The lion is one of the most majestic, yet fearsome animals of the wild. Forming part of South Africa's Big 5 group, these creatures are treasured and respected by cultures across the world.
World Lion Day is celebrated on 10 August in order to create awareness and pay tribute to these beautiful animals. Among the list of endangered species sits the king of the jungle, where their numbers have declined dramatically. According to the IUCN, the lion population has reduced by approximately 43% over the past 21 years. These numbers are staggering considering that millions of lions roamed the globe some 2000 years ago, where only about 20 000 are left.
We here at Tanda Tula are privileged to have this somewhat rarely sighted animal on our doorstep in the Timbavati. We are especially proud to have a few White Lions roaming our plains, who are all very close to our hearts.
In celebration of the lion, here are a few facts you might not have known:
- The lion has a roar that can be heard from up to 8km away
- Lionesses remain with their siblings, mothers and preceding generations for life, although in some cases, a dominant roaming male may chase a female away from her pride should he seek to gain new territory.
- Lions respond to smell the way a human would, by pulling their face back, wrinkling their nose, frowning or pulling their lips strangely.
- Female lions do almost all the hunting and will stalk their prey in teams in order to ambush their target.
- Lions are the second largest living feline species, where the tiger is the largest.
- The gestation period of a lion lasts for up to 110 days where their litter size is generally between 3 and 4 cubs at a time.