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Wed, Nov 7, 2012 7:57 PM
Apollyon wrote:P Tigris wrote:Great pics.....Check out what was just discovered on the other forum;
Out of 58 lions, 0 died from fights. <-- not to bash lions!! But to give an idea of mortality.I don't think you can realistically draw any conclusions about Lion deaths in combat since so many were poached. 27 adults killed plus 7 cubs leaves 23 Lions...what's the time frame? Clearly Human activity is messing with the natural life cycle of the Lion. This likely affects the Tiger but it seems (lately) that Lion killing is getting out of control.
P Tigris wrote:Great pics.....Check out what was just discovered on the other forum;
Out of 58 lions, 0 died from fights. <-- not to bash lions!! But to give an idea of mortality.
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 11:00 AM
Lions are truly the king of beasts, in both action, and looks!
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 11:11 AM
A long time ago a strange creature appeared in China and horrified and ate men and animals. The fast and fierce creature was called 'nien' (or 'nian'), which sounds like the Chinese word for 'year'. Neither the fox nor the tiger could fight the 'nien' effectively and in despair the people asked the lion for help.
Thu, Nov 8, 2012 12:43 PM
Asad wrote:The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations By George B. SchallerMost lions died from disease, starvation, adandonment, old age, and or as a result of violent contacts with their own or other species...About a quarter died violently, bitten to death by other lions or other species of predators, about a quarter died of starvation and half simply dissappeared...Lions were aggressive towards other lions, both toward pride members on a kill and toward stragers, with the result that wounded animals with claw and bite wounds were common..Lions showed little restraint when biting each other each other and some wounds caused rapid death.http://books.google.com/b...ing%20causes&f=falseSome of the most recent work done by Packer’s team has just been highlighted in a pretty nice write up by Mattt Walker in the BBC, representing a paper just coming out. The most interesting finding: Male lions kill (or attempt to kill) females from neighboring prides in order that their own pride obtains numerical superiority in pursuit of territorial competition.....Overall, males were more important in group-territorial competition than
expected, and female mortality and wounding rates were significantly
associated with male neighbours, suggesting that males may use lethal
aggression to tip the balance of power in favour of their prides. http://scienceblogs.com/g...cience-of-lion-prides-1/Mosser, A., & Packer, C. (2009). Group territoriality and the benefits of sociality in the African lion, Panthera leo Animal Behaviour DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.04.024
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 4:09 PM
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 4:26 PM
Fri, Nov 9, 2012 4:53 PM
Sat, Nov 10, 2012 2:05 AM
Fri, Nov 23, 2012 10:48 AM
Tue, Nov 27, 2012 11:04 PM
Thu, Nov 29, 2012 12:26 PM
Some more news on the two nomadic male lions who have been
trying their best to take over the territory that forms a large part of
Tanda Tula Safari Camp property. We have mentioned these two males a
fair amount over recent weeks, and now have more feedback on exactly who
they are, and where they came from.
As many of you may have seen, one of these two large males has a
tracking collar. We have just recently been informed by the Timbavati
Head Quarters, that the organisation behind the collaring of this
nomadic male is that of a leopard research project. The project is
involved in monitoring large carnivores in the Timbavati Private Nature
Reserve where specific territories of certain large carnivores are, and
the impact that they have in the reserve.
The smaller male was collared when he was still a sub adult cub when
he stuck close to his mother. He was born very far south on the Avoca
portion of the Timbavati, and as he began to mature he was kicked out of
his natal pride by the dominant male of the pride. He then moved north
towards the Kruger national park. The larger of the males is from the
Kruger national park, and this is where the coalition bond was formed
(and a strong one at that!).
Shortly after chasing the Machaton Pride off a kill
Once the bond was formed in the Kruger National Park, there was no
stopping them. After some time in Kruger, they made their way into the
Timbavati Private Nature Reserve through the northern boundary of the
reserve, creating absolute havoc and unfortunately killing a few cubs
along the way. As many of you may already know, there is no fence line
between the Kruger and the Timbavati, so game such as this are free to
travel over large distances.
