The Lion and The Gazelle | HuffPost
Relationships between species can make or break any organisms chance at survival. For example, the gazelle is a primary food source for the lion. A lion will. leg length, available muscle power, mass and inertia; connection to (such as lions) that can out-accelerate but not out-run their prey (such as gazelles) should . The world's foremost lion expert reveals the brutal, secret world of the king of dawdling baboons, gazelles rocketing by, oxpecker birds hitching rides atop.
Jansson had a feeling they might be a new group. Jansson found what seemed to be a decent crossing spot, by Serengeti standards, and angled the truck down. We roared across the bed and began churning up the other side. Packer, who is originally from Texas, let out a whoop of triumph just before we lurched to a halt and began to slide helplessly backward. We came to rest at the bottom, snarled in reeds, with only three wheels on the ground, wedged between the riverbanks as tightly as a filling in a dental cavity.
Jansson stepped out of the truck, long blond ponytail whipping around, dug at the wheels with a shovel and spade, and then hacked down reeds with a panga, or straight-blade machete. Earlier I had asked what kind of anti-lion gear the researchers carried. Packer is not afraid of lions, especially Serengeti lions, which he says have few encounters with people or livestock and have plenty of other things to eat.
He says he once ditched a mired Land Rover within ten feet of a big pride and marched in the opposite direction, his 3-year-old daughter on his shoulders, singing nursery school songs all the way back to the Lion House. Packer never tried such a stunt with son Jonathan, now 22, although Jonathan was once bitten by a baboon.
Packer and Pusey divorced in ; she returned to studying chimpanzees. Not being handy with a panga, I was sent a short distance down the riverbed to gather stones to wedge under the wheels.
I could not decide whether I should creep or sprint. As I bent to claw stones out of the ground, I knew suddenly, with complete, visceral certainty, why Tanzanian villagers might rather be rid of these animals.
Jansson looked through binoculars, taking note of their whisker patterns and a discolored iris here and a missing tooth there.
She determined this was the seldom-seen Turner Springs pride. Some of the sun-dazed lions had bloodstains on their milky chins.
The first true lion probably padded over the earth aboutyears ago, and its descendants eventually ruled a greater range than any other wild land mammal.
They penetrated all of Africa, except for the deepest rain forests of the Congo Basin and driest parts of the Sahara, and every continent save Australia and Antarctica. In the Grotte Chauvet, the cave in France whose 32,year-old paintings are considered among the oldest art in the world, there are more than 70 renderings of lions.
Sketched in charcoal and ocher, these European cave lions—maneless and, according to fossil evidence, 25 percent bigger than African lions—prance alongside other now-extinct creatures: Some lions, drawn in the deepest part of the cave, are oddly colored and abstract, with hooves instead of paws; archaeologists believe these may be shamans.
The French government invited Packer to tour the cave in This was somebody who was viewing them in a very cool and detached way. This was somebody who was studying lions. Prehistoric human beings, with their improving hunting technologies, probably competed with lions for prey, and lion subspecies in Europe and the Americas went extinct. Other subspecies were common in India and Africa until the s, when European colonists began killing lions on safaris and clearing the land.
Ina hunter shot the last known member of the North African subspecies in Morocco. Today, the only wild lions outside Africa belong to a small group of fewer than Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest of India.
The Truth About Lions | Science | Smithsonian
Though devastatingly poor, the nation is a reasonably stable democracy with huge tracts of protected land. But the Serengeti is the exception. The use of lion parts in folk medicines is another concern; as wild tigers disappear from Asia, scientists have noticed increasing demand for leonine substitutes. The central issue, though, is the growing human population.
- Predator-prey relationships in the African savannah
- The Lion and The Gazelle
Tanzania has three times as many residents now—some 42 million—as when Packer began working there. The country has lost more than 37 percent of its woodlands since In the s, as Tanzanians plowed large swaths of lion territory into fields, lion attacks on people and livestock rose dramatically. Kissui said five lions nearby had recently died after eating a giraffe carcass laced with tick poison. A month earlier, lions had killed three boys, ages 4, 10 and 14, herding livestock, but that was in a village 40 miles away.
As the number of people increases, we take the land that would have been available to the wildlife and use it for ourselves. Africa has one billion people now. Think about what that one billion implies in terms of the future of lions. We are heading into a very complicated world.
Packer and his students have shown that lions tend to target livestock tended by boys during the dry season. Packer, Kissui and other scientists are experimenting with ways to keep people and lions safe. Special funds repay herders for lost livestock—if no lion is harmed. They have suggested that corn farmers in southern Tanzania hang chili peppers in their fields, which repel the bush pigs that lions relish, or dig ditches around their crops to keep the pigs out.
