by Dr. Wayne Lynch
March 29, 2019
The tough spicules on a lion’s tongue are used to rasp flesh from bones
In early March this year I was fortunate to once again return to the wildlife-rich savannah of northern Tanzania – home to two dozen different species of hoofed mammals and a dozen kinds of charismatic carnivore. This year, for me, the stars were lions. Not because I hadn’t seen lions before or because I saw behavior new to me but because everything lined up to yield especially memorable photographs- the light, the subjects and the backgrounds. Even a picky photographer like myself could have asked for nothing better.
A lion’s canine teeth can be up to 7 cm (2 1/2 “) long
These two starving male lions were driven from their pride by an invading coalition of younger males.
A male lion in his prime may weigh up to 250 kilograms
Left: At age 5-7 a male lion’s mane is at its prime Right: Drinking at a water hole
Typically, an adult lioness is 30% smaller than an adult male
Lions, like many cats, don’t like to get their feet wet
A coalition of two prime males controlled this pride of females
A female lion will be in heat for an average of just 4 days when she will mate repeatedly
During the peak of receptiveness, a pair will mate 2-3x/hour.
Left: Female lions usually have few facial scars in comparison to the males that often fight Right: Lions are “induced ovulators” and a female needs repeated copulation to stimulate ovulation.
“The happy couple”.
Lions are at the top of the list for most safari-goers to Africa, but lion populations across the continent are slowly declining. In the 1880s the total lion population was estimated to be 1.2 million. By the 1950s it had fallen to 500,000, and by the 1990s there were just 100,000 of them. Today there are fewer than 20,000 lions in all of Africa. Habitat loss and conflict with humans are the most significant threats to the species.
Bio: Dr. Lynch is a popular guest lecturer and an award-winning science writer. His books cover a wide range of subjects, including: the biology and behaviour of owls, penguins and northern bears; arctic, boreal and grassland ecology; and the lives of prairie birds and mountain wildlife. He is a fellow of the internationally recognized Explorers Club - a select group of scientists, eminent explorers and distinguished persons, noteworthy for their contributions to world knowledge and exploration. He is also an elected Fellow of the prestigious Arctic Institute of North America.
Dr. Wayne Lynch
3779 Springbank Drive S. W.
Calgary, AB, T3H J5
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