Visitors to Flamingo Land are experiencing a much improved view of our pride of lions, thanks to the construction of a new bridge. The bridge leads to a viewing platform right next to two of the windows into the lion enclosure and provides a perfect view of one of the lions’ favourite spots for lounging during the day. Visitors are able to get a closer look at the lions than ever before and it makes taking photos much easier too.
There are nine lions in the Flamingo Land pride; three males and six females. Kumali, the dominant male, is easily recognised by his mane. His two sons, although fully grown lions, have been neutered to prevent inbreeding and so they will never grow manes. They can still be distinguished from the females by their broader faces and larger size in general, although telling the two of them apart is trickier, unless you see them side by side. Among the females, Nyika is the biggest, Mishka is small and nearly always with Kumali and Wednesday has a nick in each ear (from fighting with her sisters). Nyika and Friday (both females) are the two who are most likely to come right up to the windows when visitors are around.
There are two subspecies of lion left in the wild, African lions and the endangered Asiatic lion. The Flamingo Land lions are African. Lions are the only truly social cat in the world, with related females living together in prides. Related or unrelated males form cooperative groups which compete for tenure of a pride. Battles between these groups of males may be fierce or even fatal. A pride would typically consist of 4-6 adults and their young, although the pride will split into smaller groups to go hunting. The females usually do more of the hunting, as they are smaller, faster and more agile than the males. All lions tend to be more active at night, which is when most hunting takes place. This is also the time when lions are most likely to roar. Lions will hunt almost any animal, from rodents to rhinos, but their most common prey would be zebra, wildebeest and antelope. They will also scavenge from other animals’ kills. During the day they rest together in a family group. Lions actually spend most of their time resting and can be inactive for as much as 20 hours each day.