World Wildlife Day Wisdom Series (8 of 8)Begin
All of the above are true! Male lions will start to grow manes at approximately 1 year of age. As they age, their mane will also grow darker in color.
It's true! Lions are the most social of all big cat species, and live in groups called prides. These prides are usually made up of approximately 15 individuals. One dominant male or a small group of males leads and defends the pride.
It's true! All the lionesses within a pride will be related - mothers, daughters, and aunts. Unlike male cubs - who are forced to leave the pride they were born in once they reach adulthood - female lions typically stay with the pride their entire life.
The dominant male(s) will eat first after a hunt, even though the female lionesses usually do most of the work when hunting! After the dominant males have their fill, the females will feed, followed by the cubs.
As with countless other species, loss of habitat is the leading cause of African lion population decline - and humans are to blame. The vast ranges of grassland that lions need to thrive have been destroyed to make way for agriculture, industrial development, roads, and human settlements. Human-induced climate change has also destroyed the habitats that lions (along with their prey species) depend on, increasing the frequency of droughts and desertification.
African lions are now only found in less than 10% (around 8% to be precise) of the land they once roamed. Today, lions are only found in sub-Saharan Africa, with three of the five largest populations in Tanzania. Even within sub-Saharan Africa, lions have disappeared from 12 sub-Saharan countries in recent decades.
All of the above are a result of habitat loss! As human settlements become more prevalent and natural prey becomes more scarce, lions are more likely to prey on livestock, causing many farmers to retaliate by by killing them. Due to habitat loss, lion populations have also become more fragmented and isolated, making it harder for them to breed and keep the health and diversity of their gene pool.
The African lion population has declined by 40% just in the last two decades - and only around 20,000 individuals remain, 10 times less than what the population was 100 years ago.
African lions are not the only species at risk. Countless other animal and plant species depend on natural spaces to thrive yet are losing their habitats and the biodiversity within them at an alarming and unprecedented rate. Add your voice to call on world leaders to take urgent action to protect and restore nature.