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Lion

The lion is one of the most sought-after safari species, and one of the most impressive to observe. Living in prides of around 15 individuals, lions adhere to strict social structures. Groups consist of related females and their cubs, who are often born around the same time and raised communally. New mothers, however, will live in dens with their cubs for the first few weeks, moving them one by one to a new den every few days to avoid building up a scent which would attract predators. A new male taking over a pride will often kill all cubs, and mate with each of the females.

The male’s distinctive mane plays a role in making it look much larger and more intimidating to other lions and spotted hyenas - the lion’s main rivals. It is the lionesses, however, who are responsible for around 90% of the hunting, doing so in coordinated groups which can allow them to pursue larger species such as buffalo and giraffes as well as smaller antelope. The kill is not shared evenly, however, and only the larger prey is brought back to the pride, making survival difficult for cubs during times of hardship.

Information sourced from African Wildlife Foundation http://www.awf.org/

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