After arriving in the north, they seemed interested in moving
slightly south to show their dominance in this area (which forms part of
our property). We believe this is due to the lack of dominant males in
the area. This is one of the reasons why lions roar, to work out who is
in the area. We often hear the nomads roaring, but no answer. Since
moving into the area, they have threatened our local pride, the
Machatons, and have already killed a few male cubs.
The Leopard research project darted the two nomadic males to gather
information on the cats and to check the collar of the younger male, to
ensure that the collar is still fitted correctly and that it is not
causing him any discomfit. The plan is to keep the collar on him until
March next year so that they can gather as much information as possible
(such as the size of their territory and the impact they have in that
On average male lions weigh between 210kg to 250kg, and females
between 170kg to 190kg. One of the interesting facts gathered by the
darting of the males, is that the bigger of the two is a whopping 280kg –
a significant difference in what is considered average (please note
that this male was weighed shortly after eating)!
We will keep you up to date as the dynamic between these two nomadic males and the Machaton pride develops.
Until next time,
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 1:36 PM
One of the "Ghost" lions that threatens the white lion cub - image by Chad Coking
The new white lion cub along with its tawny sibling from the Ross Pride face a serious potential threat. Chad Coking, from the Umbabat area of the private reserves of the Kruger
reports that two nomadic lions that have already killed one of the
Machaton Pride sub-adult males are hell bent on domination and will not
hesitate to kill cubs that do not belong to them in their bloody quest
to rule a pride.
Chad reports from a recent game drive:
“In my rush, Petros didn’t have time to look too much at the tracks,
but amidst the 2000-odd hooves making marks in the sand, he thought he
had spotted lion tracks, so I reversed, and quickly ascertained that he
had indeed seen lion tracks. And I knew that they were fresh…and I knew
this without even having to look at the tracks. I wish I could claim
to have super tracking skills, but rather I just used my logic; if the
lion was there standing 15m off the road, there was a good chance that
he had made the tracks quite recently!!!
Yes, we had almost driven past them! Regardless, we found them, and by them I mean the two Ximpuku males (Ghosts)
with the collar. These lions walk around the reserve each night
roaring and leaving tracks, but are never seen, but have eventually been
seen! This morning they weren’t going anywhere during the night and
they had returned from 5km south to once more pursue the buffalo herd
and this time they had got lucky in picking off one of the calves. The
smaller collared male lay eating the kill whilst his bigger counterpart
rested nearby. These are big lions. And sadly we can also confirm that
last week they killed another of the Machaton young males, leaving the
Machaton Pride with only 5 sub-adults males left. The sad part is that
we are all certain that the killing is not yet over. As long as these
two boys stay away from the Ross Pride that we see occasionally,
we will be happy, and this is because it was confirmed yesterday that
this pride from the south has a new white lion cub in their midst;
hopefully we shall get to see it in the near future!”
Interesting times ahead!
The best camps to stand a chance of seeing the white lion cub are Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp.
The white lion cub and its tawny sibling from the Ross Pride - image by Rein Kock
The "Ghost" lions finally seen on a game drive by Chad Coking and his guests
maps shows the proximity of the Umbabat area to Africa on Foot and
nThambo Tree Camp. The Ross Pride spend most of their time on "Ross"
where both camps are located.
Ximpuku males (Ghosts)
with the collar, finally a good photo.
News from Motswari, Tanda Tula and Kings Camp is that the Machaton Pride is due for a take-over pretty soon. All three camps have reported on the presence of two new males – nicknamed the Ghost Males
– that have arrived into area after the vacuum left by the Timbavati
Males. These two males have already killed two of the seven sub-adult
males of the Machaton Pride.
The last juvenile Machaton male was killed when the two new males
pushed them off a giraffe kill. This is just another indication of how
tough it is for lion cubs to make it through to maturity and there is
close to a 70% mortality rate within lion prides.
The two new males are very large and muscular, however they still
sport “punk rocker” manes and the Kings Camp rangers estimate them at
6-7 years of age. Although they look powerful the commercial lodges are
not all convinced that they will be the next Kings of the Timbavati.
However there is high hope as with the Timbavati Males gone for almost a
year now, the lion pride dynamics have been very sporadic and
unsettled. Not only do powerful dominant male coalitions allow lion
prides to thrive, they also ensure good quality sightings for commercial
lodges and their paying guests!
