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Order carnivores (Carnivora), Suborder land based carnivores (Fissipedia), Family cats (Felidae)

 

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Lions (Panthera leo) also called ‘king of the jungle’ are again and again a majestic sight.  

Depending on the available prey prides can consist of as many as 30 lions. The females are relatives. 2 to 3 males build interest coalitions to take over a group of lionesses. To fight the old patron and to keep the pride is for one alone almost impossible. They do not fight over a female on heat.

Lionesses can get on heat through out the year. The male approaching her first gets the opportunity to mate with her. She remains on heat for 4 days within that they mate 2.2 times an hour. According to our observation every 20 minutes. The initiative for an other copulation comes from the lioness. She gets up first and the male follows her. The copulation itself only lasts for a few seconds. For every cub that survives to yearling stage, lions copulate an estimated 3.000 times.  They neglect feeding in this time and loose visibly some weight. Only every 5th time they are on heat leads to a pregnancy. The gestation period is 110 days.  Removing the spiky penis is painful. So the female cats try to hit back. The pain activates ovulation. 

 

 

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Young lions are always fascinating to watch. Mortality among young lions is high. They have the best chances, when all cups of different mothers are about the same age, so the milk from all mothers will not be taken by the stronger ones. Lionesses allow all cups of the pride to suckle. They leave weak cups if food gets scarce.

 

 

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Even this little cub is able to climb a tree. In Seronera, Serengeti National park.

The mortality among young lions is very high. They are the first once to die when food gets scarce. Lionesses coordinate the time of birth to increase the chances for the litters to survive.  Young males have to leave the pride at the age of 2.5 years. At the age of about 5 years they mostly manage together with 1 or 2 colleges to take over a pride. Females remain in the pride and give birth at the age of 4. 

Unfortunately the number of lions is declining as well. Due to reduction of their and their prey’s habitats human – animal conflicts become more and mostly they end in eliminating the lion(s). In some areas lions died of deceases.  

 

 

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Male lion Olkiombo

 

 

2 blond male lions greet each other. Together moving lions are not necessarily related. The pictures show different types of lions blond and black-maned. Male lions weight up to 250 kg.

2 male lions out of a coalition of 3 in the Masai Mara.

 

 

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During the wildebeest migration lions and other carnivores have food in plenty.

The lioness softened the tough skin by chewing with the molar and torn off piece by piece.

 

 

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A pride of 16 lions killed a buffalo. Most of the time they start opening the tummy first to reach the soft intestines. Males try to pull the heavy carcass into the bushes. They stick to the place until all meat is eaten. To bring down a buffalo bull the help of male lions is required. Females are to light to do that job alone.

Below lionesses with their cubs at a wildebeest kill.

 

 

 

 

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Lions do climb trees which are not too steep. We have seen them doing it in Nakuru National park, Serengeti NP and Manyara NP.

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