Image credit: Dan Taylor/Flickr
Sometimes referred to as the “King of the Jungle,” despite none of its habitat including the jungle, the lion is an animal which is admired and feared in equal measure. Unfortunately, not shown sufficient reverence, its existence does hang in the balance and is now endangered due to hunting and other human-related factors.
Even though its future remains uncertain, the lion is still one of the greatest animals to roam the earth. A true social cat, they live in large groups known as “prides,” hunting together and sharing territory. Each pride contains both females and males, along with their cubs, and is led by a lioness. In fact, overall, the lionesses are the ones to assume the greatest responsibility for both hunting and rearing of the cubs. As the dominant carnivores in their habitat, lions will always drive away any competition or kill them, earning them the more accurate term “King of the Beasts.”
Due to their wild and wonderful ways, humans are extremely intrigued by lions. Unfortunately, this intrigue has led to lions being hunted and killed, held captive and stared at in circuses and zoos, as well as being kept as “pets.” Some individuals have such a strong interest in them that they want one of their own, but while the ownership of any animal is abusive and exploitative, lions are wild animals who should never be domesticated. Much like any other wild animal, they ought to be in their natural habitat at all times.
Here are five lions that were either born in captivity or taken out of their natural habitat, but were ultimately lucky to be rescued and will live the rest of their lives, free from exploitation.
1. King Arthur
Zoos across the world purchase animals that have been captured to display them to humans; however, holding animals in captivity offers individuals the same educational experience they would obtain by viewing a human in a prison cell, i.e. NONE. These animals are housed in enclosures completely unlike their natural habitat, although some places are worse than others. One such place was a zoo in Nebraska that had to be shut down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to animal abuse and safety violations.
A lone African lion, King Arthur was one of 18 animals facing an uncertain future but The Wild Animal Sanctuary offered him a home. He has developed from being a undernourished and underweight lion into a sociable individual who greets humans that stop by to see him in the habitat he shares with other lions.