Many people are under the assumption that lions and lionesses can count due to them having the ability to automatically sense when one of their cubs are missing. Lionesses aren’t known for actually having numeric knowledge, but they are incredibly well-versed in facial recognition. Wildlife experts claim that their ability to tell each one of their cubs apart due to their individual facial features is what really allows them to distinguish if a cub is missing from the pack.
- Ranger Nick Sims some years ago captured a Tsalala lioness carrying her cubs affectionately through the middle of the Manyelethi riverbed to some huge boulders.
- After the lioness had carried the two cubs from her den across the river, instead of settling down to rest, it went back to the den to sniff it.
- The author postulates that the lioness thought there was another cub to fetch that was why it went down to the den again to sniff it.
“We aren’t going to go too deeply into a discussion of the relative intelligence levels of the big cats here, but it struck me the other day that a grasp of basic arithmetic would be quite important in lionesses.”