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World Lion Day: Why is this Big Cat considered King?

Strong, big and courageous, the majestic lion is considered the King of the Jungle (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ParveenKaswan)

Every year since 2013, August 10 is celebrated across the planet as World Lion Day. The day is observed to protect this majestic species and spread awareness about them.

Once found across Africa, Asia and Europe, today the two species – African and Asiatic – are confined to parts of Africa and to Gujarat in India.

Part of folklore, legends, myths and stories, lions symbolise power, strength and regal bearing and it finds mention in almost all the religions. Many nations and Governments use lion symbols in their national emblems and coats of arms.

It is considered as the king of the jungle and there are reasons for that.

Lions are very strong and they can take on almost any animal in the wild. Weighing nearly 250 kilograms, they are big. They can reach a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour while in pursuit of prey. Its bite force is 650 pound per square inch while it can lift 1,043 kilograms. The swipe of its paw is the strongest, delivering 180 kg force!

These attributes give it a natural advantage over others.

Besides its strength, what makes it numero uno is its courage and fearlessness. It is scared of no creatures and hunting in pride makes them bolder.

It leads the pride by maintaining order and providing security to it. When threatened by another lion, the male takes charge and fights the battle.

Making its presence felt, the lion’s roar is called mighty. It is the loudest among all the cats and reaches up to 114 decibels. It can be heard up to 8 km thereby instilling fear in others and communicating with other lions. The loudness is due to its unique larynx and hyoid apparatus.