You can view the traversing areas of the Timbavati Safari Lodges here.
Another post on the Ghost Lions here as they might move closer to the Ross Pride with the white lion cub.
The Ghost Males feed on the stolen giraffe carcass – image from Tanda Tula
One of the two new males that might take over the Machaton Pride – image from Kings Camp
One of the surviving sub-adult Machaton males whose future hangs in the balance – image from Kings Camp
the last week, we managed to do some wonderful walking safaris. Whilst
on trail, we picked up tracks for two of the Timbavati Male lions.
These massive, saucer shaped tracks are fairly intimidating when
standing next to them on foot with not a vehicle in sight. Now, we
always run through possible scenarios with guests on foot including how
to react to a charge and the do’s and do not’s! The golden rule with
lions is DO NOT RUN; a lion has the potential to charge at roughly 80 km
per hour, which is about 22 meters a second. Stand your ground and
follow the guide’s instructions to the letter. Even though we didn’t
manage to find these lions on foot, on the way back to Machaton dam hide
in the vehicle, we encountered the Machaton pride who had just taken
down an impala ram. The two Timbavati males rushed in to get their share
of the spoils and then had a disagreement over who was getting what and
proceeded to fight it out. Just imagine seeing these two brutes on
foot, very exciting stuff!
Fri, Nov 30, 2012 5:30 PM
Tue, Dec 4, 2012 4:29 PM
HOW A LION FIGHT CAUSED ENGLAND
TO STOP THE BREEDING OF BOTH RING AND PIT BULLDOGS
By Warren H. Blaisdell, III
The story of the famous bulldog fancier Bill George and his trip to attend the lion
fights happened in the year 1825 in England.
That such a cruel exhibition of bulldogs fighting a lion could take place in public
today, and the fact that it occurred only 100 years ago is striking evidence of the
strides that we have made since that day toward humane consideration for our dogs. A
snarling, vicious fighter in those times, entirely because he was bred and trained to be
such, the bulldog today is recognized for his completely opposite characteristics of
docility and steadfast devotion. Such a complete change is a credit indeed to present day
Notices of the lion fights appeared in issues of The Sporting Magazine in 1825, and the
scattered facts have been gathered together to present this story, not as a glorification
of the cruel "sport" to which the bulldog was subjected, for it is not a
pleasant tale, but rather because, due to its very viciousness, it brought about the end
of fighting bulldogs and eventually the different animal which we know today. As such it
assumes importance as the turning point in bulldog history and is recorded for that
Bill George was an apprentice at the establishment of Ben White who operated a bulldog
kennel for the "fancy" in a deserted section on the outskirts of London. The
fancy, in those days, consisted of "sports" whose chief delight was to fight the
bulldog in the pit with other bulldogs, or sometimes with a badger or even a monkey.
They also fancied the art of bullbaiting and bearbaiting, which at one time became so
popular as to amount to a national pastime. However, by the year of which we are speaking,
such exhibitions had already fallen into popular disfavor, and many towns had local
ordinances against them. Nevertheless, White carried on a brisk business in breeding,
training, and selling fighting bulldogs, and his establishment was notorious throughout
The lion fights took place on July 30, and the day was unusually hot even for that time
of year. It was just noon when Bill George trudged into Warwick. The parched, dusty road
had blistered his tired feet, and he headed straight for the horse-watering well in the
village square to wash and cool off. At the well there was quite a crowd, mostly farmers
from out of town, but interspersed with a few suspicious looking characters smacking of
the race track who were busy booking bets on the outcome of the lion fights which were to
take place that evening.
It had been a long trip from London. On Friday morning, after he had swept the kennels,
cleaned the dog pens and the fighting pit, Ben White had told him that he might go, but
issued a stern warning to be back by Monday evening in time for the dog fights at
He had made good time on Friday, thanks to a ride out of the city with a dairyman. By
eight in the evening he had reached Brackley where he looked up "Scrap" Taylor
who ran a small kennel of bulldogs for the "fancy" and who, at various times,
had bought bulldogs from Ben White. "Scrap" had said that Bill might sleep in
the barn that night if he would assist at a couple of dog matches first. Instead of a
couple fights, there turned out to be seven, and it was two in the morning before the last
dogs had been taken from the pit and the crowd gone home.
