It's tough in the bush…
It’s tough in the bush. Especially if you are King of the Beasts and one of the Big 5. If you’re a male lion, you have to survive cubhood which might include a pack of hungry hyenas after you, or a big male leopard planning you as a quick takeaway.
You have to survive sibling rivalry, and if food is short, sorry - but Mums and Dad eat first.
When you become a young adult male, then you get thrown out of the family and now must go seeking your own pride. That means becoming nomadic, scouring wide swathes of land, identifying a pride with a male whose powers may be waning, then picking a fight, winning it, and taking over the pride.
Now it’s time to father cubs, keep the ladies happy, protect your territory and stave off other males. You’re now in your prime.
But… the day comes when your battle scars and old age begin to creep up on you. It’s not long now before you’ll have to give way to a new leader, and all you can do is meekly follow the pride and scrounge what scraps you can.
A quicker - but more painful death - is if you get kicked by a feisty male zebra defending his females against predators. You won’t last long with a broken jawbone.