Hunting. The Lion 🦁 is an excellent hunter, one of the best compared to other species. But it is not simply a matter of killing a prey and devouring it 🥩 . The survival of the group depends on the hunt and it is organized around it. For a herd of Lions, it is necessary to defend the territory, to feed and to reproduce. Concerning The Lions Reproduction, you can consult the article which relates to it.
1) the Lion Herd, a Collective Force
A herd of Lions has very strong emotional bonds ❤️. The males ♂ are very often from the same sibling and grew up together. They traveled huge distances and fought together before forming their clan. Females ♀ are very loyal and know that their survival and that of their offspring depends on the presence of males, mainly the dominant one. Then come the cubs 🐱, who spend most of their time having fun, especially very young, but are still integrated into the tasks of the whole herd.
The clan can reach 30 members, more often 25. On average, you might see 7 males for every 18 females, not counting the cubs that fluctuate in the group population. Not a bad ratio of males to females, eh 😻 ?
Everyone has a well-defined role. At the top of the hierarchy 👑 you find the dominant male. It is to him that falls the Defense Of The Territory and the heavy burden of perpetuating the herd. It is also him who will be challenged ⚡ in case of rebellion in the herd or newcomers showing a lot of ambition to become, in their turn, the dominant ones. The other males are there to defend the herd and the territory. They keep the group together, and when you observe a clan closely, you can see the cubs 🐱 playing around the males or jumping on them. One of them will take the dominant‘s place if he is killed in a fight.
The females ensure the hunting. So they provide the majority of the food supply 🥩 of the herd, with the Lion taking care of a very small portion, about 10%, of the game, but you’ll see that later. The other essential task of the lionesses is their reproductive capacity, as you would expect, lions do not reproduce on their own. So they will also be in charge of the education of the cubs and will train them in hunting and fighting 😈.
2) the Lion Is a Killing Machine
It is the “Terminator” of felines ⚜️. His entire body is conditioned to kill his prey quickly. He is an intelligent and efficient killer. The Panthera Leo species fights for two things, defending the clan and hunting. In the case of hunting, in the majority of cases, the surface covers 100 km², so that you represent the immense territory of hunting, it is the surface of Paris. Sometimes they happen to follow the movement of prey over tens of kilometers 🙀.
The tip of its tail is an undeveloped vertebra covered with a tuft of hair. According to the researchers, it would have two functions. First, to chase flies, the Lion would use it as a kind of giant fag 😹. Secondly, it would serve as a spur to come and sting the animal’s flanks when it frantically waves it around before charging at an enemy.
Let’s move on to the real bloodthirsty killer characteristics. First of all a male weighs up to 250 kg and a female 185 kg. They are mountains of muscles and can run up to 60 km/h! Imagine such mass at that speed ⚡ ! They can charge buffaloes, wildebeest and even elephants 🐘 ! Lions are also capable of prodigious jumps, 3m70 high and 11 m long. They could easily jump over two cars.
To kill his enemies, he uses his paws 🐾 and his mouth. The power of these paw strikes allows him to break bones 🦴 with a single blow and cause enormous damage to internal organs leaving no chance of escape to his opponent. They also house sheaths of skin that protect the animal’s retractable claws. They come out in a flash and can tear any skin. Its mouth contains 6 cm long and sharp canines. To plant them in the body of its prey, it can develop a pressure of 425 kg/cm², almost 4 times more than a hippopotamus 🦛 and 3 times more than a pit bull. Such a power allows him to stay attached to his prey even if it struggles or tries to run away.
But the Lion is not only an extraordinary physical force, he also has a head start thanks to his sharp eyesight 👁️ and his whiskers. He has binocular, two-eyed, and stereoscopic vision, which allows him to see volumes and distances very well. During the day, his eyesight is nothing exceptional, but at night, his perception is about 6 times better than that of a human. If you wanted to go for a night walk in the Savannah, you would have no chance to see him coming 😈. His whiskers, called vibrissae, are extremely sensitive to vibrations and allow Lions to truly sense movement, which enhances their effectiveness, especially at night 🌙, as to where to do most of their hunting.
It also knows how to defend itself. In case of attack, the Lion’s mane 🦁 serves to cushion the blows and prevent bites. It is believed that Lions with a large and imposing mane have a better chance of survival in a confrontation. They have naturally become the favorites of females who, like all species, favor a male’s ability to survive and defend his own.
A. The Lion Hunt !
As said before, the males participate a little bit in the hunt. They hunt alone and at night 🌑. According to a study conducted in the Kruger National Park 🏞️ in South Africa, the Lion would like to stay lurking in the darkness of the tall grass and ambush its enemies to jump down their throats.
Most of the hunting is therefore organized around the lionesses. Lighter than males, they are also faster 💨 and are trained in strategy from a young age. Lionesses hunt in groups and this is their greatest strength. Group spirit is highly developed in the Lion, throughout the clan, but group cohesion is especially impressive in the lionesses when they hunt. Their main targets are wildebeest, herbivores of about 150 kg and 150 cm at the withers and antelopes, also herbivores 🦓, which can weigh up to 800 kg and measure 1.80 m!
