In the realm of big cats, where strength and courage abound, lions have earned the illustrious title of the “king of beasts.” It might seem counterintuitive, considering there are larger and more formidable big cat species, such as the Siberian tiger. So, what distinguishes lions and elevates them to this regal status?
This was one of two huge males that we found on a buffalo kill on an early morning drive. The kill was out in the open and the sun was already hot, so he sought shade at the side of our vehicle. Not easy to get an image like this when the fellow is less than 3m from the end of your lens!
On average, lions weigh 190kg, while lionesses can weigh up to 126kg.
They need this weight and power behind them to hunt large prey and defend their pride.
This particular pride of lions spent 3 days on a buffalo kill. Luckily for us, the kill was out in the open and not too far from the Lodge we were staying at. This meant that both morning and evening dries began by watching them reduce the carcass to bones over the three days.
In the realm of the wild, when a lion pride successfully takes down formidable prey like a buffalo, their communal dining etiquette becomes a fascinating spectacle. Rather than indulging in immediate consumption, these majestic predators often opt to linger in the vicinity of the carcass until every ounce of sustenance has been gleaned.
The tongue of a lion is as rough as sandpaper, meaning they are able to lick remaining meat off the bones once the majority of the flesh has been consumed.
Yet, rough as it is, it can be used with gentleness when it comes to grooming both themselves and the cubs.
This is my serious look…
Cubs can remain hidden for up to two months before being introduced to the rest of the pride. This is for their safety as lions have been known to kill offspring.
Time to head out to do something mischievous while the adults are sleeping.
A word of warning, never assume that lions are fast asleep and try to approach on foot. They can go from perceived ‘deep sleep’ to wide awake in a heartbeat.
The fastest human on the planet is Usain Bolt who can attain a speed of 37.578 km/h in a 100m sprint. As to how long he can maintain this speed is debatable, but I believe that is would not last much past the 200m mark. Lions can clock 81 km/h, which means that they could be capable of doing the 100 in around 6 seconds! It is simply no contest.
The key to the success of a pride lies in their sociability – a trait that sets lions apart from their big cat counterparts. Prides that can comprise up to 40 members, as lions find strength in numbers.
Unlike other solitary big cats like tigers and leopards, lions are not quick to retreat at the first sign of danger. Their safety, afforded by the social structure of the pride allows them to confidently linger in the open, even in the presence of potential threats.
When I am big you WILL fear me.
Lions have become prominent figures throughout history, capturing the imaginations of storytellers and earning the moniker “king of the beasts.”
Having once inhabited large parts of the Middle East and Asia, lions are now found only in Africa and Western India’s Gir Forest. It is estimated that there are less than 25,000 left in the wild. Because of this, the species is classified as vulnerable to extinction, making protection of the Ishasha Valley(in the DRC) population crucial to its survival.
There is still buffalo left? What I would give for a leg of impala. The pride gorged themselves for 3 days before ambling off to a neighbouring property, leaving what was left of the carcass fro the clean up crew…vultures, hyena and jackals.
A moment of quiet in the chaos of sharing a carcass. The entire pride would take turns at the carcass and as the days rolled into each other and the food source dwindled there was very little squabbling within the member of this large pride.
Vegetables? What are these vegetables of which you speak? We carnivores to not eat them.
This strategic decision stems from the abundance of food available, effectively mitigating internal squabbles within the pride. During this extended feast, the alpha male, lionesses, and particularly the cubs revel in the opportunity to satiate their hunger, venturing only to a nearby dam for essential water replenishment.
I love you mom.
I waited for almost two days to finally be in the right place and at the right time to capture this image.
Our observations and interactions of this particular pride revealed an extraordinary three-day rendezvous with their conquest, a period during which the vultures and hyenas kept a watchful eye on the diminishing feast.This captivating saga served as a testament to the intricate dynamics of survival and competition in the unforgiving wilderness, offering a glimpse into the captivating interactions of these apex predators.
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