World Lion Day

Good morning everyone, hope you’re all doing Ok. Feeling a bit better than I have been the past couple of weeks, although I will admit that as the day goes on I do start feeling a bit worse for wear, but I’m listening to my body and resting where and when I need to. Hopefully, going to be visiting Kim, Chris, and Isaac this weekend, fingers crossed that nothing happens (i.e any of us coming down with anything) to prevent us from seeing each other. Before I move on to today’s post, I just wanna say that I was and still am very sad to hear that Dame Olivia Newton John passed away, she will always be remembered as a beautiful soul and an inspiration to so many, myslef included, as well as an advocate of humanitarian and health issues. She also established herself as a campaigner for animal welfare, She was a supporter of cancer charities, something that led to the opening of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre in Melbourne. A star of the screen and the stage, Olivia Newton-John leaves behind an enviable legacy, with her performances transcending cinematic and musical trends, and humanitarian work for many causes. RIP Olivia Newton-John.

Speaking of humanitarian work leads me to today’s post…August 10th is a day for people to come together from across the world to pay tribute to the mighty lion in as many ways as possible. Though a fun and exciting occasion for all, its foundations are based in a very serious matter: lion numbers have dramatically declined to the point where the species are now classed as vulnerable. Whether guarding our temples, adorning our flags, decorating our coins and capturing our hearts, the lion is beyond doubt the world’s most iconic species. On almost every continent and in thousands of cultures, the lion can be found demonstrating humanity’s fascination with this magnificent beast. Despite the lions’ symbolic importance throughout the ages, they are suffering from a silent extinction across Africa and India. On this day, celebrate the lion, and help raise awareness to help save them and their kingdom.

Lions Day

World Lion Day is the brainchild of co-founders Dereck and Beverly Joubert, a husband-and-wife team with a passion for big cats. They began the initiative in 2013, bringing together both National Geographic and the Big Cat Initiative under a single banner to protect the remaining big cats living in the wild.The B.C.I.’s main goal is to protect and preserve the remaining lion species in the world. While aspects like deforestation, climate change, and human intervention may have impacted lion populations, studies have shown that their extremely low numbers may also have to do with ice ages and natural environmental disasters that have led them to becoming secluded in only a few countries of the world, namely India and South Africa.

Beverly and Dereck Joubert

The lion with the scientific name Panthera leo comes from the ‘Felidae’ family of cats, and it is considered to be an apex predator. It is the second-largest cat weighing around 300 to 600 pounds, with the first being its cousin, the tiger. An average lion’s body is muscular with a short round head and ears, and a tufty tail. They are called the ‘Kings of the Jungle’ due to their arresting and fearsome personalities created by their great bodies and heavy, shiny manes. A lion’s powerful roar is second to none, and it can be heard even five miles away. Owing to the pop culture icons like Simba from “The Lion King”, lions are also loved by children. Its sex can be identified through its heavy and luscious mane, which are absent on lionesses. Lions also happen to be the only cats who roam around in large groups known as prides. Scientists believe that lions do so because it is easier to catch prey in the wild. Their natural habitats are savannas and grasslands. You will most likely find a pride of lions near water bodies as they strategically wait for prey to come there for a drink and then pounce on them.

Three million years ago, lions roamed all over Africa and the Eurasian supercontinent. But today, various ice ages and changes in the natural environment means that their range is reduced primarily to Africa and select parts of Asia. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, lions are a “vulnerable” species, meaning that their numbers could and should be higher. Currently, researchers estimate that there are between 30,000 and 100,000 lions left on planet Earth. Without significant intervention, there is a chance that they could find themselves on the endangered list alongside other species most at risk of extinction.

World Lion Day is an opportunity for lion lovers all over the planet to push back against the decline in the range and habitat of the king of beasts. These giant animals are among the world’s largest land species and an apex predator with a reputation like no other. It would be a tragic loss for both nature and humanity if the species were to disappear entirely from the natural environment. The threats against lions are all too real. They face the dual specters of increasingly popular “trophy hunting” and human incursion on their traditional wildlands. A reduction in food combined with hunting tourism is making them more vulnerable with every passing year. Over the last four decades, the lion population declined by fifty percent.

World Lion Day, therefore, has three objectives. The first is to raise awareness of the plight of the lion and the issues that the species faces in the wild. The second is to find ways to protect the big cat’s natural environment, such as creating more national parks and reducing the areas in which people can settle. And the third is to educate people who live near wild cats on the dangers and how to protect themselves. Humans and large species like cats can live in harmony together, but only if they understand how to do so.

