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June, 2024

African lion Tibu and three-legged brother Jacob complete longest swim ever through canal full of crocodiles

Two lions from the East African country of Uganda have made the longest swim ever. This is quite remarkable since lions do not actually like water at all. The two male lions, Tibu and his brother Jacob (who has only three legs), were on the run and swam nearly 2 kilometers through a canal full of crocodiles and hippos.

African Lion's
Image to illustrate.. ©Getty Images

Jacob and Tibu made their extraordinary swim in February at Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda. A drone tracking the animals was able to capture the spectacular event on camera. The two lions had lost a territorial fight and had to flee. For Jacob, who lost a paw after falling into a poacher's trap in 2020, and his brother Tibu, there was nothing left to do but swim through the Kazinga Channel. There was only one big problem: the canal is full of crocodiles and hippos.

The crossing was not without danger for the two lions. On their first attempt, Jacob and Tibu were chased by a crocodile or hippo, forcing them to turn back. "It was quite dramatic," said biologist Alexander Braczkowski. Despite their aversion to water, the lion brothers did not give up and managed to cross the canal after four attempts. Jacob and Tibu survived a swim of nearly 2 kilometers.

African Lion Jacob

Decreasing population

Scientists have described Jacob and Tibu's unique feat in a paper to be published in the scientific journal Ecology and Evolution. According to the researchers, this is the greatest distance lions have ever swam.

The urge to reproduce may have prompted Jacob and Tibu to make the dangerous crossing, it sounds. "They found no females in the area where they lived. The only females they could reach were on the other side of the canal," Braczkowski estimates. The declining lion population in the national park also plays a role. In 2018, 71 lions still lived in the park, but that number has dropped to 40 in recent years. Numerous lions have been poisoned by local residents seeking to protect their livestock.

So, if scientists are to be believed, Jacob and Tibu have put their lives on the line to save their population. So let's hope the two brothers both get a girlfriend out of it.

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