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He’s my mane man: Gay lions are spotted putting on very rare public display of affection in Kenya – Daily Mail

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 in 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. 

Gay pride: Two male lions were spotted engaging in sexual activity on the Masai Mara in Kenya

Gay pride: Two male lions were spotted engaging in sexual activity on the Masai Mara in Kenya

Gay pride: Two male lions were spotted engaging in sexual activity on the Masai Mara in Kenya

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. 

In the jungle: The couple appear to have walked into some bushes to get some privacy

In the jungle: The couple appear to have walked into some bushes to get some privacy

In the jungle: The couple appear to have walked into some bushes to get some privacy

Hakuna matata: One of the lions lie down under the bushes as the other climbs on top of it 

Hakuna matata: One of the lions lie down under the bushes as the other climbs on top of it 

Hakuna matata: One of the lions lie down under the bushes as the other climbs on top of it 

Damn, they've seen us: The happy couple then engaged in a love-making session that lasted for at least a minute, according to the photographer

Damn, they've seen us: The happy couple then engaged in a love-making session that lasted for at least a minute, according to the photographer

Damn, they’ve seen us: The happy couple then engaged in a love-making session that lasted for at least a minute, according to the photographer

‘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 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.’  

Happy hump-day! Homosexual activity is not unknown among lions, especially males, and scientists report that some eight per cent of all observed mountings in the wild are male on male

Happy hump-day! Homosexual activity is not unknown among lions, especially males, and scientists report that some eight per cent of all observed mountings in the wild are male on male

Happy hump-day! Homosexual activity is not unknown among lions, especially males, and scientists report that some eight per cent of all observed mountings in the wild are male on male

Can you feel the love tonight: The photographer observed the couple affectionately nuzzling each other after the mounting

Can you feel the love tonight: The photographer observed the couple affectionately nuzzling each other after the mounting

Can you feel the love tonight: The photographer observed the couple affectionately nuzzling each other after the mounting

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.

HOMOSEXUALITY AMONG ANIMALS: CAN ANIMALS BE GAY?

Not unheard of: The male lion couple in Kenya

Not unheard of: The male lion couple in Kenya

Not unheard of: The male lion couple in Kenya

According to Darwin, the sexual impulses of animals are designed to cause reproduction, and are therefore necessarily heterosexual.

But recent research suggests that homosexual animals – often dismissed by biologists as the exceptions that prove the rule – may be more common than previously thought.

Some biologists claim ‘gay’ animal behaviour has been spotted in 1,500 different species, and reliably recorded in a third of these cases – roughly 450 species. 

Animals that have displayed homosexual behavior include emus, chickens, koalas, salmon, cats, owls and dolphins.

According to research, about a fifth of captive king penguins are gay and it is common for male black swans to raise cygnets as a couple – possibly to provide better protection.

Zoologist Petter Bockman, an expert on the subject at the University of Oslo, dismisses those who draw political implications from the scientific findings.

He says: ‘If you ask: ‘Can animals be gay?’ The short answer is: ‘Yes.’ ‘Gay’ is a human word, however, so we prefer to use the word ‘homosexual’ for animals.

‘Sexuality is not just about making babies, it is also about making the flock work. For some animals, homosexuality is normal flock behaviour.’

He says the issue has long been taboo for researchers who are ‘fearful of being ridiculed by their colleagues’. 

Farmers often come across bulls and rams that simply refuse to mate with females, he claims, and, in 2004, Charles Roselli at the Ohio Health and Science University reported that about eight per cent of domestic rams prefer other males.

Bockman curated an exhibition Against Nature’s Order for the Norwegian Natural History Museum. One Pentecostal minister told him he would ‘burn in hell’ for his work.

Another said the money would be better spent ‘curing gay animals’.

Why do animals indulge in homosexuality?

There are many reasons. In tribal animals, homosexuality sometimes takes on a social role – occupying unwanted males or bonding male members of the pack.

In other species, the reasons are less clear. 

‘Birds are really complicated,’ says Bockman. ‘What goes on in birds’ brains is anyone’s guess.’

Male black swans will often bring up cygnets together – involving females only in the initial breeding process. This could be because males are better able to protect the young.

Sources: The Telegraph and The Daily Mail 

Mr Goldstein is set to hold several charity lecture evenings with TV presenter Chris Packham, more information can be found here. 

Source Article from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5038387/Gay-lions-spotted-putting-Kenya.html
He’s my mane man: Gay lions are spotted putting on very rare public display of affection in Kenya – Daily Mail
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