Introduction

Animal: African Lion
Research Location: Africa

Why This Animal?

I chose the African Lion because it is the "King of the Jungle". In the jungle they are the top of the food chain so that means they are carnivores. They only consume meat. I am interested in the Lion because they are the top of the chain. I like them because they aren't necessarily the largest animal in the jungle but they are at the top and that is because of their speed and their fighting abilities. Also the larger the animal doesn't nessisarliy mean they have good speed and reactons. The Lion is aggressive. It has to be aggressive because when it needs to get food to feed there isn't just a supermarket that they can go to they have to go out and get it themselves. Also once a lion mates it mates for life. Also when they have cubs he has to be sure that the cub gets fed to so they don't starve. This is why I chose the Lion to learn even more about.



Food Web



Research Location

I am studying the African Lion and they live in Africa so this is where my journey begins. I have traveled out to a savanna biome in part of Africa. The African lion lives in a variety of places. They can live in plains, mountains, shrubby, forest, and semi-desert. They just can’t live in rainforest and desert. I am studying them in the plains. Most of their prey lives in the plains with them. They prey on Giraffes, Gazelles, Zebras, Impalas, wildebeests, and Cape buffalo to birds, eggs, rodents, amphibians, and reptiles. Lions either hunt their prey in a large group or individually. While watching the lions I learned that they rest a lot! That’s basically all they do with their day! Sometimes they go to rest up in the trees. Some people have theories that they go up there to get away from the flies and some think it is just more comfortable. It is because of their unique body features that they can get up into the tree to rest or even be able to hunt. About 67% of the lion’s body mass is muscle. So with all they muscle it helps them run faster, jump higher, and just be overall stronger. They also have claws that help them when they fight, hunt, and even climb. Also the more open the habitats the fuller their manes are. Another important animal in the Lion’s biome is the Hyena.

The climate in the savanna biome is the average temperature in the summer ranges from 76 to 86 degrees fahrenheit. In the winter it ranges from 68 to 78 degrees. fahrenheit So right now I’m here in the winter. It is warm all year round where the lion’s live. It hardly rains in the winter so all the plants shrivel up and die and the river and streams dry up. It mostly rains in the summer, so all of the animals migrate so they still have food to eat during the hard winter season. The average rainfall is around 10-30 inches a year. A few of the plants that grow there are the Baobab, Elephant Grass, Kangaroo Paw, Manketti Tree, and Candelabra Tree. During the winter they don’t get the amount of water they need so they go into a stage of dormancy. So since they are in a stage of dormancy they don’t grow so the animals don’t have anything to eat. So rainfall and the seasons are a way that the African animals learn to adapt to the environment. This is what I have discovered so far on my journey in Africa.

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This picture helps shows you what the temperature is like in Africa and what the savanna biome is like.



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This picture helps to show where it rains at in Africa and how much rain they get there.


Observation Journal


Day 1- I have just made it to Africa and just got settled in. When me and my research group and I got here we didn't even get settled right away because we were so excited to get to the research. There wasn’t any researching for me or my group to get done because we had to learn our way around the camp site. So nothing for me to really tell you about unless you are interested to learn where we keep the tools! I’ll keep in touch, goodnight!

Day 2- Today wasn't like I expected, it was so much better! I learned so much! A thing I learned was the female lions actually like male lions with black manes more, because since it is black it attracts the sun so only the toughest lions can survive in their mane. It is the same thing with the length because it gets so hot in just a normal day here. So I have learned that the lions with the black manes are considered tougher and the lighter lions are actually afraid of them when they go into a battle. And since the females prefer it they have more of a selection for finding their perfect mate. I learned this while I was out researching in a large group. When we go out to watch and record the lions we always do it in groups and another person in my group actually was the one to answer my question, “Does it matter what color the mane is for the amount of respect the lions get?” and that was the answer! I was totally shocked that it actually came into play! Well time to put this incredible day to rest! Goodnight, I’ll try to journal tomorrow to share more of my research!

Day 5- Day three and four were basically pointless, but I will fill you in anyway. On day three there wasn't much moving around there was just more resting and lying around. Day four was the same as day three. Day five was going the same way but then we decided to talk about their symbiotic relationships. The African Lion has a symbiotic relationship with the Hyena family. It is a competition relationship because they compete for their food. They both have the same prey so they compete for their food. We haven’t really seen very much one on one competition but we haven’t been looking for it until now. Well that’s all the past three days were. Goodbye!

