1) the Boundaries of the Space Occupied by the Lion : the Territory and Its Borders
If the King of Animals 🦁 has long been one of the most feared predators 🔥 on the planet, it should be known that the territories they can occupy today are globally quite small. In a bygone era, the Lion was the terrestrial mammal at the top of the food chain with the most spread out geographical distribution 🙀. Lions were then found in Eastern and Southern Europe, the Middle East, and from India to South Africa. Going back even further into the past, the species can be found on the American continent as well…
A. Territories Where the Lion Lives
Today Lions live primarily in herds throughout sub-Saharan Africa 🌍, from Senegal to Ethiopia and East Africa. Some also live farther south in a vast area between Botswana and Tanzania. Only a few specimens of Asian Lions still survive in India, mainly in the protected area of the Gir Forest National Park 🏞️.
Due to the development of human activities and poaching their territories are unfortunately reduced to protected areas and nature reserves. Although Lions have almost completely disappeared from other continents, they are still present in Africa and remain the largest predators of the Savannah and bush 😈.
These spaces on the great African continent are still quite large and it is within them that Lions mark their own territories.
B. The Territory and the Clan
The Lion rarely lives alone, it is only the case of some males in specific conditions, we will talk about it later. The latter can then move over hundreds of kilometers 🐾 without having a really defined territory.
The Lion is a social animal 😼, lions live in a rather matriarchal society, like a family. The groups are mostly composed of females and a few males, one of which dominates 👑 the most of the time.
However, the territory and the clan are intimately linked, since the size of the former influences the density of the latter. A very large territory will have larger lion clans living in it, we will then be able to count several males and dozens of females and many cubs 🐱 for a single group. The clans vary from three to thirty individuals depending on the size and quality of the territory but the females are always the most numerous 😺, at least twice as many as the males.
2) the Lion Territory, What Is It?
The territory is the area inhabited by a troop of Lions 🦁, this is where they live, hunt, raise their young and stay safe. The territory is chosen according to the number of potential prey that inhabit it, there are usually several thousand herbivores 🦓 for a few Lions. But also according to the presence of water points and the number of members in the Lions clan.
The larger the group, the larger occupied territory will be. In the opposite direction, the more a territory will be rich in potential prey 🐃 to hunt down, the more the clan will be able to grow and live there in a perennial way… Thus the surface area of a troop’s territory varies between 20 and 500 square kilometers. Lions are great hunters and can move within their territory to find the prey that will guarantee their meals 🥩.
Lions live naturally in the Savannah, in semi-open forests 🌳 or in desert seedlings, they adapt well and can live in different habitats and in different climates from temperate to tropical.
The organization of a lion clan resides in different factors related to the territory: If it is the female lions who hunt most often, it is the male lions who are in charge of the protection of the troop and thus the defense of the territory.
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A. How Is the Territory Marked?
The Lion uses different means to mark the boundaries of his territory. They deposit feces and urine to mark the boundaries of the occupied territory 🙀. They can also scrape the ground and trees with their paws ? front and back to deposit a substance secreted by ano-genital glands present in the paw pads. The main markers are therefore olfactory and are intended in particular for other lions, clans or solitaries that might want to settle down. In case of approach or intrusion the male lions also use their roars to let people know that the territory is occupied and must not be penetrated 😾. The roar of a Lion can be heard from several kilometers away, and in some cases it can be a way to signal the presence of a territory before its borders are reached.
B. Why Mark His Territory?
The Lion marks his territory to signal himself and ✊ protect the troop. While it is true that this terrible carnivorous feline has no predators other than humans and lives mainly in protected areas where hunting is prohibited, other lion troops or solitary males can be a potential danger ⚡. Territory marking acts as a boundary that will signal to other lions the presence of the clan. Thus, scent markers can discourage the less courageous lions from attacking the dominant male of the clan and convince them to stay away or even turn back.
3) Let’s Talk Again About Solitary Lions and the Clans
To understand how a 🦁 Lion can be solitary when we said above that it was a social animal, we must go back a little on the organization and structure of the clan.
A. The Structure and Organization of a Clan Over Time
We said that a clan is formed mostly of females ♀, then come the cubs in number and finally only a few males.
The females are related to each other, which means that they have blood ties. The adult males are not necessarily related and will not remain dominant ? all their life. For a clan to contain only a very small number of adult males it necessarily means that the cubs are hunted when they are big enough. Young lions reach their social and sexual maturity around the age of three, at which time they will be forced to leave the clan ➡️ in which they grew up.
When one or more of the young lions 🦁 leave the clan in which they were raised, they can either go off on their own or form coalitions. In the latter case the young males ♂ will develop very strong bonds and will leave together in search of a new clan.
We have mentioned the fact that it is mainly the females who take care of the hunting and therefore provide the clan with food 🐃. It is therefore essential for the lions to quickly find a new clan to join.
B. The Creation of a New Clan by Young Lions
The young lions who leave the clan in which they were born quickly set out in search of a new clan. they are what we call the lonely lions, at the time of their search they have no precise territory and can travel many kilometers 🐾 to find a new clan. Only to integrate a clan of which they are going to become the dominant ones it implies to hunt the males in place at the moment of their arrival. The young lions therefore penetrate the territories of other lion troops and fight very hard to remove the dominant male and take his place 👑. By doing so, the young lion finds a number of females with whom he can reproduce and ensures his offspring 🐱. He will also benefit from the results of the hunting of females, which will allow him to feed more easily. And he will also begin to mark the territory as his own.
C. What About Hunted Lions?
The dominant males left behind by the young newcomers are likely to remain solitary until the end. Lions, if they can hunt alone, are less efficient than a group of females, which greatly diminishes their chances of survival.
Thus the lifespan of a female is 12 to 20 years in the wild, that of male lions is much shorter, they are either killed by young lions when they lose their dominant position, or condemned to wander and then to death 😵 after having been driven out of their clan.
4) the Territory, the Clan, the Cycle in the Life of the Male Lion :
In summary the lions mark their territory using all the means at their disposal to protect themselves mainly from other felines 😼. Every dominant Lion has once been a young lion in search of a clan, so he knows that he is at risk of being attacked by younger ones. As the lion has no natural predator, it is from its younger and more valiant fellow creatures that it must protect itself. Territory marking is a means of maintaining dominance as long as possible, so marking territory is part of an endless cycle in the life of lion clans.
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