Lions face their greatest fight for survival in gripping new BBC series

After wiping away the tears of sadness, and joy, from the Emperor penguin episode, the latest instalment of the BBC Dynasties series focuses on the Marsh Pride of lions.

Dynasties - episode three, Lion

Sunday's episode of Dynasties showed the Marsh Pride of Kenya's Masai Mara - one of the most famous lion prides in Africa.

It began with the pride in a unique situation in their lives.

They have been abandoned by all of the adult males who - until now - protected the pride. 

Just two adult females are left to provide and protect eight young lions.

Image courtesy of BBC

The survival of the whole family rests entirely on these two mothers, Charm and her cousin Sienna. 

They need to raise their cubs to adulthood if this great dynasty is to thrive. 

They and their cubs are faced with the challenges of the African savannah, including angry herds of buffalo, competing lion prides, the threat of marauding hyena and, in a fateful turn of events, a clash with humanity.

You can watch Dynasties on BBC One at 8pm on Sundays, or on iPlayer.

Did you know...

  • Lions can sleep for up to around 20 hours per day.

  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN), lions are classified as Vulnerable. There are 23,000–39,000 lions in the wild and their numbers are decreasing.

  • Lions are the most social cat species, and famously form prides composed of adult males and females, and their young.

  • Most lions are found in Africa, however, a population of around 350 exists in the Gir National Forest in India.
  • Lions are threatened by retaliatory killing, to protect livestock and humans. They are also threatened by habitat loss. 
  • Hunting is often carried out by the female lions from a pride, who will work together to take down large prey.

The number of lions in the wild is decreasing

  • Until recently, lions have been classed as two subpopulations: Panthera leo persica - Asian subpopulations and Panthera leo leo - African subpopulations. In 2017 the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN/ SSC Cat Specialist Group revised this to Panthera leo leo and Panthera leo melanochaita.

How you can become part of the solution...

If you were left enthralled by the latest episode of Dynasties then you may want to take your passion for animals and wildlife a little further.

At the University of Plymouth, we offer a wide range of courses tailored to making your future a successful and exciting one.

From animal welfare and behaviour to biological sciences and marine biology, zoo conservation biology as well as conservation biology, the University offers courses for everyone with a passion for animals, the science behind the welfare and film & television production.

Why not read about our alumni, who have already taken those steps to the career of their dreams, whether that's helping to conserve our vulnerable species, finding ways to protect their habitat or capturing the magic from behind a camera.

Coral Jonas

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Careers with zoo conservation biology

Our programme equips you with the skills needed to build a successful career in wildlife and conservation. 

The unique blend of zoo-based learning and academic teaching delivers vital knowledge and understanding needed to thrive in this competitive arena.

We’ll help you to develop the skills you need to work in conservation biology, consultancy and research

The blend of field, laboratory and transferable skills is designed to maximise your employment possibilities.

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Conservation biologists also work in fields as varied as environmental law, journalism and the media, ecotourism and environmental education. 

Our broad curriculum and emphasis on practical skills training mean you'll be equipped to work in a wide range of areas, either directly or with further postgraduate education. 

With climate change and conservation being ‘hot topics’ in the world media, the role of conservation biologists has been brought into the public eye, making this a highly competitive field for which highly skilled graduates are sought after and highly employable.

Find out more about some of our graduates and their current careers.