Day 8- I am finishing up my last day in Africa and I am not ready to leave. It was a great experience here and I am not ready to go yet. The past three days have been so bust I haven’t been able to share what I have done! So this is what I would have said on those days…
Day 6- Today was action packed! It was great that today had all this in store since I only have a few days left! I am so bummed that it’s about time to leave but I am going to try to keep it out of my mind for now! So today the lions were awake longer than normal! They were up and moving for a while! I actually got to see it compete with a Hyena for its prey! It was so exciting I have never seen a lion run that fast! It was definitely in attack mode. It was great to see the lion win the fight over the Hyena. I hope my next few days have something great in store! Goodbye!
Day 7- What a great day! I can hardly sleep because the great moments of today are playing in my head! The lions were awake early today and longer than usual! They came so close to our watching area it was incredible! It was also really scary because they hadn’t eaten recently so of course I had that bad idea running through my head! Thank goodness it wasn’t true! Since they came so close we got to see how they look in real life, they look different than the pictures show and way different than the very few lion hides that we find! They are very extraordinary animals and I am so lucky that I have been able to interact with them like I do! Well time to get to sleep, Goodnight!
Day 8- Well today was another great day, I have been having a lot of these days lately. It is sad to say that this will be my last day here because I have to leave soon to catch my flight. I don’t want to go because I have had so many great days here and I love watching and researching lions. I think I need to come back soon and try to get a permanent job here instead of a little 8 day job. The people that I worked with were a lot of fun and they taught me a lot! Well since today was out last day after our large group then I decided to go out on my own once we were finished to do some of my own research and just to my luck the lions were out and moving round! Once again the came right up to me like they were knowing I was leaving and wanted to give me a goodbye and something to remember. But once they came up to me quickly they turned around and they went and ran right after their prey! It was right in front of me, I couldn’t believe that just happened and I was there to witness it! I am going to remember this day because I got to see their technique of hunting and was able to make y last and best journal about it! Well I hope that I can come back to my lion page and hopefully it would be a full time job, but we never know! Goodbye, thanks for reading!




Research Technique

Research_technique.jpg


Using The Research

Help!
The lions need you to help them in their time of need. They are on the endangered species list and even though they are still listed as vulnerable it is still a serious matter that we are going through. A big limiting factor is loss of their habitat. When they lose their habitat then they all have to find a way to live in the same small set of the land when only a certain amount can live in the area. In 1994 through 2001 there were droughts that caused the lions to change their behavior and since there was a drought there wasn’t much water so the lions were thirsty. Since the lions and their prey were thirsty they were weak and also they became very popular with the ticks and the ticks carried diseases. The lions faced two different diseases and there were a lot of lions that died from the sicknesses. They are also decreasing in numbers because they are being hunted and because of livestock poisoning that they eat.
Hope…
The lions still have hope and so should you. Even though there is hope they still are in need of help. Some lion conservation groups are inventing bomas. Bomas would prevent the lions from getting onto their land and harming their livestock so the farmers wouldn’t have a reason for killing and or poisoning them. Also since they are going extinct they get a lot of tourism attraction so that helps raise money to buy land back from the farmers so they can roam more land.

You can help their cause!
How can you help? Adopt a lion on the wildlife adoption center or just take action on the wildlife action center. Now I know it says adopt but when you adopt you don’t actually get the animal in your home it just means that you pay money to help support an animal to make sure it gets what it needs to survive. Thank you for reading and helping take part in the action to help save the lions!


Fellow Researcher Profile


My fellow reseacher is Benard Kiisui. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. I chose Benard because he is still studying lions today and he has a great love for them since he is still with it. He went to the University if Minnesota and studied pride dynamics and population dynamics in the lions of Ngorongoro Crater. He also studied human-lion conflicts in tarangire National Park. He is now a researcher for the African Wildlife Foundation, and he leads the African Wildlife Foundation's Lion conservation. He is trying to protect Maasai people from future possible livestock losses. I look up to Benard because he went to college for what he loves and tday it payed off. I hope that I can become as great as he is because he has a great job that has to do with what he loves in life and he worked hard to get where he is today. I can only hope that when i am older i would have achived my dreams like Benard did.


References

"Panthera Leolion." ADW: Panthera Leo: INFORMATION. Web. 17 Jan. 2012. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Panthera_leo.html.

"Earth Floor: Biomes." 403. Web. 19 Jan. 2012. http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/msese/earthsysflr/savannah.html.

"AFRICAN LION." San Diego Zoo Safari Park: African Lion. San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Web. 19 Jan. 2012. http://www.sdzsafaripark.org/parkwildlife/african_lion.html.

"Who We Are." About Us. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <http://www.cbs.umn.edu/lionresearch/who/>.


"All about Lions." About Lions. Web. 2 Feb. 2012. <http://www.cbs.umn.edu/lionresearch/about/>.