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Culling the competition...

Culling the competition...
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-10-18
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 500mm f/4 L IS USM, Digital ISO 200
Exposure: f/4, 1/1250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Selen's Favorites, CeltickRanger's favorite African animal photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-07 1:18
Viewed: 10877
Favorites: 4 [view]
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African Lion
Panthera leo

I have said that nature seldom disappoints those that truly love her. And this time I witnessed a very rare scene.

The females of a pride co-operate in raising cubs. They synchronise the births of cubs, which grow up in a crèche in which the females suckle each other’s cubs and co-operatively defend their cubs against strange males. Female cubs usually stay in the natal pride for life, all male cubs born in a pride leave when they are two to four years of age. With no pride or territory commitments to attend to the subadult males concentrate their efforts on feeding and growing big and strong, forming coalitions with usually related males that may exceptionally be as large as seven. When they reach full maturity the males are ready to take over a territory. The territory may coincide with that of a pride of females, or it may be larger encompassing the territories of several prides. If there are other adult males in the territory the new males must firstly displace them, an activity that is often violent.

Once the new coalition of males has taken over a territory and gained tenure of the pride they perform the dastardly act of infanticide – they kill the cubs. The females, being much smaller than the males, are usually unable to prevent this, but they do try to gang up against the males and particularly if their cubs are older than a year, they may be able to escape.

Within days of losing their cubs the females come into oestrus and mate with the cub-killing males. Contrary to popular belief there is no single dominant male lion in a pride, the members of a coalition are of equal status, as are the adult females. It is a case of first come first served. Mating lasts about four days during which time copulation occurs roughly once every 25 minutes. If the female fails to conceive she will come into oestrous again in 16 days. If she does conceive she will produce 1–4 cubs after a gestation of 3.5 months. Compared to single males, pairs, or coalitions of three or more can more easily gain tenure of prides of females, retain tenure for longer, mate with more different females, and produce more surviving offspring.

When the females give birth again the new males give protection to cubs with which they share their genes and not those of other males. If it were not for the infanticide the new males might have to wait two years before they could sire their own cubs. As the period of tenure of a pride by males is not usually more than three or four years, they might not otherwise be able to raise any of their own offspring.

Hope you enjoy it.

LordPotty, pirate, ellis49, vanderschelden, dec, Janice, CeltickRanger, Evelynn, sunkirana, SelenE, coasties, cataclysta, Watershed, CatStevens, marhowie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-11-07 2:12]

How has this not been critiqued already!
This is such a special photo.
+++ The pose of the female with the cub in her mouth and the way the small lion is all curled up with it's mouth slightly open... just outstanding!
Exceptional POV with superb eye-contact from the female.
Well composed aswell.
Sharp with excellent details and clarity.
I love the golden colours.
--- Nothing what-so-ever :D
Very well done Gerhard,

Hi Gerhard,
that's soooo lovely, I like this shot very much. Such a cut little baby and this typical pose when mummy is carying it, that's wonderful, thanks and greetings
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Such a privilege to capture such a superb photo.You have done the moment proud.

Hello Gerhard!
Wonderful to see you here again.
Hope you have been well my friend.
This is a splendid shot of a splendid creature.
A great moment beautifully captured. Perfect exposure,composition and detail as always.
You certainly haven't lost your touch .. or your nerve. Looks as though you've been spotted too.
Your note is very interesting. Did you catch any of the cub - killing going on at all.
This shot of the lioness is splendid anyway.
Excellent work!
Keep well,and drop by whenever you can.

Hi Gerhard
great moment with perfect compo and very intersting note
tfs tom

Hi Gerhard,
it's great to see a post from you again.
this is a great pictures from your hands as always, old friend.
You have captured a very nice moment in a well composed picture
with good POV and sharpness.
I like the colours and lighting too.
Very well done.

Hi Gerhard,

very nice image, excellent moment capture of this proud mother

Well done


Hello Gerhard,
Now, I'm really jealous...
This is a winner!
Still busy enjoying your fabulous close encounter, afterwards I will read your note:-)
What A content!!!
Were you alone here? Was she alone with one cub? Do you have more images?.?.?.:-)

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-11-07 8:15]

Hello Gerhardt,
How wonderful! What a fantastic moment. In a perfect pose and POV. Oustanding details and natural colours. Beautiful composition. The eyes radiate LOVE. Great quality!

  • Great 
  • pvb Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 385 W: 16 N: 531] (1981)
  • [2007-11-07 11:02]

Hi Gerhard,
The moment you have captured is a winner!
Great pose of your two models.
Very good composition and pov. Great focus, sharpness, details and light.
A joy to look at.
Thanks Paula

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-11-07 12:13]

I was enraptured with your notes Gerhard - life is cruel, but there is often a good reason!

It is good to hear from you again, and what a spectacular shot this is. Excellent details and perfect exposure. And WOW - look at that intense look in the eye of the lion!

Well done

hello Gerhard

what a wonderful pic of the wild nature and it wild animals too,
for me that cub on the mouth of here mother it is a great moment
of photography that you had the chance too immortalize on photo

i love very much your photo

TFS alot


I didn't know all that about lions. Thank you! nature sure can be brutal. Your photo however is just wonderful. One doesn't notice the cub in the thumbnail and is pleasantly surprised. It's a wonderful shot. How special to have witnessed this scene...

Evelynn : )

Gerhard, I would like to commend you first for a very interesting note. It was very engrossing. Then of course, the picture is exceptional. A rare capture executed perfectly.

Warm regards, Kiran

Bonjour Gerhard,

Voilà une photo qui doit faire rêver un tas de monde.Quel grand moment tu as du vivre! Belle mise en image de cet instant émouvant.
Merci pour ce beau partage

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-11-09 2:26]

Hi Gerhard,
What a lovely scene you've captured... Wonderful to look at...
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2007-11-09 9:49]

Hello Gerhard , Fantastic shot from mother and child ,great compositie sharpnes colours and bg ,a beauty shot ,thanks ,Good Weekend Teunie .

Rare and great event.
captured with great details, in a perfect light and with excellent composition. Brilliant.
Not even a small nit.

Hello Gerhard

Nice to see an image from you again.... it seems to have been a long time. This is a real beauty. Your note is very informative and has told me much that I didn't know. I hope you are keeping well my friend! :-)

Hi Gerhard
I envy you that kind of observations. I always wanted to see Africa. Grean natural photo. Fantastic moment
I like it very much
Very best wishes

Hi Gerhard,
What an amazing capture and the cub is so cute ;o). Very well done, wonderful composition, excellent POV and DOF with sharp details.

Hi Gerhard,

Great shot of this lion with it's cute cub!
The lioness looks alerted, why is this?

Very well done,


Beautiful shot. Excellent pov and details. You have managed to capture a great moment.

Hi Gerhard,
Wonderful capture, there's a lot to like about this one.
I see you posted this gem over a year ago, sorry I missed it.
Excellent work!

amazing capture ! unfortunately I havenv't been in SA laterly, greetings Ori

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