7 May No Comments Thomas Whetten African Photo Safari

Male African Lions are not hunters by nature, I believe they consider it women’s work.  I tried to find out the reason but could not get a response from any of the lions I tried to communicate with. In fact, most males seemed to be on the stuffy side while the females just ignored me completely. After much thought, I came to the conclusion that there is a two-fold reason for males not hunting – first, they’re just plain lazy and second, they’re bigger. Their large manes make them more conspicuous than the females, therefore they just aren’t as successful as hunters.

Like many species, lion males cannot take care of themselves, living off the efforts of their wives and sweethearts. Yes, like most males in the animal kingdom, male lions use their size and dominant status to eat first and let females and cubs fend for themselves.

Lion attack ZebraPlease understand that male lions have hunting skills, it’s just that they don’t want to use them.  Somewhere between ages two and four males cubs are kicked out of their pride and forced to fend for themselves. During this period, young “kicked out” males will form a small group hoping the others really know how to hunt so they won’t starve.  When a lone male cannot join a group, he has to fend for himself – generally hunting smaller animals such as warthogs, hares, and the young of other species. Yep, he’s a bully.

A young group of males often stay together and gang up on an older male who has a pride – forcing him to run or be killed. If the young males do drive the older male away, two things may occur. First, the young males may kill all of the vanquished male’s offspring to ensure their genes are in the pride. Second, the outcast male has a slim chance of survival without a pride of females to hunt and care for him.

African lions are not difficult to find during the day and are abundant in large National Parks like the The Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. They are found almost everywhere except forests.

Their habitats include open plains, woodlands, thick bush, and semi desert.

On safaris to Kenya and Tanzania, I often find lions lying in open fields, resting in trees or laying in the shade of Acacia trees.  Most wildlife in Africa are tolerant of vehicles and lions are not an exception, in fact they are very tolerant of vehicles.  Like most cats, lions are nocturnal and sleep about twenty hours a day. However, we observed forty lions during the day on my August 2012 safari during the “Great Migration.”

Visit African Photo Safaris for more information on photo tours and workshops.