What you may not know about the African Lion
The King of the Jungle rightfully lies at the top of the food chain. With about 40,000 of the species on the continent, the African lion has been the top interest of every tourist visiting Tanzania.
During your game drive with Viva Africa Tours, you may likely see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. It is not uncommon to see lionesses taking naps under the trees, keeping cool from the hot African sun. Spotting the male lion, however, may be a little less likely in parks like Tarangire National Park. This is because they are either hiding out somewhere or fighting for prey. Not to say that the females do not hunt; they are known to be the best at that.
Lions live in groups called Prides. Many tourists coming from different parts of the world are amazed by the African lion and its behavior in the wild. Animals are fascinating creatures, and we could spend hours watching them. Their colors vary from reddish brown to brown – a unique feature that is hard to find in other wild cats and differentiates the lion from all others. A major difference between the male and the female is that the male is fairly larger in size, with the distinctive mane on their heads. You may wonder what the mane’s purpose is. Well, it is known to protect the lion’s neck during territorial fights. The mane also makes the lion look far more superior to other cats, and more intimidating too.
Lions are carnivores, and can feed on animals like the buffalo, zebra or even the antelope. It is also interesting to note that The African lion is 4.5 to 6.5 feet long and its tail measures about 26 to 39 inches long. Additionally, the African lions characteristically weigh around 265 to 420 lbs. At about four years old, lions are ready to mate. The lioness gives birth and hides her cubs from the outside world for almost over a month. Like most babies, cubs too are dependent on their mothers completely.
It is however sad to note that the lion species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They are reducing in number significantly. The current population is estimated to be 30,000 to 100,000. The population has decreased because of numerous dangers, one of them being trophy hunting.
Tanzania boasts a number of National Parks, each of which has its own charm. The Serengeti National Park is famous for its abundance of the wild cats. You are sure to spot a lion and lioness here! If you are a wildlife and nature lover, Northern Tanzania will not fail to please you. It is recommended that you keep at least a week aside for your safari, depending more on which park you plan to visit and what you want to see.