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Photographer's Note

It took this picture in the Lion and Rhino reserve outside Krugersdorp. Being just after sunset, I had to use a flash to light up this large male. 8 of the lions in this park were bred for "Canned Hunting" but were fortunate enough to be saved and to find a home in this reserve. Here are some fast-facts on the African Lion:

Size: male 1.7 to 2.5 m (5.5-8 ft.), and 1.2 m (4 feet) at the shoulder: female 1.4 to 1.7 m (4.5-5.5 ft.), and 1.06 m (3.5 feet) at the shoulder

Weight: males 150 to 250 kg (330-550 lb.), females 120 to 180 kg (265-395 lb.)

Description: short-haired, tawny cat; black tail tuft, ears, and lips; males with blond to black manes; newborns with grayish spots which fade to adult color by three months

Life span: up to 30 years in captivity, 15 years average

Sexual maturity: males at 5 years, females at 4 years

Gestation: 98 to 105 days; on average 2 to 4 cubs born

Habitat: sub-Saharan Africa in grasslands and semi-arid plains

Diet: antelopes, gazelles, warthogs, smaller carnivores, and occasionally Cape buffalo, giraffe, and young elephants

1. Lions are the only truly social cat species, and usually every female in a pride of 5 to 37 individuals is closely related.
2. An adult lion's roar can be heard up to five miles away and warns off intruders or reunites scattered pride members.
3. While lions are inactive up to 21 hours a day, in the darkest, coolest hours of early morning the "queens of beasts" hunt as a team to catch a communal meal..
4. Pride lionesses frequently enter breeding season together and later give birth at the same time which allows them to share nursing and other maternal duties.
5. Although only one out of four hunting events is successful, dominant males always eat first, lionesses next, and cubs scramble for scraps and leftovers.

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Additional Photos by Japie Venter (Japie) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 77 W: 1 N: 14] (72)
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