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Several years ago we read of a girl who was apparently threatened by humans being protected by lions who chases off the males and stayed with the girl. Explanations like, "her crying resembled that of a cub" etc. were invoked.

Why is it so hard to believe that adult lions who almost certainly know the difference between a lion cub and a human could not have been acting altruistically as they sometimes apparently do with, for example, prey animals that they sometimes encounter? If a domesticated dog or cat protects a human, we accept that they know what they are doing, do not confuse the human with their own young. Lions are plausibly more intelligent than a dog or cat or at least within the dog/cat range.

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    $\begingroup$ It would be great if you link the article which reports this and also the ones that provide the explanations? $\endgroup$
    – WYSIWYG
    Sep 23, 2019 at 8:02

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