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Big 5 Focus: Lion

WRITTEN BY // Claudia Hauter CATEGORIES // Inverdoorn-blog

"The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort." - Chanakya

Big 5 Focus: Lion

Moving on from the majestic elephant, we focus on the lion – the king of the jungle. This title came about due to their superiority among predators, but they can be intimidated by buffaloes and elephants, who also happen to be larger than them. Not that size necessarily matters, as hyenas are bitter enemies and have been known to corner a lion. It is a further misleading title as African lions do not inhabit jungles. Africa typically consists of savannah and deserts, which form the lions' habitat. This title was not, however, loosely assigned and this big cat is extremely powerful and the male is quite impressive with his glorious mane.

Symbolically, they are seen as a sign of power and strength and with its mighty roar, who would argue? They are known to symbolise courage, wisdom, royalty, justice, protection, loyalty, perseverance, ferocity, bravery, victory and compassion. Due to these attributes, it became the national symbol of England in order to represent the warriors of medieval England. It remains the country's national animal and is even used for sports' team logos and icons. In Egypt, the lion represented the heat of the sun and was seen in the likeness of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. Within Greek mythology, lions drew chariots for the gods and goddesses Dionysus, Phoebus, Cybele and Artemis and as such were seen as guardians. In Hinduism the lion is an avatar of Vishnu and, in Buddhism, Buddha sits upon the lion as a throne of strength and wisdom.

It has been popularly and diversely used in both film and literature, examples such as Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia, Simba in The Lion King and the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz springing to mind. In South Africa it finds its place on the R50 banknote and is the name for one of its provincial rugby teams.

Lions are sadly also endangered and listed as threatened by CITES. Lions were found in areas ranging from Africa to Greece and throughout the Middle East to northern India. Threats from human beings such as population expansion and occupation of lands for agricultural use have caused habitat loss for lions. Poaching, hunting of lions for sport and poisoning by livestock ranchers to kill them has also endangered them. Today, in Africa, they can be seen only in the south Sahara desert and in parts of southern and eastern Africa. No matter what its title, this is certainly a wild cat both majestic and glorious and not to be trifled with.




About the author

Claudia Hauter

Claudia Hauter

Taught from a young age to save the planet and driven by a love of the environment, Claudia Hauter now writes and manages social media for Inverdoorn Game Reserve, Western Cape Cheetah Conservation and RhinoProtect – hoping to do her part in saving this little planet we call home.

Reservations & Info

Inverdoorn Game Reserve


112 LOOP STREET 8001

Tel:  +27 (0)214 220 013
Fax: +27 (0)86 719 71 50


Meet The Team

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    Leaving one paradise for another, Victoria Paillusseau has come from her home in Mauritius to work at Inverdoorn as a lodge volunteer. This is her first time in South Africa and she...

  • Meet the team: Caroline

    Meet the team: Caroline

    Inverdoorn – What better way to get to know someone than in their own words?   Meet Caroline, happy, young and in love with Cheetahs.    Below, you can read about...

  • Meet the Team: Mekka Pietersen

    Meet the Team: Mekka Pietersen

    When you meet Mekka Pietersen, our Assistant Lodge Manager, you will be greeted with the biggest, warmest smile. She was born at Inverdoorn, where her family has lived for three...

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Contact Infos

Inverdoorn Game Reserve

112 LOOP STREET 8001

Tel:  +27 (0)214 220 013
Fax: +27 (0)86 719 7150


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