Orphaned Lion Cub and Caracal Kittens Create New Family at African Reserve

More on PawNation: africa, caracal, lion, lion cub, LionCub, lioness, orphaned cubs, OrphanedCubs, pumba private game reserve, PumbaPrivateGameReserve, safari, sheba

lion cub with caracal kitten picturesSheba, a lion cub, cuddles up with caracal kittens Jack and Jill. Photo: Miller and Maclean / Splash News

Does it get any cuter than a picture of furry babies from different species showing each other some love? Actually, it does. The story of how this trio of unlikely pals came together -- living at South Africa's Pumba Private Game Reserve Rehabilitation Center -- will warm your heart.

The lion cub, Sheba, was the first of the three animals to arrive at Pumba. Her mother had birthed a litter of three, but two of the newborns died, and the lioness abandoned her only surviving cub, Sheba. A call went out to the Pumba reserve, asking if they would bring Sheba into their Rehabilitation Center. Pumba's Dale Howarth wrote on the reserve's blog that they took her on the condition that the facility would adopt and rehabilitate her over 18 months with the ultimate goal of releasing her back into the wild.

Two days after Sheba came to Pumba, the reserve received a call to help another cat species. This time, two caracals (who are also referred to as desert lynx) were orphaned when a pack of hunting dogs killed their mother. The huntsman knew about Pumba's Rehabilitation Center and called to see if the reserve could help.

"This opportunity seemed to be so coincidental with getting the lioness a few days earlier, that we immediately accepted as now we would have company for the lioness and each other as they grow up," Howarth wrote. They named the caracal cubs Jack and Jill.

All three are survivors. Sheba turned 5 weeks old on April 1. She has quadrupled her weight, is walking and has opened her eyes. The caracal kittens Jack and Jill are thriving right alongside her.

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