West African lions are different, new research


This video says about itself:

West African lion – Video Learning – WizScience.com

24 September 2015

The “West African lion” , also known as the “Senegal lion”, is a lion subspecies native to western Africa. Results of genetic research indicate that the Western and Central African lions form a different clade of lions and are perhaps more related to Asian lions than to lions from southern or eastern Africa. The genetic distinctiveness is particular of interest, since lions are regionally endangered in western Africa. With a total population of perhaps less than 1,000 individuals in all of West and Central Africa and no captive population, the West African lion is one of the most endangered subspecies of big cats.

Lions from western and central Africa are believed to be smaller than lions from southern Africa. It is also suggested that they have smaller manes, live in smaller groups, and they may also differ in the shape of their skull.

In the Pendjari National Park area, which is within the range of the West African lion, almost all males are maneless or have very weak manes.

The West African lion is distributed in western Africa south of the Sahara from Senegal in the west to the Central African Republic in the east. Another subspecies or North East Congo lion is traditionally described from northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Lions are rare in western Africa and may be critically endangered in this region. In 2004 there were probably only 450-1,300 lions left in West Africa. In addition, there were about 550-1,550 in Central Africa. In both regions, the area inhabited by lions has been reduced until 2004 to less than 15% of the historic range.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Lions in West and Central Africa apparently unique

10 August 2016

Lions in West and Central Africa form a unique group, only distantly related to lions in East and Southern Africa. Biologists at Leiden University confirm this in an article published in Scientific Reports.

Genetic data

In this study, the researchers gathered a genetic dataset of lion populations covering a total of 22 countries. This included samples from each remaining lion population in West and Central Africa, a region where lions and other wildlife are rapidly declining as a consequence of the increasing human population. The researchers managed to gather all the information by teaming up with other people in the field and local conservationists.

300,000 years ago

Based on the genetic data, it was estimated that the split between the two major groups that can be identified in the lion must have occurred 300,000 years ago. To explain what happened in their evolution, the researchers made a reconstruction of African climatological history. It seems that periodic expansions of the rain forest and the desert drove lions into isolated pockets of suitable habitat, where the different genetic lineages originated that can still be observed today.

Other mammals

This influenced not only the patterns we observe in the lion, but also in other large mammals such as giraffe, buffalo, hartebeest, cheetah and spotted hyena. A general pattern is emerging that shows that many large African savannah mammals show very similar arrangements, with unique lineages in West and Central Africa.

Reason for concern

The strong declines in wildlife populations in large parts of West and Central Africa are therefore a reason for major concern. The fact that this region seems to harbour a lot of unique genetic lineages makes conservation in the area extremely important. A delegation from Leiden University will participate in the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016, and will lead a Side Event that aims to establish a Species Action Plan for West and Central Africa. The researchers hope that this will facilitate coordination and funding of projects in the region.

World Lion Day today


This video says about itself:

Lion Facts for World Lion Day 2016

Aug. 10th is World Lion Day. How much do you know about these awesome big cats? Watch & share!

Art by Ken Gitau

From National Geographic:

Today is World Lion Day. Give a roar for the big cats you’ve helped save!

It’s a special day to celebrate lions and to recognize their critical role in helping nature to thrive.

But it’s also the day to remember Cecil, the lion killed by an American trophy hunter, and so many other lions now at risk. With lion and other big cat populations declining worldwide due to hunting, conflict, habitat loss, and other threats, it’s urgent that we take action for all big cats in the wild now!

Please celebrate World Lion Day and help give threatened big cats a future by donating to the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative today.

To show how your generous support can make a difference, I’d like to share updates from two innovative, community-based programs that are saving lions right now.

Shivani Bhalla works in northern Kenya. She hires young Samburu warriors to be peaceful ambassadors for lions, and reduces conflicts between humans and big cats through her Warrior Watch program. They’ve already prevented the killing of at least 35 lions! And now, thanks to the funding provided by National Geographic Society supporters like you, she’s training more warriors to join her efforts.

Amy Dickman is helping farmers and families in Tanzania prevent conflict with lions by using proven techniques like reinforced bomas (fences) and guard dogs to better protect livestock. She started with five villages, but now she will be expanding to 15 with your help. Your generous donation to the Society could prevent the deaths of up to 1,000 lions and 200 cheetahs!

The impact of these projects is powerful and proven. They show how, with your generous support, the Society funds innovative ideas that empower our explorers to test, improve, and expand effective conservation programs.

But to make a larger difference more funding is needed now to invest in the solutions that save lions and other big cats. Today, I am asking for YOUR support.