The barn was rank with the odor of the men, the blood in the pit, and stale tobacco
smoke. Since the shutters had been nailed shut to keep light from attracting passersby,
there was no way of airing out the place.
Tired as he was, Bill could not get to sleep. He lay thinking about the fights that
evening and the cruel purposes for which his favorites were bred. Bulldogs were not
naturally vicious. He knew that well. Raised as they were and encouraged to fight, any
breed would become vicious and ill-tempered, but treated with kindness they became devoted
companions. He tried to think of some other purpose for which they might be bred. But what
was there? They were bred solely for the pit. Without that there would be no reason for
breeding them at all. Anyway, tomorrow he would see Billy! There was a real bulldog! He
turned over to try to get some sleep before morning.
At six on Saturday morning, Bill set off for Warwick. He got a ride into Leamington;
and with that help, he arrived in Warwick in good time. It would give him the whole
afternoon to be with Billy. Billy had been whelped at White’s about a year and a half
previously, and from puppyhood had been the favorite of Bill. He had made a pet of Billy
much against White’s wishes who said that Bill would ruin him for the fighting pit.
The dog became so devoted to his master that he became known as "Bill’s
dog" which was later shortened to "Billy". However, at eight months, Billy
showed evidence of becoming the best dog in the kennel, and White began to spend a great
deal of time training him for the pit.
By the time he was a year old, he could lick any dog his size and was sold to the
well-known promoter, Sam Wedgbury, at a high price. Wedgbury had since fought him with so
much success that he was known to the fancy all over the British Isles.
At Factory Yard, Wedgbury greeted Bill with obvious pleasure, and it was not long
before he was telling him about the first lion fights which had taken place on Tuesday
over in Cannon. The Great Wombwell, proprietor of the famous traveling circus, had
promoted the fights by offering to bet any "Sporting Gentleman" in England up to
5,000 sovereigns that his famous lion, Nero, could whip any six bulldogs in the land. The
bet had been taken by a nobleman who engaged Wedgbury to furnish the dogs. The fight had
drawn a tremendous crowd on Tuesday, and betting had run high with the odds five to one in
favor of Nero.
At seven in the evening, Nero had been rolled out into the arena in his cage where he
sat surveying the crowd placidly, accustomed as he was to being on exhibit. At 7:30,
Wedgbury brought the dogs forth, and three were selected to make the first attack. One dog
was named Turk, a brown-colored dog weighing about 40 pounds whose many scars were ample
evidence of his experience in the fighting pit. The second dog was Captain, a
fallow-and-white with a wry face; and third was Tiger, a brown-and-white heavyweight.
The three dogs had been aroused to a state of utmost excitement by their handlers, and
were anxious to start fighting. As soon as they were let loose, they sprang into the cage
and attacked Nero from both sides. Poor Nero, who had been lying on his paws not
suspecting any danger, whirled with a roar of anguish, and tried to beat off the dogs with
his claws. Undaunted, they came back to attack again and again, until Tiger pinned the
lion by the lower lip; and Nero, in defense, caught the dog a severe blow, tearing his
side wide open. Suffering badly from the wound, Tiger turned and fled outside the cage
where he stood barking furiously, but not daring to enter again.
The other two dogs repeatedly tore at Nero’s nose and face until the poor animal
was bleeding profusely. Finally, he fled, at full speed, around and around his cage
seeking refuge from his tormentors. The crowd howled victory for the bulldogs which were
dragged from the cage, and Nero was given a 20-minute respite.
The second trios to attack Nero were Nettle, a brindle #$%$! with a black head; Rose, a
brindle-pied #$%$!; and Nelson, a white dog with brindle spots. Here the scene was the
same. Poor Nero, driven to distraction by the pain, tried in vain to run away from his
antagonists until he finally collapsed from utter exhaustion and was dragged to the side
of the ring by the dogs.
Wombwell, ashamed at the poor showing of his King of Beasts, at once came upon the
stage and offered to match his other lion, Wallace, against six more bulldogs. The bet was
taken and the fight was arranged to take place that Saturday night.
