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Daily Zoo Animal #29: African Lion



African Lion Panthera leo

What can I say about lions that isn't familiar to everyone? The African lion is one of the most recognizable animals in the world, having acquired the status of a living symbol (from heraldry to commercial logos) in antiquity. Their persistent epithet "king of the jungle" ignores the fact that the vast majority of living lions are grassland animals. A population of fewer than 400 lions lives in the Gir forest in India, and are protected, despite the fact that they occasionally cause human fatalities. Lions used to range from Africa, across Asia, to the Americas but vanished from most of their range by the last ice age. There were still lions in Europe at the time of the Roman Empire but were wiped out by 100 AD. It is well known that they are social animals--a rare characteristic among cats--and that females do most of the hunting.

Christopher is shown above performing his iconic roar while standing on his heated rock. Not infrequently, zoo guests express concern that he is housed alone. At nearly two decades old he is twice the age that most wild male lions live, and is nearing the end of a captive life expectancy. Introducing captive lions to one another is challenging and unpredictable. Christopher's off-exhibit area is shared with a pair of tigers, and the three big cats interact with one another at a safe distance.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
batwrangler
Feb. 20th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC)
And, as you know, aged male lions generally get driven out of their prides by young, ambitious male lions. Christopher is one (handsome) lucky boy. :)
ndozo
Feb. 20th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
It seems like a lot more zoo attacks are by tigers than lions. Are lions less aggressive or something?
aemiis_zoo
Feb. 21st, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
Awesome photo mid-roar!
Greenmonk [blogspot.com]
Feb. 21st, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
Wow
Thanks for the info on lions. Sometimes the over familiarity makes one forget the awe we first had as kids. Thanks for helping me recover it!
drhoz
Feb. 21st, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
In Germany they're "King's Of The Desert"
urbpan
Feb. 21st, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC)
That makes more sense!
_bazilisk_
Feb. 22nd, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
Great shot...
zuzana2010
Sep. 13th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
Wow.....What a nice post!!....Your post is an excellent example of why I keep coming back to read your excellent quality content that is forever updated.I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.Thanks a lot....



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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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