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World Lion Day

Celebrating the King of the Jungle

Known as the king of the jungle, the lion has commanded awe in the eyes of humans for thousands of years, seen as deities, protectors, and powerful hunters throughout history. (More on presence in history/culture). They once roamed across Europe, Asia, Africa, but are now only present in Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of India, and in captivity. According to the IUNC Red List, lions are classified asvulnerable, but their decreasing population of 20,000 to 30,000 means that these majestic creatures are at risk of being moved to the endangered list.

The main threats to the lion population are human-caused and fall into two categories: intentional killing and destruction of resources. Lions are often victims of poaching so that their skins, claws, teeth, and bones can be sold for large profits, but they can also be killed for certain ceremonies or in accidents. The other primary reason that the lion population is at the state where it has to be classified as vulnerable is a loss of resources - mostly habitat and prey. Increasing human population means that people are encroaching on lion habitats, leaving smaller and smaller pockets of wildlife for them to reside in. Combined with the poaching of prey, such as antelope and zebra, it’s no surprise that lion populations are struggling.

As apex predators, lions play a key role in the ecosystem. They control the population and diseases of the herbivores they hunt, and their decreasing population has led to increases in zebra and buffalo populations, damaging the delicate balance of the Serengeti ecosystem.

World Lion day was created in 2013 by Big Cat Rescue to shed light on this issue and empower people to take action. It’s a day of giving tribute to lions and the magnificence that they represent by dressing up, making art, and sharing stories. Simultaneously, we have to remember the serious cause behind the celebration; World Lion Day was founded to educate others on the necessity of lion conservation and take steps to make it a reality. You can help raise awareness on the plight of lions and spread the word on the threats facing them by promoting the World Lion Day website, sharing various organizations dedicated to lion conservation, such as African Conservation Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, LionAid, Lion Guardians, Nikela, and Saving The Lion Foundation, and help make people aware of the variety of issues that lions face. If you have the resources, you can also make a donation to one of the above organizations, and encourage others to do the same.

Fun Facts

When we talk about lions, we don’t need to solely focus on the difficulties that they are facing. Celebrating World Lion Day can also involve sharing some interesting facts about the big cat species, such as:

  • You can hear a lion’s roar from up to 5 miles away

  • Lions sleep for up to 20 hours a day

  • The lion is the most social of all big cats, living in groups of 10 -15 called prides

  • In these prides, female lions do the majority of the hunting

  • Lions hunt during storms

  • The lion is the second largest cat in the world, following the tiger

  • Now, lions mostly live in east and southern Africa, but they once roamed across northern Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East

  • Lion cubs are reared together

  • Lions can climb trees!

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