5 Incredible Facts About Lions
Lions (Panthera leo) are one of the most recognisable animals in Africa. Lions are the second largest living cat, after the tiger and one of the most requested sightings for safari guests visiting Southern Africa. If you’re excited to see lions on your Sabi Sand safari, then you might be interested in learning some fascinating facts about the ‘king of the jungle’. Keep reading below!
1. They once roamed the globe
Lions were once widely distributed across most of Africa and parts of Europe and Asia. Lions once roamed from Europe to the southern tip of Africa, and from West Africa all the way to India.
Today they are confined to a number of isolated areas. Lions have lost roughly 94% of their historic range and are most commonly found in Southern Africa.
2. The have the loudest roar of the big cats
The lion has the loudest roar of all the big cats. It can reach 114 decibels and can be heard from as far away as five miles – about 25 times louder than a lawn mower!
In most animals, the vocal cords are shaped like triangles which protrude into the animal’s airway. In big cats, the protrusions are flat and square-shaped. This allows the tissue to respond more easily to passing air, allowing lions to roar louder with less lung pressure.
3. They could be extinct by 2050
It is estimated that only around 34,000 wild lions remain in Africa, which is half of what it was only 30 years ago. Some scientists predict that wild lions could face extinction by the year 2050 if trends continue.
The main threats to lions are loss of territory, lion/human conflict, and trophy hunting. As a visitor to the Sabi Sand, you are doing your part by traveling to national parks and game reserves that put resources toward protecting Africa’s lions.
4. Females stick together for life
In typical African lion prides, females make up the core of the group. Lionesses are born into the pride and tend to remain there until death.
As they remain in the same pride throughout their lifetimes, female lions are usually related to one another and share strong bonds. Lion prides are considered to be matriarchal in their social structure.
5. They are the only big cat on earth with a mane
Lions are the only big cats on earth that have thick, bushy hair around their face and neck called a mane. It’s only the adult male lions, too.
Male lions developed manes as a means of protection during fighting. Lions are the most social of the big cats and fight much more than other cats. Male lions fight regularly and aggressively over territory and female prides and the added protection helps to prolong their already short lifespan.
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We look forward to welcoming you to the one and only Leopard Hills in the near future.