He is not the biggest of the cat species. Siberian tigers are larger than African lions. In fact, he is not even the largest in the jungle. There are many other animals such as elephants, rhinos that are larger. Then why is the lion considered the king of the jungle? I wondered about this for quite some time during my childhood. As a matter of fact, they are pretty social and live in groups called as pride. There are around 10-15 lions in a pride and out of that only 2-3 are fully grown lions. Others are lionesses and cubs.
There are many stories told here in India about what is a lion’s share. Actually when lionesses in a pride hunt, the lion comes in after the fact and takes away a part of the kill. That is called as a Lion’s share. This disappointed me in the childhood. Not very macho by the big guy, right? So is it just the mane that makes him look majestic? But I have a healthy respect for elder generation and their opinions which are developed over the years of experience. Nobody has seriously challenged the fact that lions are the kings of the jungle. So there must be some reason why they are considered as the kings.
Lionesses are the ones who hunt and are mainly the breadwinners of the pride. They are smaller and more athletic and they hunt intelligently. Male lions will hunt only when it is required and when they are alone away from the pride. But they are unbelievably powerful and can take down a prey that will need 4-5 lionesses to kill.
There are several videos on YouTube and in other places of the internet which give you a clearer picture of these magnificent creatures. There is a video in which a lioness is trying to catch a wildebeest from a herd. But despite her experience due to the huge numbers, she is unable to do so. And while the filming goes on, a male lion comes out of nowhere and from a 100 strong wildebeests running away just plucks a prey out. I was aghast watching this. Just the show of courage and strength is breathtaking to watch.
There is another video that shows a group of wild buffalos attacking a pair of lion and lioness. The big guy just turned on the buffalos and showed a nerve I cannot imagine any other animal on earth has. He just kept them away with guts, power, and determination. No one, just no one in this world can do this.
There are several speculations about what will happen if a lion and a tiger of the same size fight. Tiger, although a powerful animal, cannot really beat the king. See the videos available. Lions are just fighting machines, natural born fighters who are meant to lead and they have courage. The tigers although better hunters; cannot outlast the lions because lions have a stamina for a longer duel. In any event, these two superb creations of nature do not meet each other often because tigers live in jungles and lions on grasslands.
It will be a tragedy if these creatures are not there to see for the next generations. Although efforts are taken to protect them, human curiosity is also a thing to consider during protection.