Lions are among nature’s proudest animals.
Even going thousands of years back, lions have represented honor, elegance and even royalty for their noble stature. Still, although these creatures have been inspiring humanity throughout history, their place in the modern world is becoming more and more at risk. Over the past 75 years, lion populations have fallen by 90%.
To help raise awareness of the dangers that lions face, a group of nonprofits created World Lion Day.
Though their lives are mysterious, we can learn more about these animals by seeing them in their natural habitat. Many of these pictures were taken by brave and dedicated nature photographers working with National Geographic.
Without any further ado, here are 13 amazing photos of lions.
1. Hunting Zebra
Because Lions are carnivores, they need to hunt other animals for food in order to survive. In this picture, the photographer captured these lions mid-meal.
2. Resting in the Grass
Still, lions also have plenty of downtime in their schedules. In this photo, a male lion takes a much-needed nap in the tall grass.
3. Time to Socialize
Though we often have the image of the lion as a solitary hunter, in truth they are actually social animals as well, as this picture shows. The above shows mothers and their adorable cubs spending family time together in the sun,
4. Sleeping the Day Away
As mentioned, lions need to get plenty of sleep to be up on the top of their game. In order to stay well-rested, male lions sleep almost the entire day and are active at night; though female lions are similar, they sleep 15 to 18 hours a day, slightly less than their male counterparts.
5. Young Cubs
Although it’s not recommended to get too close to wild lions in general, it’s hard not to when the baby cubs look as cute as these do.
In this photo, the photographer captures a male lion in the middle of a nighttime hunt, again while eating a zebra.
7. Stare Down
This photo captures the particularly piercing gaze of three female lions basking in the sun. It’s hard not to be drawn in by the direct gaze of these three!
8. Mating Ritual
This daring photo shows two lions in the middle of mating. A part of this daring ritual includes the male lion biting the female on the neck—needless to say, this probably wasn’t an easy shot to get!
9. Lounging on a Rock
Though the image may be familiar from movies like The Lion King, this picture captures a pride of lions sleeping on top of a rock outcropping. If you couldn’t tell by now, lions tend to do a lot of lounging around.
10. Pride of Lions
Again, this group of male lions is laying in wait for prey—or perhaps they are just relaxing in the dry grass as thy are prone to do.
11. Lion Cubs Eating
Lions are also known to share the things they hunt with their babies as well. Still, as this picture shows, that process can be a little bit messy.
12. King of the Hill
In a more iconic photo, a solitary male lion stands on top of a boulder and surveys his kingdom.
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13. Gentle Friends
Finally, there’s this picture showing that even the biggest and baddest of lions can be friendly and gentle with one another. Still, if you look closely you can see the slash marks on their faces!
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