Facts:

  • In the wild, there are two formally recognized lion subspecies. The African lion (Panthera leo Leo) is found in Africa, south of the Sahara desert. The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) exists in one small population around Gir Forest National Park in western India. Wild lions in west and central Africa are more closely related to these Asiatic lions in India than to those found in southern and east Africa.
  • Living in the grasslands, scrub, and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa, the lion is the second largest cat in the world. It is dwarfed slightly by the tiger, which is closely related and has a very similar body type.
  • Lions are highly adaptable and can live in very dry areas like the Kalahari Desert. Here they get most of their water from their prey and will even drink from plants such as the Tsamma melon.
  • Lions do most of their hunting at night as their eyes have adapted to the dark and this gives them a huge advantage over their prey. They hunt more during storms as the noise and wind make it harder for prey to see and hear them.  When hunting, lionesses have specific roles. Some play the role of ‘center’ and others the role of ‘wing’ – the wings chase the prey towards the centers.
  • There is a very rare white lion. It is not a different sub-species or albino, the white is due to a genetic condition called leucism, which causes a partial loss of pigmentation.
  • A pride of lions is usually made up of related females and their cubs, plus a male or small group of males who defend their pride. The lionesses rear their cubs together and cubs can suckle from any female with milk.
  • Male lions become a member of the pride because the females accept them as the pride male. Therefore, their social status can be precarious. The lion has to win the grace of the females and usually will only be able to remain the pride male for 3 to 5 years in the wild
  • Males and females take on very different roles in the pride. Male lions spend their time guarding their territory and their cubs. They maintain the boundaries of their territory, which can be as large as 260 sq. km (100 sq. mi.), by roaring, marking it with urine, and chasing off intruders. Their thick manes, a unique trait of male lions, protect their necks when they fight with challengers.
  • Pride members keep track of one another by roaring. Both males and females have a very powerful roar that can be heard up to 8 km (5 mi.) away.
  • Spending 16-20 hours of the day sleeping or resting, lions are the laziest of the big cats. They can be found lying on their backs with their feet up or taking a snooze up in a tree. While lazing around, they are very affectionate towards one another, rubbing heads, grooming, and purring.
  • Male lions grow impressive manes the older they get. These manes grow up to 16cm long and are a sign of dominance. The older they get, the darker their manes go. As well as attracting females, their manes may also protect their neck and head from injuries during fights.
  • You can tell the age of male lions by the color of their mane. The mane of the male lion gets darker as it ages so the darker mane of a lion in a pride denotes the oldest of the group.
  • On average, male lions weigh 190kg (almost 30 stone) and females weigh 126kg (almost 20 stone). They need this weight and power behind them to hunt large prey and defend their pride.
  • When they are born, cubs are very small, and their eyes are closed until they are two to three weeks old. Even then, they cannot see properly for another few weeks. This is when they are vulnerable to attack from large birds, snakes, and even male lions. A lioness will keep her cubs hidden from other lions for around six weeks until they are old enough to follow the pride.
  • Female cubs stay with the group as they age. At around two years old, they become capable hunters. But young males are forced out of their pride at that age. They form bachelor groups and follow migrating herds until they are strong enough to challenge male lions of other prides. In general, a group of males stays in power in the pride for around three years before another bachelor group takes it over.
  • Lions can eat up to 40kg of meat in a single meal – around a quarter of their body weight. Their tongues have sharp-pointed rasps, called papillae, which are used to scrape meat off the bones.
  • While not quite as rapid as the Cheetah which can reach speeds of 70mph, a lion can achieve a land speed of 50 Mph for short distances.
  • They have an amazing jump and have been recorded springing as far as 36 feet.
  • Lions have a very, very long history on the planet. Ancient Egyptians held lions in high esteem as their war deities because of the power, strength, and fierceness lions possess. The sphinxes in Egypt are a fine example of the age-old depiction of lions in Egyptian culture. The lion head also appears in many pieces of art from ancient times as well as in pieces of jewelry.
  • There are thought to be as few as 23,000 lions left in the wild. When you think there are around 415,000 wild African elephants, you realize lion numbers are incredibly low. In fact, lions have disappeared from over 90% of their historical range.

What You Can Do To Help Lions:

  1. Adopt a lion – By adopting a lion, you’ll be making a monthly contribution which will fund the organization’s projects to protect lions and reduce human-lion conflict. Plus, you’ll receive regular updates on how your money is helping – and a cuddly toy!
  2. Refuse to buy lion products – Whether you are looking to buy a new bag or coat, or any other similar paraphernalia, make sure you know where it is coming from. Refuse to buy lion products (or other animal skin products) to reduce sales and market value.
  3. Donate – Look out for national and international organizations that protect wild cats, and invest in them by donating your money to the cause.
  4. Volunteer – If you cannot donate but want to help in another way, you can volunteer your time by either helping the organizations with volunteer work or by promoting the organizations in your circles.
  5. Spread the word – Sharing facts, stats and personal thoughts about the issue helps bring it to people’s attention. The more people know about how vulnerable lions are, the higher the chances of them taking action.

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading today’s post, I hope you all have a lovely week and I shall see you next Wednesday! 😄

2 thoughts on “World Lion Day

  1. Great post, it was very informative. I learned a lot new facts about lions. The sad news of Olivia-Newton John has left a deep impression on me too. Grease was a classic movie.

    Liked by 1 person

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