Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Supremely royal, but positively social — The lions from Gir forest

Supremely royal, but positively social — The lions from Gir forest

Considered to be the king of the animal kingdom, lions are also considered as superpowers and yet, they will not kill or hurt a human being unless provoked.

As per deputy conservator, Gir forest, Sandeep Kumar who has been studying the behavioural patterns of lions since three years, the lion is a social animal. "Lions are extremely social animals and therefore, the human populace (locals) living around Gir is not so afraid of this animal. They would not attack any human intentionally and therefore, the humans around the forest and the lions can survive with each other". Studying the lions' behaviour, Kumar recently observed a uniquepattern in a huge pride of 32 lions, the biggest in Gir. He explains, "The pride of 32 is divided roughly into six groups. That day was quite surprising when I found nearly 18 lions sitting together, implying that nearly four groups were together. However, of these 2 adult males were seated about 100 metres from the main group, one young lion was seated about 100 metres in a different direction from this group and one more young lioness was sitting 100 metres from the group."

While observing and trying to understand this weird seating arrangement, Kumar found that the lioness was actually staring at her brother (young lion) who was being chased out of the group by two adult lions.

"There is a rule in the case of lions according to which, once the male cub grows up, he has to leave the pride. Only then does breeding happen. However, here, the young lioness refused to eat till her brother returned to the pride. And the same behaviour was followed by other young adults of the pride. But the fact is that the young lion has to move out and form his own kingdom," Kumar said.

They have also observed that a male cub sits separately, 14 lions sit in a group and two male adult lions who are the rulers sit separately.

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