Why Is the Lion Known as the King of Beasts?
The lion most likely became known as the “king of beasts” because of its proud appearance, its strength, and its size. The kingly look of the male lion is enhanced by a long, flowing mane. The lion has long been considered the symbol of strength and courage (for example, “strong as a lion” and “lionhearted”).
Lions were often pictured on the shields and crests of royalty to indicate power. Although lions have sometimes been called the “king of the jungle,” they seldom live in the thick jungle. African lions live mostly in open, grassy plains.
Lions belong to the big cat family – lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars – and are the second largest big cat in the world after the tiger. Male lions usually live for between 10 to 12 years in the wild, but females can live up to the age of 14 or 15. In captivity lions have been known to live for 20 to 25 years. This is because they are kept in a cage or an enclosure and don’t face any of the dangers that wild lions do.
Despite looking very fierce, lions are actually classed as being ‘vulnerable’. This means that in the wild, they are in real danger of being wiped out. Only 40 years ago, Africa was home to 200,000 lions, now there are only around 32,000.
That might still sound like a lot, but it means that in another 40 years, there may not be any alive at all. If every lion died, we would say that they had become extinct. That is why we must try to look after those lions that are left. This is called conservation; the protection of animals in danger.