lion king of jungle

Is the Lion the King of the Jungle ?

Our team being obviously big supporters of the Lions (Panthera Leo for the purists), we could say that the lion is THE king and that no other animal comes close to him. However, this would be a lie because contrary to popular belief the lion is not the most powerful animal. The criteria to define the “King of the Jungle” are quite subjective and the image of the lion is specific to each culture.

lion statue cloud

The symbol of the lion is very powerful, it is probably the king of animals in terms of presence and symbol. It takes the name of king of animals for its crown-like mane, social family life, aggressiveness and reckless courage. However, he is not the king in terms of size, strength and intelligence to our great dismay.

1) Physical Superiority of the Tiger

If we base the king of animals on physical superiority, most people think that the tiger is the big winner because it has all the qualities of a perfect predator.

  • Beauty
  • Colossal size
  • Unmatched power and strength
  • Discretion
  • Agility
  • Flexible and easy to maneuver limbs
  • Can climb
  • Can Swim
  • Amazing senses of sight, smell and hearing
  • A skilled and intelligent fighter
  • Intelligent
  • Deadly
  • Powerful jaws
  • Long claws and teeth
  • A great hunter
Roaring tiger

2) The King of the Animals, a False Belief ?

As we saw in the article on the lion’s habitat, the lion does not live in the forest (except in and around the Girnâr and Sasan Gir ranges, 3 other protected mixed savannah and tropical dry forest environments) or in the jungle (except for the Congolese jungle part of Central Africa). But, once spread over the African continent, Asia, South Asia, Europe, North America and South America, the deciduous forests and savannahs contained 7 to 8 wild species of lions in prehistoric times.Nowadays, it lives in the dry, hot and humid sub-Saharan savannah, within the open grasslands, scrublands of Africa and in the wildlife sanctuary.

In the West, the lion is seen as the “King of the Animals” because of its majestic appearance and its mane, which makes it look more imposing than it really is. (In evolution, the mane was developed to intimidate enemies, to attract the opposite sex, but not for combat. The protection became an evolutionary advantage giving some protection in territorial fights). This large carnivore has evolved about 1m20 during its adaptation with its head always high in order to watch its preys always in a process of natural selection and survival.

The definition of a human king does not really apply to animals because in a fight between a tiger and a lion, we all know that the lion would not be able to compete.

If the lion has become the king in the West, it would be explained by the fact that the West did not know much about tigers in the past because they dominated mainly Africa and Asia. Moreover, many TV channels prefer documentaries about lions than about tigers. This may be due to the tigers’ natural habitat of dense forest.

woman ride lion

3) A Question of Culture

In Asia, almost all the people do not know that the lion is called “King of the Jungle” because in their culture and religion, the tiger is considered the king. This is clearly due to the symbol “王” on the tiger’s head which means “king” in Chinese. The largest cat weighing nearly 400kg and its extinct ancestor Ngandong tiger, is the largest cat to have lived in the world, weighing 450-500kg more than the big saber-toothed cat Smilidon.

The tiger is very dangerous to humans due to its murderous behavior. Its beauty is a curse because trophy hunting is widespread for its meat, skin, bones and other things which unfortunately leads them to extinction. It is good to know that the horn of a rhinoceros and the tusks of an elephant are not worth as much as the skin of a tiger. This shows the huge impact within the Asian culture.

Tiger Culture

4) The History of the Territories

In ancient times, the first lions occupied Asia up to the entire Indian sub-continent, including Sri Lanka and West Bengal. Following their extinction Asiatic lions expanded and colonized most of northern India as far south as the Narmada River, from West Bengal to the west 25,000 to 20,000 years ago.

However, tigers arrived in India about 20,000 to 12,000 years ago after the Asian lions arrived. At that time, they coexisted, but the royal tigers of Bengal dominated the lions and the entire Indian territory and settled in arid regions just like western India where small populations of tigers lived only because they did not like to live in an arid climate preferring a more humid and forested climate. As a result, they left the arid areas allowing the lions to thrive in areas with low tiger densities.

In the days of British India, the British and kings hunted tigers, lions and other animals for pride, pleasure, royalty and trophy. Contrary to that, Jim Corbett was a great person who killed more than 300 tigers and many leopards, but it was not done for pleasure, he was against hunting animals. Jim killed these animals because some of the old, injured or sick felines started to rely on easy prey such as humans as well as domesticated livestock, as hunting their natural prey became difficult. This leads to many consequences as these animals develop a taste for human flesh or meat and then become man-eaters.

