| 2021 Wild Stories Ep 1 |
No, sadly this is not the “enticing into sexual activity” for fun kind of definition of the word 😊😊 It’s about knowledge in animal behavior. Today, it’s about one of the animals I love to document most in nature; the Lion.
A Lion’s existence only begins when a strong nomad rises to the challenge of finding a mate. That is the birth of every Lion Pride. After the pride is formed, the survival of the pride is of vital importance, for that to happen, there has to be a strong force leading the pride, a dominant male/s and a very persuasive lioness/es.
Mating rights in Lions only come with dominance. The dominant male mostly gets the first mating rights; yes first because lionesses do mate with other pride males just to have them think that they are the fathers of the cubs that will be born into their pride. This is genius because the male Lion’s DNA dictates that if it suspects any cub is not of its blood, they have to be eliminated from the pride. In fact, whenever males take over a pride, the first house cleaning order of business is to kill all cubs of previous males so that they can start their own bloodline.
Now, the Lioness DNA dictates that she must protect her cubs at all costs. These extreme measures to protect her young sometimes means luring and keeping the male occupied in mating to lead him away from young cubs in a wonderful display of seduction!
I find this as one of the least told stories about Big Cat behavior. The Lioness’s influence in the pride. In the above image, I was able to capture the first moments of this lioness luring this pride male away. What this image doesn’t show you is that she had been mating with his brother for more than a week. As much as that would seem like odd behavior, it’s a carefully calculated move to secure the future of her cubs.
A SEDUCTION SEQUENCE FROM TWO BROTHERS WITH TWO DIFFERENT LIONESSES JUST A KILOMETER APART
|Canon EOS 1DX Mark II • 1/1250 sec; f/6.3 ISO 2500|
It’s just amazing to observe how easy, well and flawlessly lionesses are able to do this. However; as much as we can try to compare that as to what we humans know as seducing to just get a mate, Lion’s obsession with this is purely for their natural need to pass on their own genes.
I digress a lot 😊… as I said before we got into this, I am far from a professional writer, these are just my stories about my trips; from the thousands of hours of my life that I dedicate observing wildlife behavior to the campfire stories. I have been lucky to share and gather many wild stories over the years from the best Maasai guides in the business as we enjoyed cold tuskers at campfires.
When the male is finally lured away from the rest of the pride, the mating ritual or as many guides in my home country have nicknamed “Harusi” which is Swahili word for “Wedding”, finally begins.
To illustrate the mating ritual in images, King Scarface will be our wildlife model 😊😊I have been lucky enough to photograph Scarface, one of the most famous lions alive today. Here is a series of images that can give you an idea of what actually happens in this ritual.
WHAT IS THE RESULT OF ALL THIS?
Mating and THEN, we get the privilege of seeing the next generation of the most incredible cat to grace our planet.
Now that we have seen the process that leads us to one of the most photographed moment in nature, what would I as Clement the Wildlife Photographer want you to take out of this? I would like you to start paying more attention to nature. I want you to start taking deeper thought whenever you are in nature or when you encounter wildlife. I want you to question why that animal is behaving the way they are behaving. I want you to be curious because there is NOTHING in nature that happens for the sake. Every behavior in nature plays a role in the bigger picture of balance in the universe. What’s the role of the mating of the lion ritual or behavior you ask? It’s to ensure that only the strongest of genes are passed to the next generation to keep the balance of nature by keeping in check the population numbers of the grazers.
I now want you to ask yourself a question: Now that you know the role of a lion in keeping balance on our planet, WHAT IS YOURS?
If you would like to join me on safari in Kenya or anywhere in Africa, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until the next Wild Story, let’s keep dreaming, exploring and documenting. ~ ClementWild
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