World Lion Day – 10 August

World Lion Day – 10 August

World Lion Day is celebrated every year on August 10 to raise awareness of the importance of lions for conservation, culture, and tourism. A symbol of strength, the lion is known as the king of the jungle.

Lions are in danger, mainly because of the shrinking of their habitat, through poaching and trophy hunting certainly contribute. The lion is not yet officially listed as endangered, but if things go the way they have been, it will sadly likely be on that list soon.

The lion (Panthera leo), the second largest of the big cats, is the king of the beasts is admired around the world by children and adults alike for its beauty and power. World Lion Day encourages individuals and groups to hold campaigns or events that support conservation efforts on the ground.

History of World Lion Day

World Lion Day was founded in 2013 by the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust, to encourage the general public to donate directly to an organization that they choose to support that works for lion conservation. It is a global initiative that celebrates these majestic animals while raising awareness of their plight across Africa and India.

Since the dawn of man, the lion has played an integral role in our lives: symbolically, religiously, culturally, economically, and biologically. To lose the lion from our world would be to lose part of our global heritage.

Lion populations were 200,000 a hundred years ago, a drop of 90% to today, and their historical range has been decreased by 94% with the worst hit being those in West Africa. As numbers are projected to decline further by 50% in the next two decades in Central, West, and East Africa the future of these majestic animals is at considerable risk. The only region which is actually increasing in lion density in Southern Africa.

Facts about Lions

  • Lions are thought of as some of the most regal, powerful, and beautiful carnivores on the planet.

  • Lions can run super fast and reach speeds up to 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour).

  • They have an amazing jump and have been recorded springing as far as 36 feet.

  • A baby lion is called a cub, whelp, or lionet.

  • Lions are the second-largest living cat after the tiger, in the Panthera genus, and a member of the Felidae family.

  • Lions in the wild exhibit very similar behavior, especially when smaller females or younger animals join up with the more dominant lions in the pride.

  • Wild Lions currently exist in India and Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • A thunder of grown-up lion can be heard a ways off of 5 miles (8 Km).

  • Lions can go up to four days without drinking water, but if available, they will drink water every day. Lions do need to eat every day.

  • Lions can eat up to 40 kg of meat in a single meal – around a quarter of their body weight.

  • The mane is a sign of distinction for any self-respecting male lion, however, not all males have one. The main functions of the mane are thought to be physical protection for the head and neck areas, sexual gravitas, or intimidation to other males.

  • Lions go for food, mostly from dusk to dawn. Their eyes have adapted to the dark and this gives them a huge advantage over their prey. Female lions hunt between 85 and 90 percent of pride, while male lions patrol the territory and protect pride.

  • While lions primarily prey on large herbivores such as zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo, they have been known to prey on smaller animals like mice, birds, hares, lizards, and tortoises.

  • Female lions hunt cooperatively and individuals have a preferred position within the hunting formation that is dependent on their body shape and size, similar to a rugby team.

  • Once widely distributed across Africa, as well as Europe and Asia, Lions have now disappeared from more than 90% of their historic range, remaining only in Africa and in one population in India.

  • Lions have lost at least 75% of their original habitat over the past 100 years, having disappeared altogether from 12 African countries.

  • Lions have long been a symbol of the British Monarchy; some of the earliest signs of the royal’s relationship with the king of the jungle were discovered in 1937.

  • While the traditional view of lions is that they live in pride, this is actually far from the norm and more than half of the population don’t live in pride at all.

  • Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Ethiopia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore have lions as their national animals – even though most of them do not have natural populations of lions!

  • The Czech Republic’s national animal is the mythical double-tailed lion! Sri Lanka doesn’t have an official national animal, but lions are the most celebrated animal in that country.

  • The deep jungles of India are famed for their strange and wonderful beasts; the Bengal tiger, the pygmy elephant, and the Indian rhino, but hidden in the small Gir Forest National Reserve of Gujarat State lives the little known Asiatic lion.

How to celebrate World Lion Day?

August 10th is a day for people to come together from across the world to pay tribute to the mighty lion in as many ways as possible. Though a fun and exciting occasion for all, its foundations are based on a very serious matter: lion numbers have dramatically declined to the point where the species needs to be placed on the endangered list, just like its larger cousin the tiger.

Help celebrate World Lion Day on 10th August, by either seeing these magnificent animals at close quarters as part of a collaring exercise with lion scientists and researchers or by donating to the Lion Recovery Fund. Learn all about these amazing big cats through keeper chats, enrichment and training demonstrations, biofacts, games, and more.

One of the most important things you can do is talk to people and raise awareness; tell people about the plight of lions around the world and suggest that they can also help out. You can also make sure that you prevent contributing to the abuse of lions by avoiding attractions like animal circuses, or zoos/sanctuaries with poor conditions.

Hope is not lost and the future for lions could be bright. Ethical and sustainable tourism can bring money to help conserve lions in suitable reserves and conservation groups are working tirelessly on reducing the human and environmental impact on lion populations. It is never too late to make a difference and hopefully, we can work together to ensure the lion can keep its thrones as king of the beasts for many generations to come.

The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends to do should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.Chanakya

Suggested Read: Important Days In August

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.