Serengeti's lion king dies at 12

Serengeti's lion king dies at 12

A lion king named Bob Junior was killed by his rivals in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

Lion King - Bob
Twitter/ Screenshot

A majestic lion famed for its amber eyes and thick golden mane has died in a battle for territory in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, wildlife officials said Thursday.

Twelve-year-old Bob Junior was mauled to death by younger rivals last week, Tanzania National Parks Authority spokesperson Catherine Mbene told AFP.

"It is common for animals to fight for territory at a certain age, especially lions," Mbene said.

"Bob Junior was killed in the fight."

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Often called the King of the Serengeti, the lion was an easy spot among tourists and tour operators because of its thick mane -- a trait inherited from father Bob.

The patriarch's nickname was inspired by the dreadlocks of Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley.

Mbene said the authority was treating Bob Jr's death as natural.

"In pure conservation, we don't alter anything, and that's why we could not shift the ageing lion to a sanctuary or other protected place."

African lions typically have a lifespan of up to 18 years in the wild, according to conservation group Cats for Africa.

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Serengeti in northern Tanzania is estimated to have between 3,000 and 3,500 lions, according to wildlife officials.

But the big cats are under growing pressure as human population expands into ancient migration and hunting grounds.

In 2020, Tanzania relocated 36 lions from the Serengeti after attacks on humans and cattle.

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