Lions, tigers, and leopards are believed to be terrible animals by humans, and they are right. The vast bulk of us will not even approach one. Despite their stunning appearance, these creatures are not the kind of animals’ humans should be around. We like admiring the beauty of these creatures from a safe distance, free of the worry of being attacked. However, some individuals are courageous enough to socialize with lions, tigers, and leopards regularly.
Armand and Beatrice Gerber are two of the bravest individuals I’ve ever known. The duo spends most of their time with some of the world’s most ferocious wildcats. They oversee South Africa’s Iron Throne Predator and Wildlife Park. It is a 200-acre refuge home to various species, including ten lions, two leopards, three tigers, and a cheetah. Their lives are enhanced because of their interaction with other rescued wild animals. Every sanctuary resident was born into slavery and has now found a permanent home in a tranquil atmosphere. These feral felines, like our domestic cats and dogs, like being pets. If someone gave you the chance to embrace a lion or a tiger, you would almost certainly say “no,” but Armand is not your ordinary person. He embraces and plays with these animals regularly, allowing them to connect with him throughout the day.
While Armand understands interacting with top predators involves a high level of risk, he continues to do so since he loves and trusts the animals he spends his days with. According to others, he is crazy and is testing his luck by embracing and playing with these enormous monster animals, which they see as deadly. On the other hand, Armand considers himself fortunate to have been allowed to work with and care for these animals. When interacting with lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs, he thinks it is critical to maintain concentration and respect and avoid making stupid errors. Additionally, this individual has been scratched and bitten by others. Despite his preference for leopards, he considers all wild felines to be part of his family.
They have no natural predators other than humans, who have hunted lions for millennia. They were formerly common across southern Europe and southern Asia, spreading eastward to northern and central India and the whole African continent. Europe’s last lion died between 80 and 100 AD. By 1884, the remaining lions in India were restricted to the Gir forest, where just a dozen survived. They became extinct in other areas of southern Asia, such as Iran and Iraq, soon after 1884. Gir lions have been protected since the beginning of the twentieth century, and their numbers have steadily increased over time; nevertheless, there are only around 20,000 left now.
Lions have been wiped off in Northern Africa. They are now extinct in 26 African countries and have lost almost 95 percent of their historic habitat. According to a recent study, lion numbers in Central and Western Africa declined between 1993 and 2015. The population of Southern Africa has either remained steady or increased at the same time. Lions can only be found in remote, deserted areas. Farming development and the spread of human settlements into ancient lion habitats are thought to be the causes of the lions’ extinction. On the other hand, the bushmeat trade has had a significant role in reducing the available food for lions.
Well-maintained national parks and wildlife reserves maybe the lion’s best hope for survival in the future.
The elephant and lion are the most often portrayed wild animals in Asian art and mythology. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, the continued use of tiger parts as talismans, tonics, or medicine reflects beliefs originating from the tiger’s aura and the awe it has inspired for millennia. Many animist cultures still revere the tiger. The 12th year of the Chinese calendar is the year of the tiger, and children born in this year are considered extremely lucky and powerful. The tiger is the goddess Durga’s vahana in Hindu mythology (“vehicle”). Tigers may be seen on the seals of the ancient Indus civilization. The greatest of ancient India’s Gupta rulers, Samudra produced one-of-a-kind gold coins depicting him slaughtering tigers. Tippu Sultan even bought a life-size doll of a tiger mauling a British soldier, replete with sound, to show his rage over his inability to defeat the British.
Despite being hunted for at least a thousand years, the world’s tiger population was estimated to be 100,000 at the start of the twentieth century. Tigers were prized for their skins, which were used to create expensive coats. They were also killed because they posed a danger to others. By the turn of the century, only 5,000 to 7,500 wild tigers were left, and captive tigers may already exceed wild tigers. Since then, the global tiger population has shrunk to about 3,200 individuals. South China tigers are the most endangered species, with just a few hundred left. The Malayan subspecies, which is thought to number about 500 people, was discovered to be genetically distinct from the Indo-Chinese subspecies in 2004. Each of the Siberian and Sumatran subspecies has less than 500 people, while the Indo-Chinese population is thought to be less than 300 people. Three subspecies have gone extinct in the past century: the Caspian of Central Asia, the Javan, and the Bali. Because of their intimate connection, tigers and lions may crossbreed in captivity. When a tiger is a father, the offspring are called tigons; when a lion is a sire, the offspring are called ligers.
A significant concern about the tiger’s declining population was expressed throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Gradually, all countries within the tiger’s territory took measures to conserve the species, although with varying degrees of success. While the tiger is now legally protected across its range, law enforcement efficacy varies.
Although poaching has contributed to the decrease of the tiger population over the past three decades, wild tigers would still be vulnerable even if all poaching ceased. Over the last two centuries, the demands of rapidly expanding human populations have reduced both the quantity and quality of habitat in India. The tiger’s preferred forests and meadows are destroyed to make room for agriculture. Reduced prey populations lead to increasing dependence on livestock and, therefore, man’s reaction.