They don't call him "King of the Jungle" for nothing.
Lions are endangered because humans are steadily reducing their habitat and their hunting grounds.
But in the parts of Africa that remain wild, lions rule. Their roars at night can be heard for miles and other animals scatter when a pride of lions is around.
I know because I've had a close encounter with a lion. Too close for comfort.
I was fishing with a friend on the Zambezi River at Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park. Mana Pools is famous for its abundance of wildlife including elephants, hippos, rhinos, crocodiles and, of course, lions.
Looking for a good fishing spot, we hiked up a ridge that had a great vantage point to see the sweep of the river below. We followed a path through some bushes to a little opening, with lots of grasses tamped down.
"Pew," said my friend. "That stinks like meat eaters shit." And we saw some piles of feces. And some bones.
We were in a lion's lair.
We went down to the Zambezi and started to fish, catching some Tilapia and one of the prized Tiger Fish.
We looked back at the ridge and saw a lion sitting there. I looked through the binoculars. He was looking right at us.
"I hope he's not hungry," I said.
He was sitting right on the path back to our campsite.
We stopped fishing and decided to hike along the river to take a much longer, but safer, route back to the campground. I kept looking at the lion and he kept looking at us.
Apparently he was not hungry. We got back to the campsite just as it was starting to get dark. That night when we heard the deep, somehow hollow sound, of a lion's roar, I got the shivers.
Now, just for fun, take a look at Mr Big. He is a lion with attitude. Imagine coming across him in the wild!
Joel gets up close and personal with “Mr. Big,” a lion who likes to express himself.