Your image of lions sprawled out on the golden planes of the Serengeti might make you think these big cats are lethargic; but, the Director of the Snapshot Serengeti project says his research proves otherwise. "I'd like to set the record straight: they're not really lazy, they're patient."
And Dir. Craig Packer told National Geographic his team is just as patient. They not only closely follow the movements of the prides, but they've also set up 225 cameras across Tanzania's Serengeti National Park - capturing over 1 million photos a year of these majestic creatures.
The Snapshot Serengeti project says their photo project has helped them understand why lions are social creatures. "All the other cats are solitary - militarily solitary - yet, lions do so many things that are at a group level." Packer goes on to explain to National Geographic that lions don't form a pride for hunting purposes, but for protecting their young.
While this has been theorized about lions for a while, the Snapshot Serengeti Project says it's much more complex than they ever realized. "The real reason that lions live in groups is the fact that they have access to very valuable territory that's often centered around key hot spots in the environment." By that, Packer means tributaries - where the prey is more abundant, and the big cats have access to food, water, and shelter.
But the Lions don't need just one hotspot. The researchers explain they need to acquire multiple spots, so they have the food and resources it takes to raise the cubs into adulthood - which takes about two years.
The researchers at the Snapshot Serengeti project have taught us that while these big cats might be patient enough to wait for the perfect time to hunt, they're driven to take control of the best land for the safety and future of their pride. Check out the video below where Dir. Craig Packer further explains his research in Tanzania.