Lions and tigers, and leopards, oh my!
I had to get that terrible joke out of the way.
I’ve been watching NatGeoWild a lot lately. I may not be a huge animal person, but I have my level of interest. Which has certainly been expanded by the things I’ve been watching.
The channel just had a Big Cats week, so I recorded about ten different programs, which I still haven’t finished watching.
My favorite big cats by far are the lions. Cheetahs and leopards and jaguars are cool. But lions take the grand prize.
I am no professional, but my astute observation after so much research is that lions are unpredictable.
If you have cats of your own (I have three) you probably would agree that cats are often predictable to a retain extent, but constantly do things that puzzle you. Like one of my cats likes being petted only every so often, and only on her head. But sometimes she lets you do more. There’s really no way to know.
Lions are like that times ten. Traditionally we all know them as the king of beasts, but not everyone knows that they are good mothers, protective fathers, and surprisingly affectionate pride members.
Watching the lions and lionesses with each other reminds you of watching a pair of highschoolers with innocent school level crushes, or a new married couple perhaps.
Lions date, did you know that? It’s not exactly how we do it, but when an aspiring male wants to mate with his female of choice, he has to prove himself, usually by bringing her dinner or helping with a catch.
Lions risk their lives to get food, so the lion has to be committed to this idea before he goes for it.
But lions are no easy pickups. Some swatting and growling can be involved before they agree to be mates.
I also think that those who represent lions as only bloodthirsty killers have never actually watched lions alone.
Lions are very territorial, but they still can surprise you.
9 out of 10 times, a lion will chase another lion off, or look out for number one.
But I was watching one story about three different lion prides. One of which was decidedly more fierce and merciless. These lions had some excuse to be, since they had to guard a whole herd of buffalo, whereas most prides don’t rely on just one herd for food. But there was one horrible part where they tortured one unlucky member of a rival pride to death.
It was so sad, the pride the victim was from had to surrender to save her life but in the end they got too dehydrated and had to move on, thought hey waited as long as possible. The mother of the lioness waited the longest.
I started feeling bad at this point, even though it was a lion, and it wasn’t like I knew her or anything.
But it turns out I must not have been the only one. The next day the three prides (one of which stayed out of he fight,) all stared trying to eat the same giraffe, and the merciless lions tried to take another lioness form the competition. This time the lionesses pride didn’t do anything, probably because they had surrendered and figured they were licked.
But then something even the commentator couldn’t explain happened. the other rival pride, the owners of the turf, stepped in and drove the angry lions off. Saving the lionesses life, though she was hurt. The angry pride didn’t dare mess with the actual owneres of the turf. (Kind of like a kid int he cookie jar doesn’t throw a temper tantrum.)
you have to understand, these lions had no real reason to help out. They just wanted these intruders off their land.
My personal thought was they’d seen the killing the day before, and sometimes I think lions just get tired of it. They didn’t want to settle things that way.
And that’s a really human emotion to witness from wild animals.
IT put me in mind of all those cute stories of how animals save lives. Which my sister reminded me of after I shared this story with her. Whatever you might think of cats and dogs, both creatures have been unknown to rescue both each other and humans.
Even wild animals have been known to save humans, for whatever reason. Lions included.
If you have read this far, first thank you; second, you might be wondering why I told all this. It’s not exactly my normal subject matter.
Well, hey, I have other interests. This is my blog , I can do what I want.
But also, I found these lions inspiring, in the way only animals can be. Sometimes it takes an animal to remind us of what it means to be human,
Mercy, compassion, these are the exceptions int he animal kingdom. And animals aren’t evil for that, they do have to survive in am roe basic way than we do.
But that’s exactly why we should realize that if even wild beasts can find some compassion in themselves, it must be an important part of life.
Some lionesses take care of cubs that aren’t there’s even when it’s at risk to themselves. Sometimes the males, classically portrayed as eating off what the girls hunt, actually allow struggling mothers and cubs to share with them.
Lions are a lot of things but they aren’t selfish.
And I think that’s a lesson for us.
For me, watching this was amazing for another reason, because I thought that God made lions, and God is compassionate. If even his wild creations can show mercy, then how much more his intelligent, spiritual ones?
And those are my thoughts for now. Until next time–Natasha.