Wildlife in Serengeti-Park
Lion | Panthera leo
Lions are the second largest cats in the world, next to tigers. Unlike other cats, they are very social animals and live in groups called “Prides”. In the past, lions were spread all over Africa, except for rainforests and the Sahara. Before and during the Ice Ages, they also inhabited all of Europe and large parts of Asia. Today there is a group in the Gir National Park in Gujarat (India) and still some populations south of the Sahara. In the African national parks, the lions are under complete protection. Thus, this species is considered vulnerable.
Lions and tigers are very different in two ways of behaving: lions live in packs and always stay close together, whereas tigers are true loners. In addition, lions roar loudly during the night. This roar marks the territory of a pack. If you see our lions in Serengeti Park, you may wonder why they are so relaxed in the enclosure. Even in the wild, lions do not develop a strong urge to move to save energy. They spend very little time eating and sleep up to 20 hours a day. The hunting of the prey is for them a short matter and takes only a few minutes. It is already well camouflaged, due to the fur coloring, when the grass is only thirty centimeters high. Lions hunt with preference in the evening and dawn, but they can also catch prey, such as zebras and antelopes, during the day. Lions love to lay in wait at waterholes. When hunting, the lions work with distributed roles: Several females lie in wait or cautiously sneak up against the wind direction to their victims. A female has the task to drive individual animals removed from the herd to other females. Lions usually kill their victims on the first attack, but only 15 to 30 percent of the attacks are successful. A bite is enough to break the cervical bones. If the first attack fails, the lion usually leaves his victim behind. There is a strict hierarchical order. Often, the younger and weaker animals go out completely empty. Many fall back when the highest-ranking lion joins in.The territory owner repeatedly marks the boundaries of his territory with the smell of his urine. The essential and exhausting work of the pack leader is the odor marking of the territory and the defense of the pack against foreign males who want to take over territory and lionesses.