AHS Popcorn Park Celebrates World Lion Day
August 10th is World Lion Day, internationally observed annually with an aim to raise awareness and gather support for lion conservation. Over the course of five decades the global Lion population has decreased by about 95%, largely due to human influences such as habitat loss, poaching, and illegal trade. As such, lions are designated as a species vulnerable to extinction on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
You can make a difference by supporting lion conservation and rescue efforts and by spreading awareness on social media.
- Their magnificent manes serve an important role. The manes on a male lion grow longer and darker as they age. These manes can grow up to 16 cm long and are a sign of dominance. In addition to attracting females, manes can help protect their neck and head during fights, often with other male lions for territorial and breeding reasons.
- Lions roar for different reasons – like to scare off intruders or to warn their pride of potential danger. It can be a show of power and a way to communicate. Lions roars can be heard up to 5 miles away. That means, when our lion, Simba, roars, everyone notices!
- Today there are only half as many African Lions as there were 25 years ago. Lions face many threats – most of which can be attributed to humans. It is estimated that fewer than 20,000 lions remain in Africa and the species is considered vulnerable to extinction.
- Female lions, called lionesses, are the primary hunters in their prides. They tend to be smaller and more agile than males and use strategic teamwork to gain the advantage over their prey. Lions have a distinctive pecking order, so although females do the hunting, males eat first, followed by females, and lastly the cubs.
- Although lions are commonly known as the “king of the jungle”, lions in Africa do not actually live in a jungle. Their primary habitat consists of Africa’s grasslands and plains. Three of the five largest lion populations are found in the wide-open savannahs of Tanzania.
- Only slightly smaller than the Siberian Tiger, the lion is the second largest big cat. Male lions can grow up to 10 feet in length and weigh up to 550 pounds while female lions can grow to a length of 9 feet and weigh up to 390 pounds.
- Fossils and historical records show that lions once roamed freely in Europe across most of Greece, Bulgaria, and in neighboring countries. They also lived across the Middle East and into Asia. Today, the only country outside of Africa that has wild lions is India, with a very small population surviving in and around the Gir National Park.
POPCORN PARK LIONS:
We have three lions who currently call Popcorn Park home. All our lions were born into captivity and would not be able to survive in the wild. We provide lifelong care and refuge to our lions in the hopes of educating our visitors about their species and raising awareness of their global plight.
Our long-time resident lion, Simba, is 17 years old and came to us in August 2014. Simba was one of several animals at a facility in Alabama whose owner fell ill and could no longer care for them. He arrived severely underweight but adjusted very quickly to his new home. With lots of TLC from our expert staff and medical team, he is now thriving in the sanctuary of Popcorn Park. He’s a very regal and vocal lion and who can be heard for miles around! When Simba struts his stuff and lets out a loud roar, it is a sight to behold!