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Monday, June 14, 2010

Lions in Kruger

Lions are social animals and touching is very important aspect of their daily lives. Mothers can be seen licking and grooming their off-spring which strengthens the bond between them.
This cub is about 16-18 months old and almost ready to start taking its place in the pride.
This male has seen many, many battles, probably with younger males trying to take over his females.
His brother looks almost as bad. Both these males will mate with the dominant female but will not allow outsiders the chance.
Being born in the Park, they are very comfortable with vehicles around them. When the weather starts to turn cooler, they will come and lay on the tarmac during the late afternoon and spend the night there for its warmth.
Every species of wild cat has different markings behind their ears.......
and the tip of their tails by which they can be identified.

44 comments:

tony said...

In Kenya the warders would kill a zebra then drag it behind a vehicle to a certain place where the lions would feed, they too fed on the tarmac and the smell of the urine was overbearing just like opening the door of a house that had cats that never went out of the building,
but I must say its an awesome sight seeing a whole pack of lions feed, the Masai made me a necklace of dried bones with the nail of a lion as the main pendant. I also have a fly swat made from the tail of a wilder beast. this was given to me by one of the kikamba tribe chiefs.1997 Danial the then mayor of Muchakos.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Wonderful pictures as always. I did not know about the ears and the tail though. Interesting info. Diane

A New England Life said...

It's pretty amazing how the cars just drive around them as they lay on the road without a care in the world!

Such beautiful, close-knit, animals, but so scary at the same time.

Jo said...

Beautiful animals, Joan and beautifully photographed .

Gaelyn said...

I held my breath as soon as I saw the lions, just like in Kruger. Such magnificent animals to watch so close to your truck. Then my thoughts went to the old female we saw. Thanks for these returning memories. And as always, great captures Joan.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

We did the same with the zebra when we were marking the lion during a TB census Tony. Gruesome but necessary in those early days.

That necklace sounds like a wonderful gift to have and I am sure you treasure it.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Diane. There is so much interesting information to learn about wild animals. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hi Sharon. Wonderful to hear from you again. Sorry I have not been doing my rounds much but I am ted up with projects I need to get done.

When these animals walk next to the car and you look at the size of his paws then it can be really scary. One swipe is all it would take to kill a person.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jo. I do love finding them when we go to Kruger.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are most welcome Gaelyn. WHen I was doing this post I was having the same thoughts. That was really a wonderful trip.

Firefly said...

No wonder lions are seen as the king of the jungle, or in our case the bush(veld). Some great shots in the selection.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jonker. They are so majestic. I hope one day you get there to see them too.

Krista said...

How interesting; I never knew that little tidbit about the backs of their ears and the tips of their tails.

As always, I LOVE your big cat shots. It's cute how they go to the road for warmth... just like my cat always defaults to the seat I just vacated. ;o)

Craver Vii said...

That first big male looks like he's sporting a mohawk. Gnarly, Dude!

Mel Brooks' character in History of the World said, "It's good to be the king." Judging by those scars, I think our lion here would tell a different story.

Zane said...

The big cats are smelly creatures. That is why I prefer to remain in my car and not become their next meal.

I like the post, but fear that the closest I will come to real lions or big cats is the nice warm woolly tiger striped slippers / booties I wear in winter. They are synthetic and not real tiger skin.

I have seen a few lions at Seaview Game Park, but they appeared a bit tame and do not lie in the road in wait.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Joan: What beauties but way to tame for lions.

Diane AZ said...

Amazing to see them lying on the road. Interesting about the different markings behind the ears and tip of tail. Great pictures and info, Joan! :)

Rambling Woods said...

Wow Joan...I love to see them there safe....It makes me think of my two cats..they are always licking one another..then one will take a swat and they play....love big and small cat...Michelle

Becky said...

Such powerful animals! Great photos as usual!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I was at friends a week ago and the dogs did the same thing Krista. LOL!! Everytime one of us stood up, one of them would jump onto the chair for the heat. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! I sure am not going to tell him what you think of his styled hair Craver, but I have to agree with you. :)

The fights between the males can be really vicious with one or both of them usually alking away with scars of some kind. I have seen females get into fights like this too.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Good reasoning Zane. :) I prefer to stay in my car too. LOL!!

You should really plan a trip to Kruger with the kids sometime. Dont believe that it is too expensive as some people will have you believe and it is an experience of a lifetime.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Tom. I am not going to get out of my car to see how tame they are though. LOL!!

Seriously though, if someone had to open their car door, the lions would scatter as they have that inborn fear of man and they do not see people in cars as humans and so are not afraid.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Diane. It is a great experience being able to see these lovely creatures.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They are exactly like your cats at home Michelle, very playfull and cute to watch especially when young.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Becky (Florida). When you see them walking and notice the muscles, then you really know how powerful they are. They react in an instant and are very fast.

Ida from South Africa said...

Joan, ek dink dis 'n heerlike ervaring om saam met jou deur die Kruger te gaan! As jy ooit toergroepe deurvat, laat weet asb.!!

Elettra said...

Ciao Joan, I very like the lion, it is my zodiac sign, beautiful photos

Becky and Gary said...

Love the stories about the Lions, and you have wonderful pictures.
Thanks for the info.
B.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Ek wens ek kon dit weer doen Ida. As ek 'n voertuig gehad het soos 'n Kombi dan sou ek. :) My hele lewe was om mense wildtuin toe te vat.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Ciao Elettra. I leoni sono veramente belli ed รจ sempre un piacere vederli.

Mi dispiace ma non voglio commentare la tua pagina o Sciarada come ci sia qualcosa di sbagliato in entrambi i blog. Quando ho lasciare un commento e uscire, mi spam con 100 pagine. Forse si dovrebbe prendere in considerazione questi blog chiusura e l'apertura di nuove.

Uno dei problemi potrebbe essere la casella di commento su di loro. Prova a cambiarlo con uno che si apre-out come il mio. So che questo era stato un problema su un bel blog pochi.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are welcome Becky. Glad you found it of interest.

Anna said...

Hey Joan these are stunning images. So the bond increases by licking their off spring, aha, I don't lick, lol, but I kiss, hug and keep my off spring around me all the time.

BTW these are amazing photos. Did you take them with window open? Once we did that in our local zoo, and got yelled at by the zoo keeper.

Anna :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Anna. I do think your off-spring would object if you licked him. LOL!! Poor Mathew!! LOL!!

It is so hot there, you have no choice but to ride with the windows open and of course trying to get pictures throught the glass would be impossible in any case. You are not allowed to get out of your car anywhere in the park except in the fenced camps.

Most of the time when you are watching things like lions, you do have to be careful, especially when they are a mating pair, as they can become quite aggressive when disturbed.

T and S said...

WOW, lovely series of images. You have captured each character pretty well.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Thomas. It was a beautiful pride except for the one female who looked like she might have had TB or maybe it was just old age?

Mary said...

Interesting about the ear and tail markings. I'd feel really weird driving around lions as they snoozed on the road!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It is weird in the begining Mary, but you soon get used to it. :) In parts of Botswana and Zimbabwe which are two of our neighboring states, you see all these animals on the roads when you are driving between town, now that is REALLY weird!!

Steve Borichevsky said...

Better keep those tails tucked in on that road!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Good isea that Steve. :)

Philip said...

Well that's new I did'nt know about the ears but the tail I did thanks for sharing that :) you got some great shots here Joan NICE!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

You are welcome Philip. I was so lucky that Gaelyn was able to see them up close like this.

JM said...

What a great post! Your photos surely do justice to these wonderful big cats!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jose. What a pleasure it is to always see and photograph them.