Wedgbury had brought Tiger again and five new bulldogs for this combat, and took it for
granted that they would be more than a match for Wallace. Besides Tiger, he had brought
Billy who was so delighted at seeing his former master again that he would not leave
Bill’s feet all afternoon. Then there was Ball, a tawny-and-white, two and a half
year old weighing 40 pounds; Tinker, a red dog, four years old, weighing 46 pounds; Turpin
a 60 pounder; and Sweep, which weighed less than 40 pounds, but known to be a fighter of
During the afternoon, a Quaker by the name of Wheeler came into the yard looking for
Wedgbury. With Wheeler was the sheriff, and the former did his utmost to persuade the
sheriff to arrest Wedgbury and put a stop to the proposed fight. The sheriff, however, was
reluctant to enter into the affair, especially since the event had been well advertised
and promised to bring the largest crowd of the year into town. After appealing to Wedgbury
in the interest of being humane toward his dogs, Wheeler left to look up Wombwell but
without much hope of stopping the fight, for he had tried to stop the Tuesday fight at
Cannon only to be beaten up for his pains.
By seven o’clock, the town was teeming with people who had come from far and near
to witness the big event. In front of the single entrance to Factory Yard, Bill George
came upon a gathering of members of The Society of Friends who were urging the crowd to
refrain from patronizing such a disgraceful exhibition. However, the mob was in holiday
mood and they either paid no attention to the Quakers or taunted them with jibes while
filing into the arena.
Bill paid 10 shillings for standing room in the pit and went into look at Wallace who
was already ensconced in his big cage in the middle of the arena. Wallace was not the
domesticated type that was Nero. He had been whelped in Scotland, and his mother had died
when he was only two days old. He had been reared by a bulldog #$%$!, but had never taken
to captivity. He was now pacing up and down his cage, eyeing the crowd with a most
unfriendly mien as though suspecting that no good could come of this.
Notwithstanding the disgraceful defeat of Nero, and perhaps because of the different
attitude displayed by Wallace, the betting was once again five to one in favor of the
lion. At 7:15, Mr. Wombwell, having made the necessary disposition of his customers,
announced his intention of beginning immediately and proceeded to enter the cage. His
appearance was hailed with applause; and like a second Daniel, he walked about with great
gravity armed with nothing but a switch. The band struck up "Rule Britannia" and
played until it was silenced by cries of the crowd, impatient to get started.
Finally, Mr. Wedgbury was instructed to bring out his dogs, which appeared and were
fastened to collars to heavy chains attached to stakes outside the cage. Ball and Tinker
were selected for the first of three attacks and were led out by their handlers to an
inclined ramp which ran up into the cage directly in front of the lion. Wallace’s
attention was immediately attracted by the barking and anxious straining of the dogs which
were endeavoring to break loose and begin the attack.
After repeated calls from the crowd, Wombwell finally left the cage, and the words
"Let go" were given. Wallace, by this time was crouching down, and on hearing
the cry of the dogs instantly sprang at the side of the cage. His head was erect, the
hairs of his fine, bushy mane stood up like bristles, his eyes sparkled from fire, and a
general convulsion seemed to shake his entire frame.
Both dogs, although excited to the highest pitch of fury by the handlers, appeared
overawed at the terrifying appearance of the royal beast, and remained for several minutes
on the platform without making any attempt to enter the cage. At length, Ball, going too
close to the bars, was caught and dragged into the ring by one of Wallace’s paws. The
poor dog had scarcely got to his feet before the lion caught him in his mouth and carried
him around the cage as a cat would a mouse.
Tinker, in the meantime, had entered the cage and began attacking the legs of the lion,
finally succeeding in annoying the latter to such an extent that he dropped Ball to rush
at his attacker. Ball, more dead than alive, dragged himself from the cage to die a few
Wallace grabbed Tinker furiously by the shoulder and would have crushed him to death
had not one of the handlers enticed the lion by holding out a piece of meat on a pike.
Wallace dropped Tinker who was dragged out of the ring by one of the men, and thereby
saved. By this time the crowd, who had seen the tables turned, was wild; and bets were
being offered as high as 50 to one in favor of Wallace winning the next two engagements,
but there were no takers.
