Lion in Tanzania

More than 300 mammal species have been recorded in Tanzania, a list that includes about 80 so called large mammals. For most first-time safari-goers, a major goal is tp tick off the so called (Big Five) amd even if doing so si not a priority when you first arrive in Tanzania, conservations with lions-obsessed driver-guides and with other travellers are likely to make one. Ironically, given its ubiquity in modern game-viewing circles, the term Big Five originated with the hunting fraternity and it refers to those animals considered to be the mst dangerous (and thus the best sport) back in the colonial era, namely lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and black rhino. Of these, the first three are likely to be seen ease on a safari of ang significiant duration. Leopards are more elusive, with the most reliable site in Tanzania being the serengeti`s Seronera Valley. The only part of Tanzania where the black rhinos remains reasonably visible are the Morongoro Crater and Mara River region of the northern Serengeti, but it is also present in a few other reservs. In the listings that follow, an animal’s scientific names is given in parentheses after its English name, followed by the Swahili name.The Swahili for animal is Mnyama (plural Wanyama) and to find out what animal you are seeing, ask Mnyama gani?

Carnivores

This order of meat-eating mammals is presented in Tanzania by more than 30 species. These include cats such as the regal lion, along with dogs and jackals, hyenas and various smaller carnivores such as mangooses, otters and genets.

Cats

Stealthy, sencretive and inscrutable, the cats of the family Felidae are the most efficient killers among the carnivores, and the most strickly carnivorous. All cats conform to the similar anotomical plan to the similiar domestic tabby, the main physical different between various species being coat pattern and size.

Lions in Swahili: simba (Panthera leo)

Shoulder height: 100 – 120 cm; Weight 150 – 220 kg. Africa’s largest predator, the lion is one animal thar everybody hope to see on safari. It is a sociable creature, living in pride of five to 20 animals and depending a territory of between 20 km2 and 200 km2. Lion hund at night and there favoured prey is large or medium antelope such as wildbeest and impala. Most of the hunting is done by females, but dominant males normally feed first after the kill. Rivalry between males is intense, but battles to take over a pride are frequently fought to the death, for which reason two or more malesoften form a coalition. Younger males are forced out of their home pride at three years of age, and male cub are usually killed after a successful take over. When not feeding or fighting, lions are remarkably indolent — they spend up t 23 hours of any given day at rest — so the anticipation of a lion sighting is often more exciting than the real thing. Lions naturally occur in any habitat but desert and rainforest, and once ranged across much of the Old World, but these days they are all but restricted to the larger conservation areas in sub-Saharan Africa. Essentially terrestrial, they seldom take to trees in most of their range, but this unusual behaviour is obserbed quite regulary in Lake Manyara and parts of the Serengeti National Park. Recent surveys indicate that Tanzania might host 50% of the world’s surviving free-ranging lions, and the Serengenti and the Ngorongoro Crater are arguably the best places in Africa to see thses charismatic beasts.

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