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To celebrate World Lion Day on the 10th August we have gathered a small handful of interesting facts about why male lions form groups, or coalitions as they are called.

It is always a powerful and awe-inspiring experience to come across a group of male lions in the wild, but why do they do this and what are the benefits of forming these alliances amongst other competitive males?

two male lions, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
©Sabi Sands Game Reserve

1. Territory: The more the merrier – and the stronger! A coalition of prime male lions can be crucial in establishing and maintaining a large territory. Residing over larger tracts of land means that male lions will have dominance over any pride within that territory and can therefore ensure the longevity of their DNA through a wider genetic distribution.

2. Food: Being part of the coalition means that there are more paws on deck when it comes to hunting, which offers better feeding opportunities.

male lion, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
©Sabi Sands Game Reserve

3. Protection: It also offers protection from other male lions and the protection of the genes as a lion in a coalition will have direct access to more than one pride with the potential of reproducing.

In order to be effective and to stand a chance of occupying land, brothers and cousins often group together when they are kicked out of their pride. Males that end up on their own will often integrate into an existing coalition, or team up with other lone males.

male lion, b&w, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
©Sabi Sands Game Reserve

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