Lions climbing trees

Lions in trees

Majority of folks  know that cats like to climb trees, and extrapolating from that most people would assume that lions are agile enough to happily climb trees. Cubs frequently take to climbing onto lower limbs of trees but it is unusual for adults to take to the trees, Not that long ago this would have been placed in the unusual behavior folder, but it seems that more and more lions and prides are moving up in the world. It started, or should I say, it was first noted in East Africa, a couple of areas had certain prides that climbed trees- initially the thought was to get off the ground, into a tree to take advantage of the breeze or to get away from biting flies or insects. From personal observation with lions prides in Botswana that doesn’t seem to be the case- a lot of tree climbing takes place early morning or late afternoon when the pride is on the move. What may be happening is that while the pride is out hunting through long grass and in very flat terrain, visibility is restricted- get a few meters off the ground into a vantage point and the ability to spot potential prey is greatly enhanced. The prides I’ve followed seem to have a map of suitable trees in their territory and often head to a particular tree, clamber up, scan around and then ungraciously dismount from the tree and head off in a different direction. 

 

If the Botswana lions are using the tree to benefit from the breeze to stay cool they would be doing that in the heat of the day, and probably climb up, find a comfortable position and just hang out there. Moving from island to island, tree to tree while out hunting says one thing to me- elevated observation point. 

 
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