English Documentary on Lions with Transcript & Flashcards to improve your listening and reading comprehension and enrich your vocabulary
Source of documentary: National Geographic YouTube Channel
Source of image: https://thenextweb.com/
Table of Contents / فهرست مطالب
Lion, The King of Beast
You may already know that lions are big cats. Weighing up to 500 pounds and growing up to 10 feet long, lions are the second largest members of the cat family after tigers. But here are some things you probably didn’t know about them.
Lions have significant roars. A lion’s roar may be heard up to five miles away and can be nearly as loud as thunder. Lions begin to vocalize as soon as they are born, but their vocalizations don’t start to develop into roars until the lions are about one year old. Roaring allows lions to claim their territory by communicating their presence to potential intruders. It also helps them communicate with fellow lions within their pride.
Lions are social cats
Lions are the only cats that regularly live in social groups. Called prides, these group are family units that include as few as three and as many as forty lions. They typically have one dominant male but may sometimes have two to three leading males at a time. The rest of the prides adult members are females and they are often related to each other. They give birth around the same time which allows their cubs to nurse from multiple females.
Lions as predators
Lions are not the most successful hunters but they do consume a lot of meat. Lionesses who are the primary hunters of a pride only succeed in making a kill less than 30% of the time. Their prey such as zebras and antelope are usually faster and larger than the lionesses but, by working together, the females increase their chance of exhausting their prey and killing it. Despite their unsuccessful attempts to catch prey, lions may still consume about 20 pounds of meat a day and some are capable of devouring nearly 100 pounds a day.
Not all male lions have manes. The male lions of Tsavo Kenya are mysteriously maneless. Speculation as to the explanation ranges. The lions may have higher testosterone levels or the lack of mane may be an adaptation for keeping cool in the heat. When the lions do have manes, the hair usually serves to intimidate other males or impress females similar to a male peacock and his feathers. One study in the Serengeti showed that females preferred full dark manes as they may signal fitness and ability to fight.
Lions were once scattered worldwide. Around 124 thousands years ago, several subspecies of lions existed throughout the planet. This included the cave lions of Europe and the American lions of North America. Unfortunately, both became extinct by about 8000 BC. The surviving subspecies, the African lions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Asiatic lions of India, have declined due to poaching, habitat loss and disease. An estimated 20,000 African lions remain in the wild and they are classified as vulnerable. Asiatic lions are listed as endangered with a population of only about 500.
Lions are some of the most formidable creatures on the planet. Their impressive size and appetite, strong social cohesion and regal appearance make it clear why they are considered the king of beast.