Lions. Those giant cats of nature. Fearsome fighting machines, yet beautiful animals whom are generally fairly social and family, or pride orientated.
The Auckland Zoo is home to a small pride of lions, sitting on top of their little half island (the un-glassed/walled part open to the public is separated by a strip of water). With the poor weather during our visit, it looked as though they were enjoying some of the sun for what was left later in the day. Often this small pride is given interesting toys to play with – things they dont see in the wild. This keeps them inquisitive and playful.
Lions are the second biggest of the cat family (Tigers taking that award). Interestingly, in captivity, Lions can live a little longer than in the wild (10-14 years wild vs 20+ years captive).
With a top speed, for a limited time, of 80kph (50mph), one would not want to be on the receiving end of one of these cats. Luckily they generally dont hunt humans…although thats not to say there are not a number of lion attacks and deaths around the world. Some interesting reading for able googlers could be the Tsavo Man-Eaters.
Lions can be bread with tigers to make Ligers and Tigons, with Leopards to make Leopons…not that any of you will be doing such…
Shot on the Olympus e-500 and cropped in Gimp.