Lions in the park, are the largest and most imposing carnivore in Africa. A Lion is one kind of animal that has strong, compact bodies and powerful forelegs, teeth and jaws for pulling down and killing prey.
Their coats are yellow-gold, and adult males have shaggy manes that range in color from blond to reddish-brown to black. The length and color of a lion’s mane is likely determined by age, genetics and hormones.
Young lions have light spotting on their coats, that disappears as they grow. Without their coats, lion and tiger bodies are so similar that only experts can tell them apart.
They are the only true social cats, and have special cultural significance in most countries on the continent. In Uganda, lions enjoy a reputation as ‘king of the beasts’ and are popular symbols of royalty, strength and bravery.
Lions live in a ‘fission-fusion’ society which, is a fairly rare social system similar to chimpanzees. Individuals have different home ranges that overlap so that, they regularly meet and come together.
Males are thrown out of the group at the age of 3-4 years, by the dominant male(s) and will try to take over a pride when, they get to 7-10 years old.
Males usually hole a pride for 2-3 years only, before being ousted by another male or coalition of males. Females generally stay in the same area as their mothers, occasionally moving to an adjacent pride when subadult, and rear a litter of cubs every two years.
Lions in the parks
The highest mortality of lions is in the cubs, with often whole litters being killed by other predators or buffalos. In Uganda, lions are mainly found in the three largest savannah parks.
The Ishasha lions are known for their unique behavior, of climbing trees and have been branded the “Ishasha tree-climbing lions” by tourists.
Lions, after mountain Gorilla , are the most sought-after species by tourists visiting Uganda. A WCS assessment in 2006 showed that each individual lion, in Queen Elizabeth National Park generated about $13,500 USD per year for the national economy in terms of the revenue it brought into the country.
An influencing factor was that tourists, are willing to stay longer just to see lions. Ecologically, lions play an important role in maintaining ecosystem, health and balance by predating on herbivores.
Often targeting sick individuals and thereby keeping disease down, and disposing of carcasses. This makes lions important to Uganda’s economy and ecology.
Surely, a visit to Uganda in one of the parks is such a great idea, to see these amazing animals, one of the big 5 in the wild. Very interesting to see. Inspire African Safaris us always, ready to give you a warm welcome into the wild and life everlasting memories created.