This is the remarkable moment a wildlife photographer managed to capture a romantic encounter between two male lions.
The two lions were seen sneaking off into the bushes on Kenya’s Masai Mara for some privacy, before engaging in affectionate love-making.
Unlike what can often be a violent end to mating between a male and a female lion, this pair were seen nuzzling each other post-mount.
Paul Goldstein, from Wimbledon, London, said he first observed them standing side-by-side in Kenya’s Masai Mara, before one lay down and was gently mounted by the other. At one point one lion’s head was resting on the other’s.
Mr Goldstein, a guide for Exodus Travels, says: “Sometimes you just see something that takes your breath away. I was guiding in the Masai 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.
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“When lions mate it normally last 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 male and female 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.”
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 ‘mountings’ 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 exits. 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.
Copyright: Daily Mail