After 20 minutes, the next two dogs were sent in. This time it was Turpin and Sweep,
both of whom attacked boldly from the front. Turpin was severely injured almost at once
and fled from the cage. Sweep put up a noble fight but was no match for Wallace which took
the dog in his mouth and hurled him to the side of the cage allowing him to escape with
The third attack was delayed in starting owing to an attempt on the part of a large
crowd outside the yard to rush the gate and gain entrance without paying. While this was
going on, Bill sought out Wedgbury in a vain attempt to persuade him not to send Billy in
against the lion. Wedgbury, who was now greatly concerned for his dogs, two of which had
already died, was inclined to agree with Bill but dared not back out in the face of such a
large crowd of spectators.
It was nearly nine when the third match took place, and Bill hardly had time to get
back to the ring before the two dogs were released. This time it was Billy, and Tiger,
which had done so much barking but little fighting, in the fight on Tuesday night. Both
dogs seemed terrified at the beast which was now so ferocious that not even his keepers
would go near the cage. Neither dog would approach the bars for some time. Finally, there
were forced into the cage by the handlers, and Tiger made a precipitate attempt to pin
Wallace by the nose but failed and rushed from the cage where he remained barking, as in
the former match, while the crowd booed loudly and shouted "Cur!"
Billy, however, maintained the combat singly for some time with great spirit, until
Wallace seized him by the loins and would have done away with him entirely had not one of
the keepers again lured the lion away with a piece of meat allowing the dog to drop and
As soon as Wallace discovered that the dogs had made their escape, he displayed his
anger by lashing his tail against his sides and roaring tremendously. His jaws were
foaming with blood, and he strode back and forth in his cage for several minutes strewing
it with gore. He was kept on exhibition for an hour after the fight to be inspected by the
crowd which was harangued loudly by the boasting Wombwell, who stood at a safe distance
from the cage appearing well pleased at having proved the worth of his lions.
Bill rushed out to look at Billy which, though severely wounded, was expected to
recover. Ball and Tinker had died, and Sweep lay in a very dangerous state. Although the
fight had attracted a crowd of more than 1500 persons and had taken in a gate of 600
pounds, nevertheless both sides agreed that never again would there be a fight between
lions and bulldogs.
Bill spent Saturday night at Factory Yard and set out for London early Sunday morning.
He arrived there late Monday afternoon to find that news of the fights, which had already
reached London, had aroused the public to a high state of indignation. A city ordnance had
been passed hastily, forbidding not only the practice of fighting dogs, but even
prohibiting establishments dealing in such animals. By order of the sheriff, White’s
establishment had been closed that morning and a deputy had been placed there to see that
no business would be carried on.
From that time on, the practice of fighting bulldogs rapidly declined. Exhibitions no
longer took place in public, and the few that were held at all were private affairs taking
place at night, in secluded rendezvous, to which only those known to the fancy were
admitted. White moved his kennels out of London and continued to carry on his business for
several years. In 1835, Parliament finally passed an act which forbade animal fighting
throughout the British Isles. This, of course, brought about, for good and all, an end to
the purpose for which bulldogs were then bred; and for some time thereafter the breed
diminished until it became nearly extinct.
Ben White died about that time, and Bill George succeeded to the establishment. Naming
it the "Canine Castle" he continued to raise his favorite breed. Indeed, he
succeeded in establishing an enviable reputation for honesty in this profession which was
still viewed with suspicion by the general public. The advent of dog shows in 1859 found
George with an established strain and the best specimens in the land. In his declining
years, he enjoyed the reputation of being the foremost breeder of bulldogs in England, and
many of the first winners in the show ring came from his kennels.
Indeed, succeeding generations of show bulldogs sprung directly from his stock; and
practically all of our dogs today, which enjoy a happier lot, trace back directly through
his strain to the fighting dogs of the early nineteenth century.
In 1790, The Times reported a lion-baiting in Vienna as follows:
six of the large and fierce Hungarian Mastiffs
were sent in. The lion, at the moment of their entrance, was leisurely
returning to his den, the door of which stood open. The dogs, which
entered behind him, flew towards him in a body, with the utmost fury,
making the amphitheatre ring with their barking. When they reached the
lion, the noble animal stopped, and deliberately turned towards them.
