Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 25/09/2011

The Lion (doesn’t actually) sleep tonight

African Lion, originally uploaded by

Lions are lions are lions, aren’t they?  Well, actually they’re not (don’t worry I’m not trying to convince you they’re actually a carnivorous type of antelope, I’ve not lost it that much.. yet) – there are currently eight varieties of these big cats though of those there are really only two distinct sub species, the African and the Asian Lions.  Surprisingly, whilst reading up on these massive beasts, it turns out that the Asian lion is actually the larger of the two varieties – I had always thought the African lion was the bigger of the two.

There is some debate whether the descendents of one sub species, the Barbary Lion, still exists in zoos.  A Royal collection of Barbary Lions were kept by the King of Morocco and there could be around 250 of these animals around the world.  To put this in perspective, there are only 200 Asian lions in captivity, and a further 250 in the wild which is hoped will augmented with captive bred animals being put back into the wild.  If these other Lions are true descendents of Barbary Lions, then it could be possible to release some of these species back into their natural habitat.

Of course it’s the hopes and wishes of all naturalist to return and sustain creatures in their own environments, but this is a costly operation which is not always guaranteed of success.  With the aggressive way man is plundering natural resources such as food, water, land etc. releasing animals back into their native habitat may well have to start with returning their naturally environment back to some sort of state that can sustain them.  Personally I’d rather money was spent on that than on the majority of the worthless TV shows that are on these days, or the astronomical wages that footballers etc get paid – but we also have to think about people who are suffering through lack of food, water etc.  as much as releasing these magnificent creatures (Hey, don’t blame me for sitting on the fence, I didn’t say I was going to provide any answers here – all I do it point and click ( and a few other bits on the camera of course) ouch, I think I just got a splinter!)


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