A Belgian woman on safari captured the moment two male lions were mating in a national park in Botswana.
Nicole Cambre said her guide told her the pair had been displaying such behavior for around a week, according to Daily Mail.
“These males had pushed out the resident males earlier in the year and the other female lions had headed into the Mopani woodlands; an area difficult to access with a safari vehicle,” Cambre said, the Mail reported.
“Only one lioness was seen in the [center] of the concession where the male lions were and the lions showed no interest in the lioness, leading to the assumption that she may have been pregnant,” she added.
Biologists have reported homosexual behavior in about 450 species of animals. These include bison, beetles, Flamingos and warthogs.
“It is the first time I have seen homosexual behavior in lions, but when reading about it upon my return, it is not that uncommon. With the light just around sunset, it gave some spectacular images,” Cambre said.
While animals have been seen engaging in homosexual mating for decades, most cases were taken to be anomalies, BBC reported.
Paul Vasey, a scientist who has studied Japanese macaques, found that females regularly mate with each other.
“So many females of the group are engaging in this behavior and there are males sitting around twiddling their thumbs,” Vasey told BBC. “There's got to be a reason for this. There is no way the behavior can be evolutionarily irrelevant.”
Vasey noted that females who engaged in same-sex mating were still interested in mating with male macaques.
In flocks of sheep, it has been estimated that around 8 percent of the males prefer other males, even when fertile females are present. A 1994 study by neuroscientists discovered that a part of their brain was different when compared to heterosexual animals.
However, the tendency for sheep to show a lifelong preference for homosexual behavior has only been observed in domesticated sheep. It remains unclear whether wild sheep behave similarly.