watch movies.”
“The demonic spirits [that inflict] humans seems to have now caught up with animals,” he concluded.
While male lions engaging in sexual activity is a rare occurrence, it is far from unknown.
In fact, studies published in the 20th century indicated that about eight per cent of couplings observed by scientists had been male lions with other males.
Male lions have been observed courting other lions, including showing affection and caressing, as well as mounting. Lionesses are also known to couple up, however this has mainly been observed in captivity. Lions are by no means the only animal species where homosexual relations exist. Biologists have recorded same-sex sexual activity in more than 450 species including flamingos, bison, beetles and warthogs. A 2010 study of Alaskan Albatrosses found that a third of the pairs actually consisted of two females.