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Program Big Cats Initiative

  • Lions are the only big cats to live in family units called prides. Other big cats live solitary lives, except when breeding or raising cubs. A lion pride may include up to three males, a dozen females, and their young. All of a pride's female lionesses and cubs are typically related. At around two to three years old, young males leave the pride and attempt to take over another male's pride. The social structure of the pride is based on specific roles. Lionesses are the primary hunters, while dominant males are responsible for protecting the pride's territory. Lion prey includes antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, buffalo, and other grassland animals. These animals are often larger and faster than an individual lion. By hunting together, lions are able to exhaust and kill their prey.

    1. What is a megapride?

      A megapride is a large family unit of lions that works together to feed and protect its territory.

    2. What are some of the rules (social dynamics) that lions have to follow in order to survive and be a part of a pride?

      The juvenile males must submit to the dominant males; they must work together to hunt; once they are kicked out of the megapride, the nomadic males may have to find a new pride and hunt for themselves.

    3. Are any of the rules (social dynamics) of the lion megapride similar to human rules (social dynamics)? Explain and provide examples.

      Answers will vary, but examples may include obeying and respecting authority figures, waiting your turn, working together as a team, and following cultural norms and courtesies.

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