A real Majesty
The lion is the 'King of the Animals'. That is why human beings make movies like 'The Lion King'. Lions are strong fighters. When people meet a lion, they become afraid of being eaten or they fire cowardly their guns at us on what they name 'safari'. They tolerate our species only in zoos behind bars or in parks where they drive around in cars where we cannot touch them.
© - Photo: Lion's Press Agency ©
Human beings say a lot of lousy things about lions as well. Not during the times that we ate them in their Colosseum and other theatres. Our jaws and claws were respected in these days. But biologists who began studying our life with cameras, binoculars and notebooks later, have damaged our reputation. The biologists say: lions are no kings, they sleep most of the day, they steal from hyenas instead of killing prey themselves and when lions go after food, the females do the work and the males only eat.
We think humans do not understand matters right. Isn't it typical, for their own kings too, that they do not really work themselves but let others work for them? What is wrong in hyenas working for lions? And what is wrong in females doing the work? Female human beings often complain that they are often not allowed to have good jobs. With us, lions, females have the best and most exciting job they can wish. What biologists found out is that the lion is a real king! A real majesty! They simply draw the wrong conclusions from what they see.
Earliest fossils of lionlike ancestors date from 1.5 million years ago. Once there lived even bigger lions on earth, the American Lion (Panthera leo atrox) in America and the cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea) in Eurasia. About 10.000 years ago lions governed large parts of Eurasia, Africa and the Americas. Until 2000 years ago, we were common in Europe and only two centuries ago we lived in most of Africa and Asia. Today you will find us only in a small area in India (only 200-300) and in Africa (50.000 or less), mostly on the eastern part of this continent. Only four subspecies of the African lion are left: the Angolan lion (southern Africa), the Senegalese lion (western Africa), the Masai lion in the east and the Transvaal lion in Kruger National Park. The Cape lion and the Barbary lion are extinct.
Not always is humanity to blame. Sometimes we had to give up areas, like western Europe, because of the expanding forests after the last Ice Age. We like open country better. That gives a lion a better view of what happens around us. But for our decline in Asia and Africa humans are fully responsible, especially European colonists who feared lions as man-eaters and killers of their cattle. They still kill lions to show our heads and skins as trophies at home.
What would people think of us if lions had killed and eaten almost all of them and left a few thousand of their species alive in reserves? And how would they like that we lions come there on a safari to watch them....?.