Male lions, known for their magnificent manes, are an African icon. It comes as no surprise that a few eyebrows were raised when our grantee Kope Lion spotted a male lion within Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater with no mane. It appeared that this lion had actually lost its mane somehow.
Kope Lion wasn’t sure who this lion was. They used its whisker spot pattern, a unique pattern similar to a human fingerprint, to identify the lion. They found out that the lion was Kalamas, a male lion they knew who resided within the crater.
Kope Lion is not sure why Kalamas lost his mane. They speculate that the hair loss could be from stress due to conflict with other lions. It could have also been caused by the stress of traveling between the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. It’s a mystery why he lost his mane, but his mane was able to grow back within a few months' time.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a critical site for lion conservation. It is also home to almost 10,000 people, many of whom rely exclusively on livestock for their livelihood. Increased human-lion conflict over the years has led to lions disappearing through much of their range in the NCA. Finding an adult male lion like Kalamas and being able to observe him helps Kope Lion understand the challenges that lions face in this area and mitigate human-lion conflict.