The dogs instantly retreated a few steps, increasing their
vociferations, and the lion slowly resumed his progress towards his den.
The dogs again approached; the lion turned his head; his adversaries
halted; and this continued until, on his nearing his den, the dogs
separated, and approached him on different sides. The lion then turned
quickly round, like one whose dignified patience could brook the
harassment of insolence no longer. The dogs fled far, as if
instinctively sensible of the power of wrath they had at length
provoked. One unfortunate dog, however, which had approached too near to
effect his escape, was suddenly seized by the paw of the lion; and the
piercing yells which he sent forth quickly caused his comrades to recede
to the door of entrance at the opposite site of the area, where they
stood in a row, barking and yelling in concert with their miserable
associate. After arresting the struggling and yelling prisoner for a
short time, the lion couched upon him with his forepaws and mouth. The
struggles of the sufferer grew feebler and feebler, until at length he
became perfectly motionless. We all concluded him to be dead. In this
composed posture of executive justice, the lion remained for at least
ten minutes, when he majestically rose, and with a slow step entered his
den, and disappeared. The apparent corpse continued to lie motionless
for a few minutes; presently the dog, to his amazement, and that of the
whole amphitheatre, found himself alive, and rose with his nose pointed
to the ground, his tail between his hind legs pressing his belly, and,
as soon as he was certified of his existence, he made off for the door
in a long trot, through which he escaped with his more fortunate
Among the more striking items in the Saffron Walden Museum
in Essex is a stuffed lion named Wallace. In a former life, Wallace had
been a star in George Wombwell’s nineteenth-century traveling menagerie
of exotic beasts and birds. Born in Edinburgh in 1812, Wallace was the
first African lion to be bred in England and was perhaps named after
William Wallace, the Scottish freedom fighter.
Wallace was never to know freedom, he was a fighter, and his most
renowned performance occurred in July 1825 in a factory year in Warwick.
Wombwell had arranged for his pet lion Nero, a large but gentle soul,
to be baited by six trained fighting dogs for a crowd eager for blood
sport. The docile Nero, however, refused to fight the dogs, and Wombwell
finally had to admit his lion’s defeat. After removing Nero from the
pit, Wombwell immediately offered to match Wallace against six more
dogs. The bet was taken and a fight arranged for the next Saturday
night. Six dogs named Tinker, Ball, Billy, Sweep, Turpin, Tiger were set
on the lion in pairs as had been the case with Nero. This time,
however, each dog lasted less than a minute in the cage with Wallace.
temperament remained something less than meek throughout his life. Two
years later he attacked a man named Jonathan Wilson who (as the Leeds
Mercury noted) "imprudently and incautiously" placed his hand upon the
bottom of Wallace's cage between the grating. Wallace attacked and
seized the man's arm with his fangs. Fortunately the keeper was at
hand, "and by his prompt, spirited and efficient exertions" - what ever
those might be - succeeded in saving both the man and his arm from
Wallace. A week later the Leeds Mercury posted the following:
Wilson, whose arm was severly bitten and torn at our fair, by
Wombwell's lion, Wallace ... continued in a favourable state until
Saturday, when the arm was suddently attacked by violent inflammation,
followed rapidly by mortification [of the arm, not Wilson]. In this
state he continued till Wednesday morning, when he died at his own home,
having, the day before, requested to be moved thither from the
It was almost certainly this particular
Wallace (the name became a popular one for lions) that inspired Marriott
Edgar's poem "The Lion and Albert" which relates the quaintly vicious
story of a young boy named Albert who was eaten by a lion at the zoo:
There were one great big Lion called Wallace;His nose were all covered with scars -He lay in a somnolent posture,With the side of his face on the bars.Now Albert had heard about Lions,How they was ferocious and wild -To see Wallace lying so peaceful,Well, it didn't seem right to the child.So straightway the brave little feller,Not showing a morsel of fear,Took his stick with its 'orse's 'ead 'andleAnd pushed it in Wallace's ear.You could see that the Lion didn't like it,For giving a kind of a roll,He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im,And swallowed the little lad 'ole.[read the whole poem +]
There were one great big Lion called Wallace;His nose were all covered with scars -He lay in a somnolent posture,With the side of his face on the bars.Now Albert had heard about Lions,How they was ferocious and wild -To see Wallace lying so peaceful,Well, it didn't seem right to the child.So straightway the brave little feller,Not showing a morsel of fear,Took his stick with its 'orse's 'ead 'andleAnd pushed it in Wallace's ear.You could see that the Lion didn't like it,For giving a kind of a roll,He pulled Albert inside the cage with 'im,And swallowed the little lad 'ole.
