Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Askari, of the Marsh Pride rests up with the two male cubs named Moja and Solo. Male lions are imposing creatures, courageous warriors who must fight to establish themselves as pride males and earn the right to breed. Lion society is ruled by the threat of violence that enables such well armed predators to reduce serious conflict that might result in serious injury or death. The younger members of the pride such as Moja and Solo, seen here at 5 months of age, learn by experience what it means to be a member of a pride, reinforcing membership by bonding with their pride mates through rubbing heads and grooming. Cubs love to rest up sprawled together within the security of their territory, reassured by the presence of the adults and in particular the pride males. Askari was unusually tolerant around the cubs, seeming to enjoy being greeted and having the cubs play around his mane, mouthing them at times and reaching out with a massive forepaw to push them away or to encourage them to come closer.
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