An amateur photographer snapped two male lions engaging in what appears to be sexual activity at a Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, England.
Russ Bridges, from nearby Rotherham, told Mercury Press, ‘There are two males and a female in that pride. One of the lions suddenly got up, walked over and jumped on his friend’s back.’
He said that the incident was witnessed by several onlookers, many of whom found it funny.
— The Independent (@Independent) August 28, 2017
He suggested that the lion on top may have been exerting dominance over the other lion, or reacting to the fact that the nearby lioness was not acting in a receptive manner.
‘Every time a male went near her she snarled and swiped their faces with her paw.
‘It’s not really unusual for them to act that way sometimes. I don’t know if it’s a dominance thing or something like that – it looks as if they are aggressive, but it’s all play between friends.’
Although there are many examples of same-sex attraction and sexual encounters across the animal kingdom, many on social media also reacted with humor to the photos.
‘God created Simba and Eve, not Simba and Steve,’ joked @DazmCQ on Twitter.
‘It is Pride season after all,’ said @BearMichael67
@MisterPreda simply called them ‘LGBTQ+ trailblazers of the animal kingdom.’
Other users of social media compared the female lion to a popular recent meme, when a female extra in a gay porn film feigned outrage at two men having sex in front of her while she ate her salad.
In his landmark book on homosexuality in the animal world, Biological Exuberance, Bruce Bagemihl reports on several instances of lions displaying same-sex attraction.
‘In lions, homosexual behavior in females is fairly common in captivity, while in the wild, two Lionesses were observed to mount each other three times over two days. In males, homosexual mounting may account for up to 8 per cent of all mounting episodes.’