Post by Lisa Groeneweg: He’s Fighting a War and Needs Our Help http://foracause.quora.com/Hes-Fighting-a-War-and-Needs-Our-Help?srid=XL86&share=1
Answer By Rory Young
I am going to specifically answer this in terms of one male tiger going up against one male lion.
Although female lions hunt as prides, male lions spend most of their lives alone. They are forced out of the pride when they reach around two years.
If they manage to take over a pride of their own they will usually only manage to keep it for a couple of years. During the time they have a pride they will spend most of their time fighting off potential usurpers.
When they do not have a pride they frequently fight with other solitary males that they bump into and of course pride males in their attempts to take control of a pride.
So, a male lion spends his life fighting. In fact they spend so much time fighting and not eating properly and stressed out that they only live to about ten years old while females usually live to about fifteen.
The reason a male lion has a mane is for defense in fighting. They fight like wrestlers, facing off, gripping each other and trying to overpower each other. I have watched them fighting many times and have come across two dead males over the years. Both had been bitten through the spine. From what I have read, this is pretty much the norm.
So, the mane is a pretty effective defense in a cat-fight. To get round it requires some serious dominance in the fight as it means out wrestling the opponent to the point of being able to bite them through the spine. Tigers do not have this defense.
Tigers are solitary animals and although heavier than lions, they are shorter than lions at the shoulder. The weight difference is about 15% which is significant but not enough I believe to mean an overwhelming advantage for tiger, especially since they have a height disadvantage.
In terms of behaviour, male tigers usually solve their disputes via display and intimidation, preferring to avoid each other. Now in terms of fighting, this lack of experience when going up against a pro IS an overwhelming disadvantage.
This is like putting a heavy inexperienced amateur fighter in ring with a taller, leaner professional with a mean history of fights under his belt.
A no-brainer. The lion wins hands down. Size really isn’t everything..
EDIT: Yes, I agree a tiger in a zoo will kill a lion. The whole point I have been making here is that a male lion would probably win against a male tiger because a male lion has a lifetime experience of fighting other male lions. Male tigers do not usually fight except occasionally over a female in oestrus. A lion that had grown up in a zoo would obviously not have gained the experience!
Article Written by Rory Young and Published by Quora Publishing on Slate.com
Answer by Rory Young:
In the pride it is the females that mostly hunt. More specifically the killers hunt. These are females who have for one reason or another become adept at hunting. Often because at some stage they were not getting enough food, started hunting themselves and developed the skill.
These killers will take the lead in the hunt and the other females will follow their lead. Interestingly they are not necessarily the most dominant among the females of the pride.
All males on the other hand are perfectly capable of hunting and if they are happen to bump into an opportunity they certainly don’t ignore it. However, when in the pride they spend their time protecting the pride and their territory from would be usurpers and other threats.
The reason that all male lions can hunt is because they are usually chased out of the pride at 18 months to 2 years old. Thereafter they are forced to feed themselves. These nomadic males become very accomplished hunters. Sometimes they will team up with another male for companionship and to increase the chances of both hunting success. The bond also allows them more chance of usurping a pride for themselves.
Answer by Rory Young:
It is not necessarily safe in the slightest! It depends entirely on your guide!
Elephants can pulverise a vehicle whether it is a sedan or a specially adapted safari 4×4. This is the recent result of an elephant’s annoyance in Kruger National Park in South Africa:
Lions will leave you alone if you remain seated. However, if the guide doesn’t tell his clients or if they don’t follow safety instructions and stand up then they are no longer “a part” of the big-noisy-monster-thing and can be seen as individuals. They can go for you. Kids are a huge problem.
Here’s a little secret, I can call lions out of the bush. How do I do it? I use make a noise like a baby crying! Kid’s voices + lions = immediate interest, vehicle or no vehicle.
One of George Adamson’s lions from “Born Free” went in through the vehicle window of w a Park Warden and tried to get his baby. (The same lion later killed the gardener but that is another story).
I know of one incident of a leopard going over the bonnet of an open landrover and having a go at the driver. That though was an extreme situation and an exception to the rule.
Regarding guides and what makes a good one, here is an excellent article by Dick Pitman, a conservationist I am honoured to have known for many years:
Answer by Rory Young:
I will give the answer in terms of self defense against a charging Cape Buffalo. This assumes there is no option but to shoot as the animal is in a full charge and that you are armed with a .375 H&H or larger and there is no good tree next to you.
The Cape Buffalo kills more people in Africa than any other mammal after hippos.
It charges at approximately 56km/h.
Shooting it through the heart in a full charge will not necessarily stop it in time.
I have seen a buffalo that run 80 meters after being shot through the heart. (see .
Therefore the only way to stop it dead is to shoot it in the brain.
The brain is 12cm in diameter.
Because it is moving towards you at 56km/h, the brain is only 12cm in diameter and the head is moving up and down, it is best to wait until it gets very close and drops its head to gore you. This is usually 10 to 20 meters away.
The best way to visualize the correct shot placement is to imagine a line from one ear to the opposing eye and for the other eye and ear. Where these two lines cross is the brain no matter what the position of the head is.
You need to hold your nerve and shot perfectly accurately because if you miss you are dead. If you turn and run you are dead.
Unfortunately for me I had to do this twice in one day in 1993.
I was together with another ranger-guide, Jesse Zvikonyuakwa. We were investigating reports of two “problem” buffalo in one of the areas near and had been warned that they were injured and had chased a couple of people up trees.
Unfortunately for us they had moved into Jess Bush, a type of very thick thorny vegetation. It is a common tactic for injured buffalos to take refuge in dense bush and it is extremely dangerous to pursue them in such areas as they are extremely aggressive, have acute senses, are very cunning and it is almost impossible to move quietly through Jess (it often involves crawling).
However, it was our job and we had no choice but to go after them so in we went.
The first one came flying at us through the Jess and came out into a small clearing about twenty meters from me. It dropped its head to hit me at about fifteen meters at which point I shot it.
We found the second one about 5 hours later in a much bigger clearing.He was on the other side of a small valley, about 80 meters away. This is far to shoot with a heavy calibre rifle and open sites and normally would not be done because of the chance of wounding. I gave the go ahead to Jesse to shoot though because the animal was already injured (meat poachers had tried to kill both animals causing the wounds), dangerous to the local population and surrounded by Jess bush, where it would be more difficult and dangerous to find him.
Jesse fired and the bull took off for the thick bush heading diagonally away from us. I sprinted after it because I really didn’t want it going into that Jess.
The bull caught my movement and veered round to charge at me. I stopped and prepared to shoot once it got close and dropped its head.
Instead, it fell to the ground about twenty meters from me. I lowered my rifle and just then Jess fired another round to make sure it was dead. Instead it got up again and came at me a second time. By the time I raised my rifled and aimed it was only 7 or 8 meters away so when I fired, even though my shot placement was spot on, the momentum of the charge carried it several more meters and it literally ended up at my feet.
I never had to shoot a buffalo before or after that day in self defense and ever since have not followed buffalo, wounded or healthy into Jess bush.
I reckon, if I do it might be third time lucky for the buffaloes.
Answer by Rory Young:
Yes, they do. Many gregarious and other species of birds will alert each other to anything that looks even vaguely threatening or out-of-place.
Once they learn more about a new creature they encounter, they will begin to relax if they find that it is not interested in them. A good example of how adaptable and able to learn is the Oxpecker. When feeding on ticks on Cape Buffalo they will warn the buffalo of an approaching human. However, Oxpeckers feeding on ticks on cattle will not warn cows of an approaching human.