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Monday, April 4, 2016

The Lion King - pt 1

Hosea 11:10  "They shall walk after the LORD: He shall roar like a lion: when He shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west."

Numbers 24:9  "He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up?..."

The male lion's roar is strong, deep and loud.  The sound of his roar travels far and can be heard from miles away.  A lion's presence and roar will scare even the boldest of men.  Being the king of beasts, you would think the male lion is all about his business and working for most of the day and night.  Interestingly enough, the king of beasts spends a lot of time just laying around and kicking back.  He spends much of his time resting and can be relatively inactive up to 20 hours a day.

Female lions, or lionesses, are the busy ones in a group of lions, also known as a pride.  Lionesses bear and raise cubs, do most of the work in the family, including hunting.  So you might wonder how is that fair?  Why are the lionesses doing all of the work, while the male lions lounge around all day?

So where does all of their stress come from?  All the males have to do is eat, sleep and pass seed onto the next generation, through procreation, right?  If you think his responsibilities are light, since he spends most of his time sleeping and grooming, think again. 

It isn't easy being the king.  The leader of the pride must be intelligent and tough.  He must exercise his authority and demonstrate his ability, consistently, over all of the lions in his pride.  To remove potential threats to his throne, he will kick out male cubs, even kill the cubs of former pride leaders.  Generally, male lions don't live very long, anywhere from 10 - 14 years.  Males face being cut off, or evicted, from their pride, throughout life.  They have to fight off rival males and have the task of taking down larger, more dangerous game for the pride.  It's a hard life for male lions. 

A life of continuous fighting and danger just around the corner adds constant stress and greatly reduces longevity. Being killed during a hunt or over a pride takeover attempt is part of being a male lion.  Even the leader grows old, or can get sick, or injured.  No lion can be king for long.

Females do most of the hunting for the pride.  The male lion will babysit the cubs, until the females return from the hunt.  But when it comes to intruders, rival males, and the protection of territory, the male lion must assert his leadership and take on the higher risk activities.  He's the leader, and more powerful, and that's just the way it goes.

Lionesses are tight-knit and clannish, often spending their entire lives in their mothers', or sisters', pride.  They don't tolerate outside females.  The females have more stability in their lives, leave the highest risk work to the males, and generally live longer.

Females benefit from cooperative hunting, employing sophisticated strategies to encircle and ambush prey.  They are also swifter than males and can chase down fast-moving game.  Males are stronger, but slower, and are known to hunt solo, utilizing ambush style attacks.  Male lions will spend nights working patrol and marking out their territory, to ward off rival males.

Male and female lions have different traits, abilities and skills, so they benefit from each other.  No one is truly superior to another.  Lions and lionesses have different responsibilities and roles to play in the pride, but they are equally important.  Working together as a coordinated group increases hunting success and survival for the entire pride.  Members of the pride perform the same specialized roles, over and over again, because practice makes perfect and repetition is a mother of learning, even for animals.  At times, the male lion babysits for the lionesses, but his position as leader of the pride is never challenged by the females.  The lionesses are busy with their own challenges and daily work.  That's life in a pride.

To be continued...

Mr baptist.