Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the first in our series of “Big 5 Interviews” in which we will be covering the lives of the famous Lion, Rhino, Buffalo, Elephant and Leopard. In studio with have with us today a guest that strikes fear into the hearts of most of us living in the African bush. We all know who he is, but today we are going to delve a little deeper into what makes him tick. I present to you – LION!!!
“Lion, please tell us a little about yourself”
Lion: Even though my family and I are ferocious animals we are very social, being the only cats which live in groups – we call it a pride – of approximately 15 members. As I am fiercely protective, I will cover and patrol a territory covering over 200 square kilometres.
“The ladies in your pride – how do they fit in?”
Lion: Well as you can see it is us males who have the mane, the darker it is, the older we are. All our ladies are related, as our female cubs will stay with the pride, while the male cubs will fight for and take over another pride. In an act of liberation I suppose, it is actually our ladies who are the primary hunters. They will work together as a team to bring down the beast that has been chosen for supper. We males have first choice of the kill, followed by the females and only then the cubs.
“Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, what is your average life span?”
Lion: hhhmmppfff, well if you must know, if we are in the wild and all goes well, we live for approximately 12 years.
“You mentioned that the male cubs will leave their original pride, tell us how that works”
Lion: Between the ages of 2 and 4, the male cubs will either leave on their own or shall we say nicely asked by myself to leave – this is usually accompanied by some growling and tooth gnashing. Once on their own it is up to them to find a pride they can take over – this is once again accompanied by some growling and tooth gnashing. Should the male succeed it is not unusual for him to kill all the existing cubs. While this might seem cruel, it is purely intended to ensure that only his genes continues (also prevents revenge attacks in the future) and to establish dominance.
“In the interest of science, what is your scientific name?”
Lion: Panthera leo
“Should tourists wish to visit your home, where should they look?”
Lion: Our primary continent is Africa, where we choose to live in grasslands or plains.
“Tell us about your family life”
Lion: My females will have litters ranging between 1 to 6 cubs. At birth their average weight will only be about 1 to 2 kilograms. This will steadily increase to an adult weight of between 120 and 190 kilograms. There was of course the heaviest lion on record, weighing in at 375kgs – but that was out of the norm. We call our baby lions cubs, whelps or lionets. The females are either lioness or she-lion, while we have been known to be called Tom (which is where the expression Tom Cat originates)
“If you could say one thing to be public what would it be?”
Lion: please respect us and please protect us. Our protection status at this point is vulnerable, and we would appreciate a little help here.
“Please provide us with a few fast facts”
- We are excellent swimmers, unlike our other cat cousins
- Our tails have tufts at the end, no other cats do
- When we walk our heels don’t touch the ground
- After Tigers we are the second largest cat species
- My roar can be heard 8km away
- We are the national animal of the following countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Ethiopia, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Singapore
- We need approximately 20 hours rest a day