At that time, the population and the government asked him for help because it is difficult for the policemen and the shoemakers to follow and kill these man-eaters, due to an increased cunning. This job requires a lot of experience and is paid for accordingly. Jim grew up in the forest and knew the area very well. He saved people from the man-eating beast roaming the jungle for months with his double-barreled shotgun and a notebook to write down his many experiences. He hunted and stalked these man-eaters including tigers and leopards.

However, he did not take money from the government or from people as a result of solving such threats. He implemented many awareness programs not to kill animals that are not a threat to humans. He wrote his many experiences in his book about tigers.

Map Europe with dot

5) The Tiger, one of the Greatest Predators

The tiger has many qualities against the lion, its agility, its size, its strength, its endurance, its power, its intelligence, its cunning nature, its long and majestic look without fear, its royalty, its dominant behavior, its heavy weight. It is 1m20 high as much as the lion even sometimes more than the lion, it has the ability to stand perpendicularly on 2 legs with 2 legs equipped with claws of 10 cm, its fangs / teeth are ultra effective, its camouflage is ideal. It is also one of the top 20 strongest animal bites in the world, measured in PSI.

In addition, its ferocity, aggressiveness, speed, hunting and unparalleled fighting techniques, its ability to swim long distances up to 40 km and good climbing skills even if the biggest cats are unmatched by big cats or most other predators. The tiger is powerful enough to take down prey up to 5 to 10 times its weight.

Tiger prey: From small rodents, birds, monkeys, fish to sometimes adult elephants (when they starve). But also all types of bears like black bears, polar bears, brown and sloth bears, crocodiles like maggar and salt water crocodiles, wild boars, cattle like water buffalo, the biggest cattle Gaur, Rhinos, wild boar, leopards, leopard, striped hyena, Indian wolf, fox, jackal, turtle, snake like python, ungulates like deer and antelopes, to simplify, everything that moves.

a tiger and its cub

Unlike other big cats, it kills or hunts everything that moves in front of it and does not become friendly even if it is not hungry. If a tiger wanders in the jungle, all animals are afraid. Animals like Hanuman Langoor, macaque, American deer, peacock, spotted deer, birds etc., make distress/alert calls to alert the other animals. Even if an elephant catches or smells a tiger on its way nearby or when it hears a roar, it goes crazy and runs or changes direction to avoid a direct confrontation.

This technique is used by farmers to chase away crop-damaging elephants by playing tiger sounds through loudspeakers. It is a killing and fighting machine. Tigers, both male and female, spent most of their time fighting for territories, searching for prey, hunting, roaming, marking territory and sleeping little time. As they are solitary animals, they are not even naked if their own siblings or adult relatives enter their territory. They are not afraid of anything except when confronted with a pack of animals. He is the most anxious, intelligent, inquisitive cat of them all and an expert in most captive pen escapes with his cunning and clever nature inventing new thoughts to escape captive pens. It is a fearless fighter and a determined hunter. Tigers participate in territorial fights more often than lions and in most cases one of them ends up dead, in the rest of the cases they intimidate each other.

Group hunting is necessary for the weaker ones like the African lion subspecies to tackle the bigger game in Africa where the Asiatic lion living in grasslands and dry hardwood forests has adapted a different social structure. Such as smaller groups with only females and territorial males living apart except in the breeding season with less intensive and more individual and solitary hunting, weak paternal care instincts and a submissive nature unlike other African hunters. Tigers never scavenge carrion although they are opportunistic, except when sick, hungry, weak, injured or old. They hunt, kill and eat fresh prey on their own and prey on their own.

However, extremely rare in groups of up to 3-4 individuals in cases such as the mother with her almost mature cubs and rare coalitions in some Indian, South African and Chinese nature reserves. Despite the size of its prey such as rhino and elephant, it hunts alone with its big paws, claws, stronger and denser bones and muscles, its high bite strength, its canines which are the longest of the big cats, its big, long and huge body, its cold blood and its majestic and frightening roar, which gives it the status of the strongest of the predators on the planet, makes it one of the biggest of the most fearsome animals of all.

6) Final Result

We have seen that the lion is an emblem in the Western world and that his build, his presence, his mane gives him the status of a king. However, if we want to be as impartial as possible, we are forced to note that the tiger wins the fight on many points, whether it is physically, by cunning or by his unfailing determination.

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