Every year on August 10, World Lion Day is observed to raise awareness about the conservation of the big cat, which is an endangered species on the IUCN Red List. India saw an increase of 29 percent in its lion population from 2015 to 2020.
Lions help in the conservation of biodiversity, maintaining ecological balance and protecting natural forests.
On World Lion Day 2021, let us take a look at 10 interesting facts about the majestic predator.
- Lions are social, in fact, they are the most sociable of all big cats. They live in groups known as prides, which consist of related females and their offspring. Ten to 15 lions — many adult females, their cubs and up to four males — comprise a typical pride.
- Lions can weigh 30 stone — a weight and power needed for them to hunt large prey and also protect their pride. On average, a male weighs 190 kg (almost 30 stone) and a female weighs 126 kg (almost 20 stone).
- Lions need to eat every day but do not have to drink on a daily basis. In fact, they can go up to four days without drinking water. But for food, adult female lions need to eat about 11 pounds of meat each day, and adult males eat 16 pounds or more every day.
- Lions tend to start off spotty. Young lions generally have rosettes and spots on their sandy coats, but these disappear as the lions mature.
- Lions do not exactly live in jungles. In Africa, the lions’ primary habitats include grasslands and plains. Although they are known as the “king of the jungle”, three of the five largest populations of lions are found in the wide-open savannas of Tanzania.
- There is a story behind the magnificent manes of the male lions. The older they get, the darker their majestic manes become. Their manes can grow up to 16 cm long, and they are a sign of dominance. Besides attracting females, their manes protect their neck and head from injuries when they fight.
- Female lions raise cubs together. In the same pride, more than one female lion tends to give birth at the same time, and then raise multiple litters together.
- Lions derive their needs of water from plants. Being highly adaptable, these animals can live in extremely dry areas like the Kalahari Desert. In the desert, they drink from plants like the Tsamma melon.
- Lions are the only big cats that roar together; even the cubs join in with their mews. Their calling sequence generally lasts for about 40 seconds, and their roar can be heard five miles away.
- Lions hunt during storms. They do most of their hunting at night, and during storms, the noise of the wind makes it difficult for prey to hear or see them. Female lions do most of the hunting.