How lions rise and fall for power

THIS world received saddening news when lion known as the “King of the Serengeti” was killed by male rivals, leaving many who encountered the great cat in mourning.

According to different sources, Bob Junior was killed in an attack from three rival lions, who from long time have planned the spell before executing it this week. Reports from Serengeti National Park show from a long the three lions tried to dethrone the king who controlled the pride land covering more than 20 square kilometers.

At the time of food scarcity lions are known to expand their home range from their ordinary standard to 400 square kilometers and this is when problems between rival individuals start.

Authority in Serengeti says the struggle for power between Bob Jr and the three killers started when the ousters were still young with no power or techniques to fight with a strong lion.

In one of their attempts Bob emerged as a victor and forced them to flee to the eastern part of the park where they stayed while planning for another attack.

Bob Junior the lion was capable to handle all kind of pressure from rivals because he formed a coalition with his young brother who is known to visitors as Joel the lion. It is believed the coalition between Bob Junior and Joel lasted more than any before them, according to zoologists a male lion is able to stay in power for two to four years, Bob Junior stayed in power for about seven years.

The lion was famous with fans from different parts of the world, he was also known as “Snyggve” or “Bob Jr”. Many people travelled long distances to catch a glimpse of “the legendary lion with a distinctive and luxuriant black mane.

Bob Junior was very popular from south, east, west and north parts of the world, had a Swedish name Snyggve which stands for a nice guy in standard English.

Bob Junior was regarded as the coolest cat because he allowed tourists to take pictures at close range because other lions do not allow people the way he did it. Zoologists and tour operators in Serengeti say Bob junior had a fierce reputation among his rivals in the jungle and dominated the Serengeti landscape for seven years.

The lion was very popular in Namiri plains where he and his pride frequently roamed and no other rival lions were allowed until the day when he was attacked and killed.

According to reliable source, two male lions were killed in the attack although Bob Junior was the target of their attempts to topple him.

The three young male ware able to dethrone Bob Junior because after staying in power for seven years he became weak and old, during the attack he was unable to defend his pride or fight for himself.

Scientists say episodes like this happen in the savannah when the pride leader becomes older or occasionally when the other male lions are not pleased with his leadership over a big region.

Bob Junior is believed to be named after Jamaican reggae legendary super star Bob Marley whom some people believe the two had spiritual connection.

It is believed Bob Junior the lion was born between 2012 and 2013 before obtaining a pride between 2017 and 2018 and stayed in power to 11th of March 2023 when he was more than 10 years old.

Normally a pride consists of about six to ten lionesses who live with one or two brothers as pride owners whose main duties are to breed and defend the pride against others.

After reaching a maturity stage lionesses become harsh toward each other because of unwanted stored energy within their bodies so they tend to fight as a training procedure for future life full of challenges. When they approach their first heat period the fight turns to males by beating them or rubbing their bodies against lions to trigger the sexual desire.

This is dangerous moment in the pride land because male lions are able to smell and recognise a pride with a lioness passing through heat period. Unlike lioness, lions do not want or take care of foster children so after assuming the control of the pride the next thing is killing the small cubs of the previous owner to enable females to get into heat early.

Some experienced lionesses know the danger and price of pride takeover so they will help the present owner to fight and defend the pride.

When they lost the battle of defending the pride and its owner has been forced out these experienced lionesses may refuse to accept the new male so they will move out from the pride and go away for another pride.

Scientists say gestation for lioness last for about 120 days as the birthday approaches she will separate herself from the pride and go into a hidden place where one to six cubs are born. When many cubs are born the lioness will sniff to choose the strong with more chance to live and take them in a special place leaving the weaker to die because of hunger and thirst.

Before humanity this act is brutal but the lionesses provide more attention to an individual who is able to face the challenging environment of the savannah.

Normally lioness gives birth in a hidden place especially in a cave or between large rocks where it’s out of sight to enemies like African hunting dogs, hyenas, jackals, eagles and predators in cluding other lions.

With care, the mother will visit her fellow member in the pride to check if the youngest cubs in pride are more than three months old if the chance is not available she will keep her own cubs away until time allows.

