POV: If A Lion Bit You, Here's What You'd See

Open wide!

When curious lions pick up a GoPro, we get an up-close look inside their mouths, and can even learn something about their health status.

Christof Schoeman, a professional field guide for Tintswalo Safari Lodge in South Africa, plants GoPros in areas with high animal traffic to collect video of their behavior. Sometimes, animals like the adult lionesses in this video get curious when they spot the camera.

The footage was taken in 2014 at Timbavati Game Reserve, which borders the Greater Kruger National Park. The first lioness is about four to five years old and the second may be a year or two older, according to National Geographic explorers who viewed the footage.

Read more about these curious big cats and what we can learn from the close-up footage.

In September 2014, a white lion cub was spotted in Singita Kruger National Park. While hundreds of these animals exist in captivity, only 13 remain in the wild, making the sighting rare. Black Bean Productions set out to capture footage of these remarkable big cats, whose coloration is not albinism but is caused by a less severe mutation.

Read a Q&A with the filmmaker.

This video is presented from our Short Film Showcase. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic. See more from National Geographic's Short Film Showcase.

In the Harenna Forest of Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia, National Geographic Explorer and University of Utah biology professor Çağan Şekercioğlu was doing mammal road surveys when he had a very rare encounter with one of the park’s famous black-maned male lions. There are believed to be only around 50 lions left in the park. The distinct features found in Ethiopian lions in the wild make them of particular interest to lion geneticists. With dwindling numbers, their conservation is of great concern.

Learn more about the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, a global initiative that supports scientists and conservationists working to save big cats in the wild.

Read "Very Rare Black-Maned Ethiopian Lion Caught on Video."

Join 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer Thandiwe Mweetwa on a mission to track down lions. This carnivore conservationist has dedicated her life to preserving Africa’s disappearing lion population through scientific research, animal rescue, and community outreach.

While researching lions in Zambia, biologist Thandiwe Mweetwa noticed that lionesses within a pride will all have cubs around the same time. When she looked into it further, Mweetwa learned lionesses sync their fertility cycles so that they can all raise their young together.

There's a reason for that. “Synchronized estrus is thought to increase reproductive success in the pride,” says Mweetwa, a National Geographic emerging explorer. Having cubs at the same time means that mother lions can rely on each other to nurse, babysit, and protect the youngsters.

This safety in numbers also allows more lions to survive to adulthood. Predation is a great threat to small, vulnerable babies in any species, but if all babies are born at the same time, there are only so many that predators can eat.

If young are born at different times throughout the year, predators could use them as a steady source of food.

Even so, many still die: More than half of all African lion cubs don’t make it past their first year. They're at risk from predation, disease, abandonment, starvation, and being killed by an outside male.

On the African savannah, nothing goes to waste—especially food. After this lion was done enjoying its kill, the scavengers arrived. Hyenas chased off the smaller jackals, fighting amongst themselves for the prize. Attracted by the noise, the lion returns to scare away the hyenas. Having already eaten the nurtient-rich organs like the liver and heart, the lion is no longer interested in the scraps.

Journey to India, where rural communities are working with the government to create a haven for the last remaining Asiatic lions in the wild. These majestic creatures once roamed a range stretching from the Middle East to Asia. Today, fewer than 500 survive. Filmmaker Roshan Patel documents the proud efforts of local people to protect this critically endangered species.

This video is presented from our Short Film Showcase. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic. See more from National Geographic's Short Film Showcase.

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