My article is about Wild Animals & today I am particularly covering about Lions & Leopards, about their wildlife facts. This is a good opportunity to read wild life online to you. Also, read about the conflict between people & wild animals. Lastly, I would humbly request you to contribute to conserve wildlife.
Saluting the Pride of Africa
“King of Beasts” is a well-deserved title for this proud and powerful predator. The lion is everyone’s idea of a big cat, equipped with sharp teeth and huge paws to bring down large prey. A threatening roar and male’s magnificent mane ( Hairs around the head ) complete the picture. Lions dominate their rule – zebras and antelopes become nervous when they are near while cheetahs and Leopards back away from their own kills.
Hunting together :
Lions hunt and eat a wide range of animals, from small rodents and reptiles to young Hippos giraffes and even elephants. Their main preys are medium to a large mammal such as zebras and antelopes.
The lionesses do most of the hunting, working as a team- one may run at a zebra herd to panic its members while driving invulnerable, slow-moving animal towards the other lionesses who move in for the kill. Males join in when the prey is particularly large. Even if the lionesses make the kill the males always eat first, taking the choices pieces of meat.
Although the Lions drink water regularly when it is available they can survive without it deriving liquids in the form of gut content and blood from their prey. This allows them to survive in the dry climates.
Female Bond :
All the adult females in the pride breed at roughly the same time which allow them to raise their young community. Cubs are born in a well-hidden cave and nursed by both their mother and other breeding lionesses in the pride. They are taken to kill at four to eight weeks of age but don’t participate until they are almost a year old. They continue to be fully dependent upon adults for food until 16 months of age.
Cubs face numerous dangers and fewer than half survive their first year. Males leave their pride between the age of 2 and 4, female remain unless they disperse to form a new pride.
Safe Haven :
There are between 30000 and 100000 lions in the wild, mostly in eastern and southern Africa. However, they are becoming increasingly rare outside a national park and reserves. They are still prized as a hunting trophy and are frequently killed because they are seen as a threat to people and their livestock. Outside National Park the constant conservation dilemma to balance the needs of people who want to graze their livestock against the right of the lion to exist in its natural habitat.
Pride lands :
Lions are the only truly social cat living in groups called “Pride”. A Pride usually consists of around four to eight closely related females along with any offspring and occasionally males, one of which is dominant. Male form coalitions which move from pride to pride in their area, depending on when females are ready to breed. They then defend the females and the pride’s territory which they mark by spraying urine on bushes.
Lions communicate with each other with various sound but they are best known for their roar. This lets other pride members know where they are and also warns other males to keep away. A Lion’s roar can be heard several kilometers away.
Lions once lived in Southern Europe South Africa and parts of Asia but today are confined mainly to African game reserves. About 300 of the Asian subspecies live in the Gir forest in India.
Heavy mane asserts male lion’s dominance and helps protect the head and neck when fighting.
Golden mane – Lion varies in color from light buff and silver Grey to yellowish -red and dark brown. There under parts are pale and the tail tuft is black. Only the male has a mane, which starts out golden and usually darkens with age.
Sharp teeth and strong jaws tear flesh and crush bones.
Great Grip – Large, powerful paws tipped with sharp claws to grip prey.
Claws are retractable.
Muscular tail used for balance when chasing prey.
Strong hind legs designed for running and pouncing on prey
Unto 20 large mammals need to be killed each year to feed an adult lion.
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The Power & the Grace of A Big Cat Star!
One of the most impressive of the big cats, the leopard’s strength and beauty have long made it the stuff of legend. Aided by its magnificent, spotted camouflage and powerful compact build, it can silently attack and kill prey more than twice its own weight. Its habitat and diet are so varied that it thrives in areas where larger competitors, such as lions and tigers, often fail. Uniquely, the leopard can even live without water for long periods, meeting all its needs from the prey alone.
An opportunistic hunter :
Leopards will attack and eat anything from small beetles to large grazing mammals, such as antelope. The prey depends on the territory: in grasslands, large grazers are the basic, whereas in the forest monkeys and rabbits are more common. The usual method is patient solitary stalking followed by a pounce and if fetal bite to the neck. To protect the dead body of the prey from scavengers, the leopard often drags it to a treetop store.
Territorial Loners :
Days are spent sunbathing on a rock or resting in a tree, both of which provide good asset spots. Nights are for hunting. Leopards are specially adapted to negotiate the dark, with excellent hearing and night vision, and extra long, touch- sensitive whiskers.
Leopards are lonely bu territorial – they usually reject each other. When driven to it, they will defend a territory of about 30 square km in prey-rich areas or up to 200 square km in mountain or desert areas. They mark their territory with urine, claw marks on trees & by roaring. Silent and stealthy, they may cover more than 20 km a night. Males usually kill every 3 days, female with young every one and a half day.
Leopard is found over most of sub-saharan Africa, parts of the Middle East, Afghanistan, India and Sri Lanka, and from Northern China through Southeast Asia, although its distribution is increasingly not consistent.
Excellent eyesight with night vision 6 times better than that of human
A range of hearing twice that of human
Spotted coat pattern provide excellent camouflage
Whiskers ( Mustache ) act as a sensor
Silent killer a stealthy And Deadly nighttime hunter Leopard’ strong muscular build allows great leaps and fast climbing
Tail give balance, When walking the tip is raised showing the white underside. This may serve as a ‘flag’ for cubs to follow.
Retractable claws grip prey and scratch trees to Mark territorial boundary
A Myth or Fact?
Leopard got its name because at one point it was commonly thought to be a cross between a lion and a panther, or ‘pard’
The female alone look after her Cubs until they are 18 months old
The male calls out to attract a female in heat, but he may have to fight other males in order to mate with her. Afterward, the pair go their separate ways and the mother back-up her cubs alone.
They are about half to 1 kg at birth and are nursed by the mother for 3 months, after which they eat her kill and start practicing stalking themselves. There is much play fighting in preparation for adult life. At around 13 to 18 months old, the young Leopards have learned enough to leave their mother and established territories of their own.
It has proved difficult to assess accurately the current size of the Leopard population. Some geographic subspecies are under varying amounts of threat and populations have become patchy. This is due mainly to loss of habitat through human settlement and to be hunted for its coat. In most African countries Leopards have been declared either endangered or threatened and Amur leopard of Korea is now on the verge of extinction.
The conflict between People & Wild Animals
Wild animals see their habitat becoming smaller and traversing their migration routes. Because there are more and more people on earth who are bringing more and more nature into culture, cutting forests and building fields, roads and cities, they are coming to live and work closer to wild animals. The animals thus not only lose space but also prey. They go outside protected areas in search of space and food, where they come into contact with local people. As a result, the number of conflicts and accidents between people and wild animals increases.
Illegal trade is big business- Fact Of Life
The trade in wild animals is regulated through the Cites Convention and research agency TRAFFIC monitors compliance. But unfortunately, this legal protection is often not taken seriously. Because the chance of getting caught is small, and the punishments are low. Moreover, a lot of money can be made with wildlife crime.
A lot of money per year are involved in the illegal trade in wild animals. In short: the illegal trade in wild animals is a ‘high profit /low-risk business’, an ideal breeding ground for organized crime.
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