A pack of wild dogs attack a lion but the king of the jungle is not easily bullied.
This is a poignant scene that captures what are probably the final months of this magnificent lioness’ life. We learn from the video notes that she is called Verity and that she is already 15 years old. The life expectancy for a lioness in the wild is 15-16 years old although male lions only live for 8-10 years. Therefore, she would not be expected to live that much longer. Lionesses in captivity, however, can live for over 20 years and some have even reached 25 years.
Magnificent Lioness at the End of Her Life
The lifespan of lions is dictated by several factors including food availability, natural threats, and the prevalence of disease. For male lions, the proximity of rival males can also cause sudden deaths. Once a lion becomes older, they become weaker and less able to provide for itself. Their birth pride may continue to provide food for them when they are no longer able to hunt but life still gets more difficult for them.
It almost seems as if these wild dogs can sense that this lion is not the threat that she once was. Nevertheless, she still manages to fight them off despite her advanced age and the fact that there are many more wild dogs.
Wild Dogs as Hunters
African wild dogs are carnivorous hunters who count the lion as one of their predators, along with hyenas and humans. They roam deserts and open plains and are found in National Parks across southern Africa. As is obvious from this footage, they are highly sociable pack animals and live in groups of up to 30 individuals.
The pack does everything together including hunting and they share food. They also help to care for sick and young pack members. This social arrangement is achieved through communication and some of this is verbal. We can clearly hear their distinctive calls in this footage. They also use touch and movement and will nose and lick each other and wagtails to relay information. Hunting as a pack enables them to take on larger prey, such as wildebeest, but this pack made a mistake in thinking that they could take on this lion.
Video: Verity, a 15 year old lioness in our study area in Botswana, fends off a pack of wild dogs so she can get to the waterhole to drink. Female lions have a life expectancy of 15-16 years in the wild, Verity has done very well for a lion of her age in the harsh Kalahari environment.