Without a good strategy, these animals are very difficult to hunt, each of which can run at more than 50 km/h and reach peak speeds of 80 km/h for wildebeest. Therefore, the lionesses wait until night to discreetly approach their prey 🐃. Of course, not all the lionesses in the herd take part in the hunt. When one group leaves, the others stay mainly to take care of the cubs 🐱 who are not old enough, less than 6 months or so, to come hunting with them. In rare cases, the lionesses apply the same technique as the males, namely, to hide in the dense and high vegetation and wait for the passage of a prey to jump at its throat, all canines out.
But their most effective technique 🔥 is hunting in groups. 6 to 8 lionesses approach by crawling, hidden by the grasses. Remember that their prey is mostly herbivorous, so they use that against them. Without making a sound, they progress. Inch by inch. Their breathing makes a slight whistling sound from the excitement of the action to come, but the ruminants don’t hear them. They graze, clustered around a grove and a clump of grass large enough to feed them tonight.
One or two lionesses separate themselves from the others and begin to walk around the herd of meat 🍖 thrilling. Slowly, the two lionesses move forward and take care that the game does not suspect anything. Once stationed opposite their fellows, the fate of the herbivores is almost sealed. They suddenly emerge from the grass and terrorize their prey by roaring. The future lunch is completely panicked 😈 and in the rush they separate and run in all directions. Instinctively fear pushes them to flee in the opposite direction to the lionesses and they go straight into the trap set by the hunters.
The two scouts continue their slow progress to lead the flock back to their slaughterhouse 😼. Have you ever seen sheep dogs guiding sheep through the pasture? Here, it’s the same thing, only less peaceful. The other lionesses had stayed on the lookout and when the panicked beasts pass by, the macabre vice 💀 closes in on them. Two lionesses throw themselves on the animal’s rump to bring it down and immobilize it in a flash. With a leap, another lioness rushes to the offered neck of the prey and closes her powerful jaw. The lioness’s saber-sharp canines sever its carotid artery in a spray of blood 🔴.
A Lion troop, to survive, launches this kind of hunt once or twice a week depending on the success and the amount of meat 🥩 the hunters recover. To survive a Lion eats on average 5 kg of meat per day, but they sometimes gobble up 25 to 30 kg of meat in one meal. An attack ⚡ like the one you just read succeeds about one time out of three, the Savannah 🏞️ being vast, the prey sometimes have the opportunity to flee to the sides of the ambush, or else, the lionesses who have to immobilize them miss their target, etc.
B. Dinner Is Ready !
Once the meat 🍖 is made available to the clan, the hierarchy takes over. The dominant 🌟 and the other males feed first. It has already been observed a violent behavior of a male towards a female to signify that he had priority access to the carcass. Then comes the turn of the females, hunters are thus rewarded for their efforts and those who stayed in the clan with the cubs 🐱 will have enough to stay healthy to nurse the cubs. The last to eat are the weaned cubs, that is, those over 6 months old.
Everything you just read is the most common representation, in the collective mind, of what life is like for a lion 🦁. Only there is another truth. Lions are also petty and thieving 😈. They often profit from hunting other species, such as hyenas and African wild dogs, wild dogs. These animals, much smaller in size than our majestic maned predators, have a long-standing rivalry with them. These three species have in common that they hunt in packs and at night 🌙. Because of this, they often meet in the middle of the bush and their competition immediately takes over, especially if fresh meat is at stake. So lionesses can come to attack hyenas, the ideal is if they have been tired from hunting. The reverse is also true and entire groups of female hunters are decimated by long-toothed rivals who want to spare themselves the pain of a hunt.
3) the Predator of the Lion : Man
The adult Lion 🦁 has no predator. If we exclude deaths in power struggles or to defend its clan and territory, the Lion is not hunted by any other wild animal. Yet its population has dropped from 100,000 in the 1960s to less than 25,000 today 🙀.
Your species, our species, is wiping out the Lions. Some offshoots of the species, like the West African Lions, survive with 400 members. The lack of genetic diversity will drive them to extinction, if man does not complete his work before 😡.
Why do men kill 😵 Lions? If you look at history, men used to slaughter Lions for prestige 👑 to display trophies, or to wear their skins, like the Commodus Emperor who wore a lion skin, like Hercules, when he participated in the games. Lion hunting, called “sport hunting,” is still practiced today. From taxes to slaughter, trophy resale, license to kill, everything is monetized by Man for millions of dollars 🤑. Some people breed Lions for hunting. Some Lions are also hunted by tribes, for rites of passage to adulthood or to reach the top of the clan hierarchy.
Fortunately, in the 1990s and 2000s, reserves 🏞️ were created, hunting and poaching were banned and a small amount of Lions could live there serenely. They are located in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa and are now sanctuaries for Lions 🦁. Few of them live outside these reserves. But these reserves present a major risk to the Lions: disease. Outside of their wild plains, they hunt buffaloes 🐃 that have mingled with domestic cattle and are infected with tuberculosis. This one has decimated a whole part of the Lions of the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Another consequence of their current lifestyle is the feline immunodeficiency virus, often referred to as cat AIDS. Lions‘ immune systems are severely weakened and, unable to fight off disease, Lions become weakened and eventually die 🙀.
The image of the strong, powerful and courageous Lion ⚜️ must therefore be weighed against the fragility of the species on a global scale, and especially in the face of Man.
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