Being the king of the jungle, a male lion continuously has to defend both his territory and his pride from rising young lions. A very good example presented itself recently amongst the Western pride that had made a kill on a zebra. Lucky for us this kill was right next to the road and we had a very good opportunity to witness some interesting interaction between the individuals.
In this particular pride we have the big male, two females and four not-so-little cubs (sub-adults), three of which are males. The biggest of the three young males had already proven to be more dominant than the others, and has therefore been subjected to some ‘interesting’ treatment from the adult male!
Nature dictates that the male will always eat first on a kill, and after he had his fill the females and cubs will have their turn to eat. But after that it really is a free-for-all, although the male will still have his privilege to the carcass. At this particular sighting, even the slightest little attempt from the larger cub got the adult male riled up and ready for action. Every time the cub wanted to tug on the zebra for a little taste, the male gave a growl of annoyance. After a few attempts and no heading of the male’s warning, all hell broke loose as the male suddenly stormed up and let loose on the poor cub, giving him a few lashings on the head and a proper scolding.