Lions are very territorial and competitive animals. Even in captivity, they will argue and fight over space, food and mates. This is one reason why many zoos and rescue parks keep lions, especially male lions, separate.
In the wild, lions form prides of just a few males and many females. Cubs are also part of a pride, although as they grow, male cubs often leave to form their own pride or take over another male’s pride. Even within prides, each lion has a specific role and dominance among males is fairly common.
The video captures multiple lions fighting. There are at least four males, as can be seen by the manes around their necks. One of the males is clearly younger than the others and has a less pronounced mane. He’s still big, and if he’s in the wild, he’ll probably venture out on his own. Not surprisingly, these male lions have become a little sensitive about their territory and their place in the tribe.
There are also two lionesses nearby. While they may not fight and attack each other like male lions, female lions can still keep themselves in check. They are usually hunters in lion prides and are very protective of their cubs. These two lionesses will bite the male when they get too close to each other.
Visitors to the park are nearby, separated only by a fence from the lion enclosure. We want them to be mindful of giving lions space before and after they start acting aggressive. When lions are fighting, getting too close to them is not only dangerous, but it can make their aggression more pronounced if they feel threatened. This is a large herd of lions gathered in one place. After seeing the results of an excess of male lions in an area, we hope that park staff will be able to separate them into multiple prides and give them the space they need.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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