The main reason for this act is all lactating lionesses milk all cubs indiscriminately which causes the young and weak ones to lose their chance of feeding on nutritious early milk important for building strong bones. When time and situation in the pride allow, then the mother will lead her cubs to join the pride consisting of other relatives like their sisters, brothers and father.

This is the most dangerous time of their new life because in the group there might be young lions which are not used to cubs so they may kill them as prey.

Unlike males, young lionesses are taught how to take care of cubs, on the arrival of these new cubs in the pride different social activities may take place to welcome them in the pride. If things go well the mother may accompany other lionesses in hunting activities while leaving her little cubs to young lionesses which are normally supervised by an older or weaker female.

This is possible because in a pride, lionesses give birth at a different time with two or three in an interval of short period of time, this schedule allows the rest of the team to carry on with other duties. People around the world are mourning for the death of Bob Junior the lion, but that is how nature structured their life in the savannah.

Lions are capable of holding a pride for a period of two years before being forced out by other one or two males in a coalition for a pride takeover. Lions also pay a heavy price when defending or fighting for a pride as some fight each other to death or sustain life long injuries.

To avoid conflicts the pride owners mark their area with smelling urine with unique odour to every individual and announce its border by roaring.

In the Savannah usually female or lionesses produce a medium roar but lions are capable of uttering a very strong vocal which rumbles up to five miles or eight kilometers away from the starting point making all other animals including other inferior lions to feel and hear it clearly.

Scientists say this is one of many features found among mammals known as secondary sexual characteristics where lions get this ability after reaching maturity stage.

At the age of two to three years when female and male start to roar but the king starts to crown himself with long hair called mane which are black or brown in colour which may stretch up to about 40 centimetres.

Scientists say after reaching maturity stage the bodies of a lion become heavier and their muscles become stronger to withstand different challenges of the ruthless jungle where survival is for those who are fit and premature death for weaker ones.

Scientists also say a full grown lion weighing between 190 to 220 kilogrammes is equipped with strong lungs weighing two kilogrammes which use a soft and transparent cartilage called Diaphragm.

The cartilage is empowered by special mechanism which stretches up and down to push air which create pressure into the voice box and create voice. The cartilage works in obtaining full usage of a 12 – centimeter wide throat to produce to most feared thundering voice in the wild of savannah.

A full grown lion works vigorously in the savannah where he will jump high between three to seven meters and 10.8 meters forward run to a top speed of 46 kilometres per hour for a kill.

Lions are equipped with a powerful heart weighing 1.2 kilogramme which pumps blood efficiently to all parts including the Adrenal gland which release stimulants for energy.

Lions mean power and their Adrenal gland which weighs 34.6 work to provide enough strength to the Hyoid bone which is located in throat and enable the Larynx or voice box withstand the strong sound waves it produces during roaring time. To humans, a lion is a symbol of power, courage and endurance.

This has been proved from the time in history when king Nebukadreza threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into lion’s den. Through Romans and British empires to recent time in Africa where Haile Selassie who was the last emperor of Ethiopia because of their sound lions were used as symbols of power.

In the wild physical attractiveness is the degree to which an animal’s physical features are considered to be appealing, pleasing or beautiful before human’s eyes.

Inside and outside Serengeti national park Bob Jr had many admirers because of beautiful manes, these are long hair which are black or brown in colour and may stretch up to about 40 centimetres.

Scientists believe that male lions have long mane for protecting themselves against long claws of their rivals. Ranging from 16 to 40 centimetres long, the black or brown mane form a heavy blanket which protect the neck from 5 to 7 centimetres long claws of other lions during combats.

The second factor for lions to wear the long mane is to show them bigger and intimidate their rivals, but from humans perspective the long hair is beauty.

In the savannah there are may be some factors which differentiate lions from other members of the cat’s family but their charismatic ability to roar announces their presence inside a national park unlike leopards which prefer to stay quiet.

Of all the feline members in jungle it’s the lion which is gifted with not less than nine different sounds including snarling, hissing, coughing, woofing and the powerful roar which send fearful shocking waves to all inhabitants of the savannah regardless of age or size.

rstanslaus@yahoo.com

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