Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda.
Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda are only found in Ishasha, a spot located in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
These lions are part of the wider lion family, the largest cats still roaming the African wild. Lions in general help balance the Eco-system by maintaining the population of herbivores animals like Buffaloes and the different species of antelopes. Lions also prey on weaker and sick animals helping reduce the spread of diseases and parasites.
The remote Ishasha plains are remarkably different from other sectors of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The plains consist of mainly savanna grasslands. It is a call to the variety of attractions in the park. Surprisingly, few visitors actually go to see the tree climbing lions of Ishasha. The majority go for game drives, boat cruises along the Kazinga channel, and chimpanzee tracking in Kyambura Gorge.
The Inspire African Safaris team noticed, a reason for the fewer visitors could be the lack of information about the existence of these unique cats. Many of the visitors, only get to know about them when they are already on a planned safari. Squeezing time within a planned safari to go and see the tree climbing lions can be difficult.
What to know about the Tree Climbing Lions in Uganda
There are four prides of lions living within the Ishasha plains. About 50 individuals are estimated to be living within the four main prides.
The lions love climbing the common acacia and large sycamore fig trees in the plains especially during the dry seasons. Why? Because, they want to escape the heat from the ground and also get shelter from the rain.
The entire prides spend their day on top of trees, the chances of seeing the lions in Ishasha are very high. The park authorities monitor their movements and can easily track them on request. Visiting the tree climbing lions of Ishasha can be arranged alongside an overall safari of Queen Elizabeth national park.
Why Tree Climbing lions.
Various research suggests different facts why lions climb trees. It is a behavioral adaptation to climb and laze on tree branches, as a way of protecting themselves from irritating insect bites on the ground.
Because of the too much heat on the ground, they relish the cool breeze, without being disturbed by the things happening on the ground.
What makes it even more thrilling is the fact that they find convenient vantage points, where they can easily observe prey wandering on the ground across the plains without being noticed.
Some visitors have been lucky to enjoy rare sights of the tree climbing lions, cautiously moving around branches of huge fig trees, before suddenly jumping on the ground to capture unsuspecting prey.
Although lions are not naturally adapted to climbing trees, the tree climbing lions have properly mastered their skill and are able to pass on this knowledge and experience to their cubs.
For this reason, experts believe that the behavior of climbing trees is actually learned, contrary to it being a natural instinct.
Whichever reason applies, one thing is clear- the behavior is rare and worth seeing during Uganda wildlife safaris.
Lions weigh 200 to 400 pounds which, literally makes it possible to lift and maintain their massive bodies up on tree branches and at such heights.
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