A photograph taken by wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein featuring two male lions seemingly in an intimate mood is now the hottest talking topic among wildlife buffs all around the world. After seeing the rare photograph, many people claimed that these lions are gays, and they are indulging in a sexual encounter in front of the camera. The image was clicked in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve.
Now, renowned wildlife expert Craig Packer, the director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota has revealed that these lions have nothing to do with sexuality, instead, they are showing their affection towards each other.
According to Craig Packer, it is the homophobic mindset of Kenyan people which is compelling them to make such remarks.
"It's rare, it's not really sexual and it tells us a lot more about those officials in Kenya and their homophobia than anything else. It's a bizarre overreaction," told Packer to Live Science.
According to Packer, the photograph shows male intimacy, not male sexuality. He further explains that these lions spent their whole life to reproduce. This peculiar group of lions works together in small groups of three or four called coalitions. The group works together to drive off rival lion gangs and tries to take over the pride of the females. The large lion in the coalition will get more chances to mate the females, thus likely to produce offsprings more than any other individual in the group. Sometimes, these lions may also kill the babies delivered by the female lions from their previous partners.
As per Packer, lions in the coalition will be more affectionate towards each other, and they have nothing to do with sexuality. On rare occasions, these lions show the mounting behaviour, but ejaculation will take place only with the female counterparts.
All blame on humans
After the photograph went viral, Ezekiel Mutua, the Chief Executive of Kenya's Film Classification Board blamed human beings for instigating demonic thoughts like homosexuality in the minds of lions. Mutua believes that the concept of male-to-male mounting might have entered the lion's mind after it saw some gay human indulging in sexual activities in some corners of the National Reserve.
"They have been influenced by gays who have gone to the national parks and behaved badly," told Mutua to Nairobi Times. He also added that the demonic spirits inflicting in humans have now caught up with animals too.