A photograph of two male lions in an apparent sexual encounter has caused quite a stir in Kenya—and the head of the country’s film censorship board thinks that the animals must have learned their behavior from humans.
“These animals need counseling, because probably they have been influenced by gays who have gone to the national parks and behaved badly,” Ezekiel Mutua, the chief executive of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), told Nairobi News.
Mutua’s comments after pictures taken by U.K.-based photographer Paul Goldstein showed two male lions retreating into a busy area in the Maasai Mara, a game reserve in southwest Kenya. One of the lions laid down and was mounted by the other.
“When lions mate it normally lasts a few seconds, these two were at it for over a minute and the obvious affection afterwards was very evident, as opposed to the violent withdrawal when male and female mate,” Goldstein told MailOnline.
Mutua is known as a moral crusader in Kenya and has banned television shows for purportedly promoting homosexuality and criticized lewd content.
The censor said that scientific research should be done to determine why the two male lions appeared to be mating. He suggested that their behavior may have been the result of demonic possession.
“I mean where on earth have you ever heard something like this happening. The demonic spirits inflicting in humans seems to have now caught up with animals,” said Mutua.
“That is why I will say isolate the crazy gay animals, study their behavior because it is not normal. The very idea of sex even among animals is for procreation. Two male lions cannot procreate and therefore we will lose the lion species.”
Homosexual behavior or same-sex relations have been observed in hundreds of different animal species, though it is almost entirely in addition to—rather than exclusively in place of—heterosexual activity. Besides humans, only male domestic sheep have been shown to prefer same-sex relationships for life when fertile females are available, the BBC reported.
Scientists are reluctant to use anthropomorphic terms—such as “gay” or “lesbian”—to describe animals that engage in same-sex activity, since the motivations for such activity are often unclear. Bonobos—a species of ape that is one of the closest extant human relatives—appear to engage in same-sex behavior for pleasure or occasionally to cement social bonds.
Meanwhile among birds, a 2008 study found that 31 percent of pairings of Laysan albatrosses on the Hawaiian island of Oahu were made up of two females. The females would rear chicks after mating with a male that was already in a committed pairing.
Mutua has waged a campaign against LGBT content in Kenya, a conservative country where homosexual relations between men can lead to 14 years of imprisonment.
He recently banned the broadcasting of Andi Mack, a Disney Channel show aimed at teenagers. A new storyline in the show has one of the male characters, 13-year-old Cyrus Goodman, telling a friend that he is attracted to another male character, Jonah Beck.
“When it comes to protecting children from exposure to bad content we are resolute and unapologetic,” said Mutua in a Facebook post confirming the ban. “The institution of family is sancrosanct [sic.]. It’s the basic unit of society and it’s derived from a union between a man and a woman. Any other doctrine, teaching or information is a heresy and a travesty!”
In 2016, the KFCB warned that Netflix was a threat to the country’s national security and moral values due to some of its content containing nudity, “irresponsible sexual behavior,” bad language and drug use.