My tour group all came here as strangers, but we are leaving as friends. Our three tour guides are from the Masai tribe and very proud of their heritage. By the end of the trip, while giving hugs all around we had the Masai warriors crying—not a common sight to be seen.
The female lions are the ones that do the hunting and bring the kill back to the others in the pride. The male lions eat first. When they are finished, the next to eat are the females; after that the cubs can eat. I would think they would feed the young first or at least second, but it’s not so. The reason for this is for the survival of the pride. The females need the food for strength to return to hunt some more. If a lioness were to bring back a small kill, the male lion would be the only one that would get enough to eat from that. We learned a male lion must consume at least 15 pounds of meat a day. The females need to consume 11 pounds daily. So off the females would have to go to hunt some more.
They are on a constant lookout for food because the prides can consist of quite a few members. The pride we were watching had approximately 12 members—two male lions, two young males that were approximately 2 years old and the lionesses that did all the work.
As I was watching I couldn’t help but compare our house cats to the wild cats, and vice versa. I have a male cat and a female cat. My female sleeps a lot less than my male cat, and she is always wondering and looking around. My male is lazier, and when he wants to know where she is he lets out a loud howl sound—not like a lion’s roar but just as effective … she comes running. The young lions were wrapping their paws around tree trunks stretching and scratching just as our cats do at home and in the shelter on scratching posts and marking their territory. The young are mischievous and playful. Watching them interact with each other was an amazing sight, but everyone knew who the boss was—“Big Daddy”!
The lions are the ones that the animals fear the most. The leopards and cheetahs seem to go after the small animals. These hunters only hunt for food because instinctively their main goal is survival of their pride and family. We humans can learn a lot and take lessons from these wild animals. They do not hunt just for sport; that is a human game. They protect their young and other herd members.
Most of the wildness has been bred out of the domesticated animals we have as pets. So our animal friends rely on us for food, water and survival. In turn, they give us the same dedication we see in the wild in prides and herds. Our pets do not know how to provide the essentials on their own. Yes, we all know most house cats know how to hunt small rodents like mice and birds, but it is mostly instinct and play and they would not fare well if they had to survive in the wild. That is why it is best for our pet cats not to be let outside. There are much larger predators that could be hunting our pets.