Caturday felid: a farewell to cubs

I’ve returned from my peregrinations, low of spirit and of body (I’ve had a nefarious virus).  But I had a good time within the constraints of being ill, and enjoyed my visits and seminars at Vanderbilt and Emory.  I’ll post some photos (including food, of course) within the next few days.

In the meantime, to cheer us all I’m posting this viral video of Douglas Hamilton saying goodbye to his lion cubs.  According to the DailyRecord.co.uk, Hamilton works in a bank in Glasgow, but went to Port Elizabeth Seaview Lion Park in South Africa to volunteer for two months.  This video was apparently taken on day before Hamilton returned to Scotland, and it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking to see him literally crawling with mewling cubs hungry for affection.

19 Comments

  1. Bonzodog
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Ahhhhh …. lovely. But it also made me think about the domestication of the moggy^h^h^h^h^h cat. Those cubs I would call (semi-?) domesticated but I wouldn’t trust an adult lion not to remove large chunks of me irrespective of how long it had been around humans as a cub. So what changes and why is the domestic moggy so different?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 31, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Artificial selection for neotony perhaps?

    • gravelinspector
      Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      The undomesticated moggy probably co-existed with early humans from when they started to do agriculture and grain storage. Rats (and mice) like grains ; cats like rats ; humans don’t eat rats (very often) ; cats don’t eat grain ; humans and cats can co-exist happily.
      Once you’ve got co-existence going, habituation and selection for the tamest is relatively easy. Cue domesticated moggy.
      Wossname’s experiments in Russia on breeding the Arctic Fox for fur over the last half-century or so shows how fast this can happen : a couple of human generations if you’re planning it.

    • gravelinspector
      Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      For the third time of trying (thanks to this “Gravatar” thing?),

      The undomesticated moggy probably co-existed with early humans from when they started to do agriculture and grain storage. Rats (and mice) like grains ; cats like rats ; humans don’t eat rats (very often) ; cats don’t eat grain ; humans and cats can co-exist happily.
      Once you’ve got co-existence going, habituation and selection for the tamest is relatively easy. Cue domesticated moggy.
      Wossname’s experiments in Russia on breeding the Arctic Fox for fur over the last half-century or so shows how fast this can happen : a couple of human generations, if you’re planning it.
      At first glance, the wolf is a worse target for un-planned domestication, being larger and more dangerous (the wildcats from which cats were probably domesticated are marginally smaller than modern not-too-fat cats). But domestication of wolves into dogs could have started while hunting and gathering, while the cats wouldn’t have acquired domestic utility until there were grain stocks to need rat control. So, dogs came first?

      • Bonzodog
        Posted March 31, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your excellent answer. I am still fascinated about why certain species are susceptible to domestication but other are not. I strongly suspect that you could select til doomsday tiger cubs and they would still be pretty wild animals at the end ! (and some of the most impressive and wonderful of all mammals …)

    • Posted March 31, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Actually, some pet lions are quite affectionate even when old. In Ecuador there was a low-budget military zoo near my house some years ago, and it had an adult male lion which had been donated when it got too big for its owner to care for. (The keepers would come by with wheelbarrows carrying a quarter of a donkey for it….this could not have been easy for a regular guy to handle at home). The lion’s name was Marco. I never went into his cage, but after a while he got to know me and he would rub against the bars when I came to visit him.
      (I didn’t tell him I really am a dog person.)

  2. Posted March 31, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    certainly made me smile. Thanks 🙂

  3. Posted March 31, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    my comment got lost. *sniff* I thought it was a delightful video & thanks for posting 🙂

  4. alexandra
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    How do you get a “job” like that? Does he have previous animal experience? Well, it is a delightful scene and I so hope those cherished cubs survive in the wild – they have lost some wilderness experience being raised by humans rather than their mum.
    Anyway, thanks

    • steve oberski
      Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The White Lions

      14 white lions have been successfully bred in the park since 2003 and they can all be seen at the Park. The aim of the Park’s continued breeding programme is to create a larger gene pool, from which to breed healthy white lions and to conserve this rare species.

  5. Liz Naples
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Dr. Coyne. I saw that one when you posted video of the squeaking cheetah cub. Makes me tear up everytime.

    Morning love from lions –

    Another man and his lions –

    Get well soon.

  6. Liz Naples
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

  7. gravelinspector
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I’m not the only one whose comment has got lost?

    • gravelinspector
      Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      No, it just didn’t display for a few minutes.

  8. Posted March 31, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on urbanperegrines.

  9. Roz
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    How sweet! What a lucky guy. He’s going to hate being back at the bank after spending 2 months with those cubs.

  10. Liz Naples
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Koko, the gorilla, and her kitty, All Ball:

    Another kitty:

  11. Marella
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Christian the lion remembers his carer from 35 years ago.

  12. Chris Moss
    Posted April 1, 2012 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    I know how to cheer you up – install AdBlock on Safari or Chrome and discover that in honour of All Fools’ Day it has turned into CatBlock – every ad replaced with a cat!See:
    http://adblockforchrome.blogspot.ca/2012/03/inturdusing-catblock.html


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Source: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/caturday-felid-a-farewell-to-cubs/ […]

%d bloggers like this: