On August 10th we celebrate and honor the most iconic big cat on Earth, the lion, for World Lion Day! Read more to learn about these incredible big cats and how to join us to celebrate World Lion Day.
Established in 2013 by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the goal of this day is to raise awareness about the conservation of lions and their habitats. Zoos and wildlife parks across the world such as ourselves, do this by educating the public about the importance of lion conservation, participating in breeding programs, and donate to conservation efforts in the wild.
Importance of World Lion Day
Over the past one hundred years, the population of wild lions have sadly decreased by an astonishing eighty percent! Lions have been the victim of poaching and habitat loss, which has tragically led to these majestic big cats being classified as “Vulnerable” on a global level, and “Critically Endangered” in Western Africa according to the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. As an apex predator, lions play a crucial role in maintaining balance in their habitats. Without lions, herbivores such as zebras and wildebeest would over-graze and destroy the African grasslands. Without action, lions will soon become extinct.
Lion Interesting Facts
- African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups called “prides”. In their native habitat, a pride consists of about 15 lions! This is unique from other big cats who are mainly solitary.
- A roar of a male African lion can be heard from as far as 5 miles away!
- House cats and lions belong to the same family, Felidae. Although they belong to the same family, the house cat and lion differ greatly.
“They’re sexually dimorphic so the males and females look different with the males having manes. The males manes help keep their neck/chest/belly safe since they do the protecting of the pride while the females do basically everything else. Beyoncé knew what she was talking about “Who runs the world… girls!”
– TWP Carnivore Keeper, Ben
Lion Cub Facts
Despite being one of the largest cat species in the world, lion cubs are born surprisingly small! At birth, cubs only weigh a mere 50 ounces and are born without any teeth. Young lion cubs start off with spotty coats, their fur has darker brown rosettes which usually disappear as they mature. Lion cubs learn how to hunt from the females in their pride, and typically take 2 years to master this skill.
While it most likely won’t be what you’re doing this World Lion Day, lion cubs are the masters of relaxing! It is not uncommon for these tiny cats to sleep for around 20 hours a day.
How You can experience a Lion Encounter at TWP
If you would like to experience meeting a lion up close, the Origins Tour here at Tanganyika is the perfect experience for you! This is as “behind-the-scenes” as it gets! You’ll begin this off-road journey by traveling through our old barn – where you’ll find some interesting animals – leading you to our Park owners’ backyard where it all began years ago. From there, you will get the rare opportunity to see our three off- exhibit African Lions, Nemean, Elle, and Valkyrie up-close! Imagine being able to stand just a few feet away from one of the most majestic and iconic big cats on Earth! In addition, you’ll get to see our Amur Leopard; the most endangered big cat in the world and learn all about her story and species from our knowledgeable staff!
So, how will you be celebrating World Lion Day this year? Sharing this article with your friends and family to educate them on the importance of this day? Or maybe booking your own experience to meet a lion for yourself?
About the Author: TWP Marketing Intern, Nick is a Kansas native who spends his free time volunteering to help wildlife and cheering on his favorite sports teams. With a background in marketing and blogging, he shares his passion for wildlife conservation through his work. His favorite animals are sloths, giraffes, and penguins, and he loves sharing his passion for them with others!