It’s not the kind of friendship you’d anticipate to see in Africa’s wilds.
But this kind lion was photographed getting along with a delicate butterfly at a wildlife preserve in Botswana.
In the afternoon sunshine, the brave butterfly flies in and lands on the lion’s paw while he washes himself, and the lion appears to be very attached to his new companion.
Kobus Swart, 46, from Pretoria, South Africa, was on a camping trip with his wife and some friends when he captured the adorable photos.
“The lion was engaged in an intensive grooming process, washing himself from top to bottom.
“Once while he was cleaning his paw, a butterfly landed on it, presumably seeking some moisture.
“He’d been fluttering around the lion for a few minutes, and it appeared he was searching for an opportunity to settle somewhere secure.
“It was only there for a few seconds, and the lion just appeared to look at it intently. He could have devoured it in one smooth bite.”
“When it left, he appeared genuinely disappointed; it was like they had formed a very adorable bond.
“We were fortunate to witness such a serene close-up lion encounter, so we were blessed.”
“The lioness was fast asleep the whole time, but the male was cleaning himself completely. They’d been seen and heard mating in the area over the previous few days, so he must have been using the opportunity to improve his appearance for his lady!”