Please help the National Geographic Society invest in more innovative programs to protect lions and other threatened wildlife today.

As you think about what World Lion Day means to you, remember that lions aren’t only amazing and majestic creatures on their own . . .

They are also a vital part of a larger habitat that includes many other animals. When lions thrive, the whole ecosystem is healthier. When lions and other big cats decline, nature is thrown out of balance.

Shivani Bhalla and Amy Dickman are just two of the brilliant conservationists working with communities to help save lions. The impact of their work is spreading!

And so is the impact of our generous supporters. In the last six years, Society donors have helped us support 88 projects in the field in 27 countries.

Now it’s time to do even more together. Because with lions and other big cats facing increasing risks, we must intensify our efforts and expand proven programs.

You can help. Please celebrate World Lion Day right now by joining with the National Geographic Society to fund even more innovative, on-the-ground solutions where they are needed most.

Only by working together can we give lions and other threatened wildlife a future. We need your help.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Sarah Stallings
Director, Annual Giving

Lion hunt fails catching antelopes, video


This video says about itself:

14 June 2016

We all were anticipating a fairly easy catch by these 2 hunting lions. But this turned out to be a hilarious fail by them!🙂

Taken on a safari in South Africa.

Video by: Natasha

Lions against buffalo in South Africa


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Lions Bring Down Buffalo | Absolutely Crazy Ending!

23 May 2016

We have had the honor of hundreds of people from around the world sending in their incredible videos for us to share, and each is unique. This one however is one that is just extremely special and plays on every emotion!

Incredible too see how two lionesses from one pride chase the herd into two males from a different pride. The 4 of them are happy to share the meal, however, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” happened to the buffalo when the lioness from the male’s pride comes in and a huge fight breaks out, leaving the buffalo a great opportunity to escape without even a limp.

Taken in the Mala Mala Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Video by: Ranger Mike

Lions chase buffaloes into tourists’ car


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Lions Chase Buffaloes Into Tourists’ Car

14 May 2016

Scary video showing a group of tourists being at the wrong place at the wrong time as 2 male lions take their chance at buffaloes, chasing the herd right into a spectating vehicle.

Thank goodness the people in the car are doing well and weren’t hurt.

Taken on the H1-4 near Olifants in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Video by: Penny Osborne

Ex-circus lions freed in South Africa


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Roaring rescued lions free at last

1 May 2016

Thirty-three abused circus lions arrived at OR Tambo Airport from Peru and Colombia, en route to their new home in Limpopo.

Animal Defenders International co-founder Tim Phillips describes the difficulties of rescuing the 33 lions who were scattered around in 12 different illegal circuses.

For more about this story click here.

Also related to the arrival of the lions – read here.

This video from South Africa says about itself:

Rescued Circus Lions Given Freedom In South Africa

2 May 2016

Thirty-three lions rescued from South American circuses landed in South Africa. Tasting their new freedom, the lions were released into a bush sanctuary for big cats.

Animal Defenders International said it rescued 24 of the lions in surprise raids on circuses in Peru.

In the statement released by the organization, the company said, “Nine were voluntarily surrendered by a circus in Colombia. Almost all of the rescued lions have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth so would not survive in the wild,” the organization.

The president of Animal Defenders International said it was their largest airlift in history.

Lions’ same-sex sexuality, video


This video from the USA says about itself:

Lions Don’t Care If You Approve Of Their Bromance

21 April 2016

Belgian photographer Nicole Cambré recently released several photos that appear to show that lion sexuality, like almost all animals, is highly fluid. National Geographic tried to debunk the photos, claiming that some female lions have manes that make them appear male, which can be true. Cambré then debunked their debunk by posting a video of the supposedly female lion mounting another lion. Cenk Uygur and Hannah Cranston (ThinkTank), hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Nicole Cambré, a lawyer and photographer from Belgium, recently took some photos in Botswana that shot like a comet across social media over the weekend. They showed two lions, both with lush manes, cuddling at sunset in the tall grass and mounting each other…

Interpreting homosexual behavior in animals, which has been observed in upwards of 450 species but is far from common, remains tricky territory for researchers. And proclaiming it as a reflection of human sexuality is something most anthropomorphism-allergic scientists are loathe to do.

“It’s a bromance, not ‘Brokeback Mountain,’” Craig Packer, a University of Minnesota professor who is one of the world’s top experts on African lions, said of the behavior in the photos. But, he added, “I don’t think you have to look at animals to justify what humans do. Our biology is far more complicated.””

Read more here.

Genetic diversity, evolutionary history and implications for conservation of the lion (Panthera leo) in West and Central Africa: here.