And Packer is assisting Kissui with a program that subsidizes herdsmen who want to replace their bramble-enclosed paddocks with fences of metal and wood. In Manyara we visited Sairey LoBoye, a study participant. He was attired in stunning blue blankets and talking on his cellphone. LoBoye is a member of the Maasai tribe, whose traditional culture centers on safeguarding cattle: LoBoye said he simply wanted lions to leave him alone.
Packer argues that the Serengeti, like some South African parks, should be surrounded by an electric, elephant-proof, heavily patrolled fence that would encompass the whole wildebeest migration route and keep the lions in and the poachers out.
The idea has little support, in part because of the tens of millions of dollars it would cost to erect the barrier. Packer and Susan James, a former business executive he married infounded a nonprofit organization, Savannas Forever, which is based in Arusha and monitors the quality of rural village life. The hope is that improving the standard of living will bolster local conservation efforts and give lions a better shot at survival.
I feel like I owe this country something. So years from now there will still be lions in Tanzania. As we drove across the savanna, graduate student Alexandra Swanson fiddled with a radio scanner, searching for signals from radio-collared lions, but we heard only static.
The tree was on a kopje, one of the isolated piles of rocks in the grasslands that are popular lion haunts. Packer wanted to climb up for a better look. Lulled, perhaps, by the silence on the scanner, I agreed to accompany him.
Packer, at the top of the kopje, was waving me closer. He pointed at a shadowy crevice beneath the fig tree, about 20 feet away.
Then I saw one tiny, yellow, heart-shaped face, and then another, bright as dandelions against the gray rocks. Golden eyes blinked at us. Young cubs are almost completely helpless and can starve or be eaten by hyenas if left alone too long. One of the cubs was clearly horrified by our presence and shrank behind its braver sibling, which arranged itself in a princely fashion on the rocks to enjoy these strange, spindly, cringing creatures.
The Truth About Lions
They were perfect fleecy things. Their coats had a faint tiled pattern that would fade away with time. That night we camped beside the kopje, Swanson and I in the bed of the Land Rover and Packer in a flimsy tent. I kept thinking of the cubs in the crevice. Their mother might return while we slept. I almost hoped she would. The first true lion probably padded over the earth aboutyears agoand its descendants eventually ruled a greater range than any other wild land mammal. But Craig Packer and colleagues have found that's not the main reason the animals team up.
Predator-prey relationships in the African savannah | Arkive
Abigail Tucker Packer's team observes dozens of prides and conducts elaborate field experiments Here, team member Ingela Jansson extracts a Land Rover from a ditch.
Abigail Tucker Candida Mwingira is another member of Packer's team. Abigail Tucker Battles between coalitions of males can be deadly. A trio known as The Killers attacked another group's male named C-Boy. Ingela Jansson, Serengeti Lion Project "If you see a fight between males, slapping each other and roaring," Packer says, "how can you not be incredibly, viscerally moved by the power and energy?
Abigail Tucker As in this instance where two females are chasing wildebeest, lions work together to hunt. But hunting is not the focus of their unusual social lives. If a lion kills a person or livestock, tribespeople may retaliate by killing many lions.
She seems calm, but on the inside, she's raging. She's been hunting all day, and finally she's set her sights on her next meal. She can't afford to blow it. She takes a careful survey to find the slowest, weakest of the gazelles and makes chase -- eventually tackling it in a burst of speed and ferocity.
And you know what happens next I'm pretty sure that's an antelope, but you get the idea I can hear the Lion King theme music playing "it's the circle of liiiiiiiiife.
I don't feel bad for the gazelle. Not one damn bit. Because these two creatures are motivated by completely different forces. And their attitudes determine their outcomes. The gazelle is reactionary. It grazes the land, going about it's day with no particular plan. There's an abundance of grass, so it's not particularly desperate for food. There's no motivation to do anything. The gazelle has no "why. NOW it's time to be alert. NOW it's time to run. NOW it's time to get motivated.
It finally has a "why," if only temporarily. But by then, it's too late. It's too late because unlike the gazelle, the lion is proactive. The lion has spent the entire day looking for food because it's her JOB to bring it home to her family. Unlike the gazelle, if she doesn't do her work, she won't eat. Her kids won't eat. Her partner won't eat. Her family will die. She needs to eat as bad as she needs to breathe It's a binary decision.Eric Thomas Australia - "Gazelle vs Lion"
Yes or no -- and to "no" means certain death. Now think about how you run your life