About the Author

Dean de la Rey


Dean grew up in Johannesburg and it was from his very first trip to the bush trip at the age of two that he was captivated by this environment (he claims he can remember that far back!). He attended school in Pretoria, thereafter ...

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on Why do Male Lions Have Manes?

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Interesting blog Dean. I can not imagine a male lion without it’s mane. In the Kalahari lions with dark mane are called black maned Kalahari lions. Some believe or assume they are a different lion species or have different genes to our lions. It is actually all the same species, although I do not know why they are darker. There is probably a scientific explanation that I have not come across yet.

Kate Doyle

That is a great shot of the three Birmingham males!!

Kate Doyle

That is a great shot of the three Birmingham males!!

Ian Hall
Digital Tracker

What a good article, I remember seeing an almost white male with an almost white /blonde mane in the Mara but suspect this is quite rare.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

All food for thought…. since male lions grow manes to supposedly lure females for mating purposes, in addition to showing who’s in charge of his territory, it’s curious that the same mane does not exist within the remaining feline species, namely leopards and cheetahs. For the latter, it can be difficult to sex the individuals unless they’re side by side – usually males are larger. Since they scent mark, perhaps that also can deter interlopers. Needless to say it’s all fascinating.

I saw and photographed the female with full mane while spending time in Mombo Camp several years. He/she was enjoying a lazy afternoon with other pride members. Curiously, would a cat like that have an opportunity to mate? Or would her hormones be compromised?! The natural world of animals never ceases to amaze me!!

Wendy Macnicol
Senior Digital Ranger

Hi Dean. Very interesting article and some super pics as well. Thank you very much. I am particularly impressed with the pic of 2 of the Birminghams have a scrap over mating with the Sparta lioness. Huge amount of power there! Also – the impressive line up of 3 of them – looking very determined …. Thanks again. Wendy M

Joan Schmiidt
Senior Digital Ranger

Dean – Great article – I love the photo of the 3 Birmingham males. I only saw one on last trip to Londolozi in 2018.

Bob & Lucie Fjeldstad
Senior Digital Ranger

Interesting final thought Dean, since your mane seems intact. Mine not so much, but then fortunately for me I found the lioness of my life when my mane was still in tact!!!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Very interesting post!!

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