Amazing Three-Legged Lion Shows Resilience After Losing Leg to Poacher’s Trap

Given their power, prowess, and place in the food chain, one may not expect to see a vulnerable side to lions. Unfortunately, however, trophy hunting and poaching have drastically affected the big cats' populations, historic range, and—as in the case of Clarence, a dominant male lion—individual livelihood.

In 2011, Clarence became trapped in a deadly poaching snare in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park. Fortunately, he was found by rangers from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, who immediately brought him to the park's vet upon realizing the shocking state of his nearly severed left hind leg. To spare Clarence from a life of pain and possible infection, the vet decided to amputate the limb, leaving the poor lion with three legs and a unique limp.

Following the procedure, Clarence was released back into the wild. While the operation had been successful, rangers feared that Clarence would inevitably face a range of obstacles once back in the park, from mobility difficulties to finding his place in his reorganized pride.

To their surprise, however, the lion immediately adjusted to life on three legs and was warmly welcomed back into the pride by his brother, Bernie. Though he had taken Clarence's place as dominant male, he showed his brother great compassion by guiding him, protecting him, and even hunting for him.

Unfortunately, in 2013, Bernie was tragically killed by a trap similar to the one that had impaired his brother. Without a dominant male, the fate of the pride was at stake, and Clarence was left exceptionally vulnerable. However, in 2014, wildlife photographer and writer Corne Schalkwyk spotted Clarence, and observed something remarkable: “We were once again, stunned and surprised to recently find Clarence not only alive and well, but feeding on a buffalo carcass,” he reports. “This really is the lion that could and will survive against any odds Africa throws at him.”

For information about how you can help lions like Clarence and Bernie, visit the African Wildlife Foundation's website.

This is Clarence, a three-legged lion living in Uganda.

After he was injured by a poacher's trap, his compassionate brother, Bernie, helped him get back on his feet.

Talk about resilience!

Murchison Falls National Park: Website | Facebook 

h/t: [Reddit, Emerging Destinations, Travel With Corne Schalkwyk]

Related Articles:

11 Years of Love and Friendship Between a Lion and the Man Who Raised Him

Portraits of Disabled Animals Highlight the Beauty of Their Imperfections

Conserving Africa’s Wildlife Through Photography

Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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