Today marks the 3rd day of the countdown to the #Wildlife sensitization Talk taking place this Saturday at Ruyonza Primary school grounds in Ibanda District and we are talking about the Lion; also nicknamed “King of The Jungle“.
Lions are symbols of strength and courage and have been celebrated throughout history for these characteristics. They are also common symbols for royalty and stateliness, hence the phrase “king of the jungle”. They are the only big cats to live in groups, called prides. Prides are close family groups. Lions vary in color but typically sport light yellow-brown coats and mature male lions are unique among big cats due the thick brown or black manes that encircle their necks that protect them while fighting.
Lions are the largest African carnivores and a hungry lion pride feeds on many animals that pass through or share its home range. As specialized communal predators, a pride’s role includes keeping herbivore populations in balance with the resources available in their area of the plains.
Lions are the only truly social cat species, and usually every female in a pride of 5-37 individuals is closely related.
An adult lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away and warns off intruders or reunites scattered pride members.
Lions spend most of the day sleeping. And while they are inactive up to 21 hours a day, in the darkest, coolest hours of early morning the “queens of beasts” hunt as a team to catch a communal meal.
Although only one out of four hunting events is successful, dominant males always eat first, lionesses next, and cubs scramble for scraps and leftovers.
Pride lionesses frequently enter breeding season together and later give birth at the same time which allows them to share nursing and other maternal duties. Lionesses are caring mothers who will even take care of a neglected cub, allowing him/her to suckle and giving them a chance to survive.
Young cubs are vulnerable to predation or killing by hyenas, leopards and black-backed jackals. The cubs begin hunting at 11 months but remain under close of their mothers to protect them for at least two years.
Lions have terrific night vision. They are 6 times more sensitive to light than humans. This gives them a distinct advantage over some prey species when hunting at night.
The mane of the male lion is a distinctive characteristic of lions as no other big cats have them. It makes male lions appear larger, thus allowing them to be more intimidating. It also signals sexual maturity and health status; lionesses tend to favor denser and darker manes.
Be sure to catch your next read on a very funny animal: The Warthog