The life of the lion is short and cruel

Forget all about the cute little lions in the Disney movies and the innocent sibling rivalry between them. In reality, the turf is dominated by murderous boy bands who vainly…

Forget all about the cute little lions in the Disney movies and the innocent sibling rivalry between them. In reality, the turf is dominated by murderous boy bands who vainly seek to overthrow the ruling leader.

Loud screams break the silence.

The king of the lions, the male lion C-Boy, stands on a ridge overlooking the Seronera River in the middle of the Serengeti National Park. In front of him are four full-grown male lions, baring their teeth and sharp claws.

The scientists behind the Serengeti Lion Project, who have been studying the national park’s lions since 1978, have dubbed the group “The Killers” since its members brutally killed three lionesses.

At the bottom of the hill are the other five members of C-Boy’s lion herd known only as Jua Kali. The other male animal in the herd, Hildar, had escaped the killer lions shortly before and he is limping around injured. C-Boy’s puppies are hiding in the tall grass.

The Lion King C-Boy and his loyal squire, Hildar (th), while the two of them still ruled together over the Jua-Kali Horde.

The dust spreads to all eight as the four lions compete to bite C-Boy’s rear end and his spine. It doesn’t take long before C-Boy’s light fur is red with blood.

The lion king who is four years old, roars with all his life and soul strength and tries to dangle his enemies with his paw. However, the battle is lost. After a minute of vicious attacks, the wounded C-Boy staggers away, humiliated and driven away from his pack.

Now that the king has been deposed, “The Killers” gain control over the Jua Kali Horde. The lion cubs will never be seen alive again. In all likelihood, the new Lion Kings have screwed the life out of them.

Now that the cubs are gone, the lionesses quickly become eager to play again, and it’s not long before “The Killers” have fathered their own litter.

The Lions’ Hunting Guide – Ambush

The simplest trick is to sneak up on the prey, and that’s the method single lions usually use. However, whole herds can also learn to hunt from ambush.

The lion hides behind vegetation and creeps up to the prey. This stealth can go on for hours.

When the lion is about 30 meters away, it shoots up a mane.

The lion takes a powerful leap, surprises the prey and bites it on the throat.

Lions kill each other randomly

It is often said that cats have nine lives, but this does not apply to the African lion. A quarter of all lion cubs are killed by enemy lions, but if they manage to survive and establish a lion herd, they are constantly at risk of being attacked by groups of young lions in killing mode.

The males are mainly threatened by other male lions, and of course humans. This also explains why wild lions usually do not live more than eight to ten years of age, although animals in the wild can live half that age.

In zoos, the laws of the jungle do not apply and there is no reason to fight about who is above all the other lions, because lack of food never shows itself among animals living in unrestrained freedom.

External danger has a great influence on the way of life of the lions. Unlike all other big cats, lions hunt and live in groups. Scientists believe that this close cooperation is not only due to the fact that it is easier for the animals to obtain food.

In fact, studies show that lions that hunt on their own get more food than animals that hunt in large groups of, for example, 20-25 animals.

The social community of the animals also plays a role in ensuring that the animal species survives. If it weren’t for a male guarding the lionesses and cubs against other lions, there would be a much greater risk of the animals losing their offspring. The eternal struggle for power also means that only the strongest lions get to mate with the females.

In this way, the power structure within the herd ensures that only the most promising genes are passed on.

The Lions’ Hunting Guide – Surrounded by Prey

A large herd of lionesses work together when planning to surround prey.

The females approach in formation.

The lions on the side wing make a large curve around the animals to get behind the prey.

The lions approach the herd of animals from both directions. The animals are now surrounded and the inevitable fate of falling into the claws of a lion awaits them.

The lions ruled the earth

When a male animal like C-Boy is culled from the herd, difficulties await him as he has to face life alone. The males are not particularly well suited to defeating prey without the more experienced females, and if male lions do not quickly find a new herd to become a part of, there is a risk that they will starve to death.


Fortunately, there are many herds to choose from in the Serengeti.


There are over 3,000 lions living in the national park and as a result it is the largest concentration of lions in one place in the world. Serengeti means “endless plains” in the African Masai language, and it can be said that this 14,763 km 2 national park seems to stretch into infinity.


The plains contain more animal species than any other place in the world. There are more than two million animals of the antelope species called rumble, 500,000 gazelles and 250,000 zebras, but together these animals form a huge ecosystem, together with 67 other large mammal species and more than 500 different bird species.


At the top of the food chain are the lions. With the exception of 400 Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest in India, all the world’s lions live in Africa, south of the Sahara. However, it has not always been this way.


600,000 years ago, these big cats migrated all the way from Africa to India and on to Greece and Turkey. 32,000-year-old wall paintings have been found in the French cave of Chauvet, which prove that the lion still lived in southern Europe.


In this cave, there are more than 70 drawings of lions, and analyzes of fossils have revealed that the European lion was about a quarter larger than the African lion.


About 12,000 years ago, new weapons and improved hunting techniques enabled humans to catch prey that only lions had been able to hunt in the past, and before long these predators had disappeared entirely from Europe.


It is now feared that the African lion may soon be out. The population counted around 200,000 lions worldwide a century ago, but today it is estimated that only around 23,000 animals survive. Poachers, logging, as well as farmers who preserve their livestock, are the main reasons why the lions are now on the verge of becoming silent.

The natural habitats of lions (red) have shrunk significantly since 1950.

Movies show reality

Fortunately, it is still possible to see lions in the wild, and there is no better place to see these majestic predators than in the Serengeti.

In the early 1990s, the film producer Disney sent a group of animators to the national park in search of ideas for the animated film “The Lion King”, and in 2019 a new version of the film was released. The new one used 3D images that show exact replicas of the animals instead of the 2D drawings in the older movie.

The structure of a lion herd and the balance of power in the herd is very real in the movie. The size of a lion herd can range from two lions to up to 30 different lions. However, there are usually five to six lionesses and one or two males, and no other male lions get to mingle with the females.

The new 3D version of The Lion King pays homage to the 1994 original. The animators have recreated the magnificent opening scene where the lion cub is introduced to the animals in the kingdom.

In the Disney film, the leadership role is passed down from father to son, but that is by no means the case in real life. More so, because the puppies are usually kicked out of the herd when they reach the age of two or three.

The young males then often join their brothers or cousins, hoping that they will be better able to survive in the harsh nature in a group. However, the dangers of death are everywhere.

If the male is to survive, the best option is to find a herd with a weak enough male lion as a leader that he can defeat. The fights often end in the way that the underdog dies, but the winner can’t brag about his luck for long.

At some stage, a new generation of male lions will band together and attack the new leader. Thus the table of power and the bloody struggle for the leadership seat continue into infinity.

Hunting guide for lions – Kænskugragð

Only a few lion herds are able to use courtship tricks to divert their attention while hunting. The method as such needs to be practiced and developed and it requires careful cooperation.

Two of the lions sneak back in front of the prey and hide in the vegetation.

At the same time, two other lions very obviously approach the prey from the other side and steal the attention.

The two lions behind attack the prey while it looks straight ahead.

The Lion King grew old

The Lion King C-Boy actually survived being toppled. A total of three years after the bloody showdown with “The Killers”, the scientists of the Serengeti Lion project spotted C-Boy in a new herd of lions. The lionesses brought him food and he ate his fill before other animals were allowed to approach the food.

The king had apparently acquired a new court.

In 2018, however, C-Boy’s adventure ended when he was found dead right next to his flock. The Lion King reached the age of 14.

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