I will not be afraid of the dark

There is nothing like the roar of a lion in the dead of night to take you straight back to your paleolithic ancestors and beyond, to the very dawn of humanity. Lions are now only common in Africa (and declining); they were once the second most widespread large mammal after humans, who now, as then, are their most persistent enemy.


A lioness can weigh from 120kg to 180kg. She, along with her sisters in the pride, is responsible for most of the hunting, except in the case of large prey such as buffalo or giraffe, where the weight and strength of the males is needed to bring the animal down. (I have tweeted from a giraffe kill; this pride was known for specialising in killing and eating the world’s tallest land mammal.)

It is not true that lions fear nothing. Lions fear other lions; males seldom live longer than ten years in the wild because of the constant fighting. Killing large, dangerous game like buffalo and zebras carries with it the constant risk of being gored or kicked. When she is alone, a lioness can be threatened by spotted  hyenas. If the pride male is killed, a lioness may try to hide her cubs, which will otherwise be killed by males intent on taking over the pride and bringing the females into oestrus.

But a lioness, together with her pride, at night, in her territory, fears nothing, and I envy her for it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s