Lions are the kings of the jungle, but their populations have been dwindling in recent years for a wide variety of reasons, including poachers and humans’ encroachment on their territories.
According to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), African lion populations have been shrinking over the past century, especially over the past 30 years.
Some scientists have estimated a drop of nearly half of all lions since 1994.
While estimates vary on the total population of these “kings of the jungle,” a recent CITES report suggest that only about 25,000 wild lions remain, across 102 populations in Africa. Many of these studies were not peer-reviewed, but the truth is undeniable: lion populations are vanishing, and this iconic animal faces many grave threats to its widespread survival.
Kenya’s Oldest Lion Struts His Stuff in Breathtaking Photos
Fourteen-year-old Morani is the oldest lion alive in the Maasai Mara, a national reserve in Kenya.
He took the title after his brother Scarface passed away earlier this year.
Leighton Lum, a professional wildlife photographer from Hawaii, capture pictures of the stunning big cat during a photography workshop recently that have gone viral.
The reserve is also home to other incredible animals such as cheetahs, zebras, and other lions, but Lum was most excited to see the regal and battle-scarred lion that has drawn attention worldwide.
The Real Life Lion King
“Just by looking at his face, you can tell this guy has been through a lot. He went from a young stud leader of a pride, a king, to a retired old man who still fights for survival in the Mara,” Lum said.
“Morani was a part of a coalition of four males and he’s the only one remaining out of the four,” Lum added.
“He is a lone male who has been pushed out of the pride by younger, stronger males which is a natural process in lions as the strongest males will control the pride,” Lum continued.
“In general, adult male lions are lazy by nature and can sleep for 20 hours a day!
We spotted him in the morning, then went back at the very end of the day only to find him no more than 15 feet from where we left him.”
This story was broken by the website KingdomsTV.com.
The lovable lion seems to relish being in the spotlight and having his picture taken, as he looks like a natural behind the lens, even when he’s busy catching up on his Z’s.
We don’t know whether he’s a “morning person” or not, but he does look quite photogenic even upon waking.
It’s unknown as to how much longer this brave and cunning king will live, but one thing is for sure: he will always be remembered as one of the great figures of the Kenyan wilderness.
And with breathtaking photos like these, who could possibly disagree?
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