World Lion Day: August 10th

There are only 20,000 lions left in the wild.  Of the eight original species known in the Holocene, the age of man, one is extinct, 2 are critically endangered, and one lives on in captivity only: the Addis Ababa lion.  Of the five remaining species that make up most of their population, I’ve been privileged to observe three:  the Masai lion in Kenya and Tanzania; the Southwest African lion in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia; and the Transvaal lion, found in and around Kruger National Park in South Africa.  I’ll post a photos of them until World Lion Day.

This Masai lion has a wonderful mane, marking him as an older lion.  Male Masai lions have a great range of mane types, from nonexistent to luxurious, from red to black.  A Masai male lion grows up to 9 feet long.  The Ghost and the Darkness, the famous lions who killed 35 railroad workers in 1848 were Tsavo lions, a maneless variation of the Masai lion with a reputation for aggressiveness.

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

photograph by Cheryl Merrill

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