These Lionesses Have Grown Manes And Are Now Acting Like Males
These lionesses have grown manes and are now acting like males in what is turning out to be one of the most surprising phenomena in the animal kingdom. These lionesses from Botswana have grown manes and are showing more and more masculine traits. The 5 lionesses with manes from a pride in Mombo have even developed deeper voices, similar to the ones of lions.
A lion’s mane is considered a symbol of virility and strength and the bigger the mane, the bigger the chances of finding a suitable partner during mating season. The mane also works as a mechanism to scare of other animals, making the lion appear to be much bigger in size.
— Simon Dures (@SimonDures) May 16, 2014
Luke Hunter, President of Big Cat Protection Agency Panthera, explains why these 5 lionesses from Botswana have grown manes:
The genetic contribution of the sperm – which determines the sex of the fetus in most mammals – was probably aberrant, giving rise to a female with some male characteristics
Geoffrey D. Gilfillan, researcher at the University of Sussex, has been observing the group of lions in Botswana’s Mermi Game Reserve, their present habitat. Out of the 5 felines, Geoffrey D. Gilfillan has been studying one of them in particular. He named her SaF05 and for the past two years this lioness is the one that caught his attention the most.
While SaF05 is mostly female in her behaviour – staying with the pride, mating males – she also has some male behaviours, such as increased scent-marking and roaring, as well as mounting other females.
A similar situation occurred at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in 2011 when Emma, a lioness, started growing a mane. After several tests were carried out, it was discovered that the feline had ovary problems which triggered a rise in her testosterone levels. Her ovaries were removed and her behavior returned to normal and she had no problem returning to her pride.