[read the whole poem +]
early July in 1838, Wallace was in sad decline. A journalist for
the local Wolverhampton newspaper noted the difference in the lion from
his last visit: "Numerous persons who have visited the Menagerie over
the past week have had their feelings unusually excited by the worn out
appearance of their old favourite lion, Wallace. This once fine and
noble creature seems to be gradually sinking from premature old age and
is at times so weak as scarcely to be able to support his own weight."
Wallace’s death in 1838, he was sent to the Saffron Walden Museum by
stagecoach. A framework for his body was made of wooden struts and
wires, over which his skin was stretched and stuffed with wood shavings.
He was mounted with his left front paw theatrically posed on the figure
of a dog, in remembrance of his triumph in the fighting pit. The first
museum catalogue published in 1845 reads:
Barbarus Grey (The Lion Wallace) Presented by Mr. G. Wombwell. This
animal is remarkable as the first lion bred in this country and was
during his life of 25 years in collection of Mr. G. Wombwell, surviving
his battle with the dogs at Warwick, several years. http://www.ravishingbeasts.com/lions/2006/11/3/wallace-the-lion.html
Barbarus Grey (The Lion Wallace) Presented by Mr. G. Wombwell. This
animal is remarkable as the first lion bred in this country and was
during his life of 25 years in collection of Mr. G. Wombwell, surviving
his battle with the dogs at Warwick, several years.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012 3:39 PM
Fri, Dec 7, 2012 8:20 PM
Fri, Dec 7, 2012 10:12 PM
Sat, Dec 8, 2012 6:56 PM
Tue, Dec 11, 2012 12:56 PM
As we wished all our own pride males a Happy Fathers day on Sunday we
took a moment in Ngamo to admire the paternal side of Milo and the awe
he seems to inspire amongst his prodigies, and 1 cub in particular.
Our researcher has noticed Milo appears to have a ‘soft spot’ for his
son AS5 and the feeling is very mutual. AS5 revels in his father’s
attention and appears to be in sheer bliss when he is lucky enough to
receive a rare lick or two from the alpha male. AS5 often seeks out Milo
to greet and play with him, and the humongous lion, although sometimes
rudely awoken by his son’s admiration, is often very tolerant.
We found some lions on the Rome section on the 10th of June. They were walking along the road when they came upon a white rhino.
This caused great excitement as the lions were soon chasing the rhino
around. He was not easily intimidated and gave back as good as he got.
Wed, Dec 12, 2012 10:23 AM
Summary of morphological findings and measurements (in mm)
Abbreviations: c, cartilaginous; b, bony; l, ligamentous; M, male; F, female.
In the lion, the tiger and the adult
jaguar the pharyngeal wall is caudally elongated showing numerous
longitudinal folds on its inner surface. As compared with the cheetah
and the domestic cat the enormous pharyngeal elongation is caused by the
expansion of the Pars nasalis and Pars oralis pharyngis, which in the Panthera species are separated by an elongated Velum palatinum. The length of the Pars oralis pharyngis, measured from the caudal end of the Radix linguae to the Basihyoideum,
is 7.5 cm in the lion, 7 cm in the jaguar and 5.5 cm in the tiger,
whereas in the cheetah and the domestic cat it is less than 1 cm.
Besides the muscles, numerous collagenous and elastic fibres can be
observed within the lateral pharyngeal walls and the soft palate. In the
Pantherinae examined an extensive and voluminous venous network (Rete mirabile) is developed within the submucosal layer of the Vestibulum oesophagi rostral to the Limen pharyngoesophageum..
Comparative morphology and ontogenetic development
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