Big Cat Week: Day #1

We know that this post is a very late one, but we have a very good reason, guys it is officially BIG CAT WEEK on NatGeoWild!! To mark this occasion we are giving to you our awesome followers a week dedicated to all the big cats (that we can fit into a week). That’s right each day you will have something new to read and it will be dedicated to a big cat.
To begin this week we are focusing on lions, unique among big acts due to their social natures, we realized that we knew very little of just how these family units (known as prides) actually work. So we did some research and this is what we found. Enjoy.

The true meaning of sisterhood.

Females tend to live in the pride they were birthed in their whole lives, it’s actually the related females (e.g. aunts and sisters) along with their cubs that make up the numbers in the pride. When watching the lionesses you get a strong sense of sisterhood, when it comes down to it all the lionesses in the pride are family and help raise one another’s offspring. Litters are often synchronized so that all females in the pride are lactating. It has been seen that if a pride gets too large, the females within that pride tend to go off on their own and form what is called a ‘satellite pride’. Among the females their isn't any apparent hierarchy, it just seems that some females will take the lead on certain activities, they are basically exploiting their strengths in each other for the overall well-being of the pride. (What amazing team work.)

That pesky Y chromosome.

On to the males. From cubs they were already destined to leave the pride, once they have reached maturity they are often chased out by their own father so that daddy remains top male in his designated territory. Once abandoned and left to roam the plains of Africa alone, the young male has no choice but to seek and secure a pride for himself for the best chance of his survival. Interestingly it has been found that some male lions defend a territory much larger than the lioness’s home range. In short the males have been greedy and have taken over more than one pride. Males rarely hunt, he leaves that to the females and once they have made a kill he tends to be first at it. Don’t worry they aren't just food snatchers, they have the tough job of warning of any other potential threats, namely other male lions. Male lions tend to take over a pride in a coalition, in other words two brothers stick together in order to increase their chances of taking over a pride and securing their future generations.

The future of the pride.

How about the future generations? Well it is a pretty nice life for both female and male cubs for the first two years in a pride, provided that they are in a prime territory with water all year round and access to food is constant. However, the moment that things go bad, cubs are the ones on the receiving end of the misfortune, mothers often kill their own cubs in times when food is non-existent, they may be the future generation but lionesses and male lions see themselves as far more important than a batch of cubs. Cubs tend to die in the dry season from starvation as they are always the last to get in on a kill. There was a documentary on today on NatGeoWild called ‘Lioness in Exile’,it was an amazing documentary and highly recommended (not for the faint hearted though). This documentary showed the horrors that play out when new males take over a pride, all cubs below the age of 2 are killed in an attempt to get their mothers back in heat. However, the mother called Manyari saved her cubs by leaving the pride before the males could get to them. Amazing mothering!!

Hopefully this has given you some insight into pride dynamics! So get in touch with us, tell us what big cats you would like us to include this week and here is some food for thought- why do lions remain in prides? Keep a look out for tomorrows article!
Over and out.

No comments

It's all about breathtaking and blockbusting science here on BioBunch. If you have an idea on what should be featured on the blog, leave a comment below... or just leave one to say hi!
Looking forward to hearing from you and enjoy the blog

Back to Top