5 famous lions from popular culture

01/03/2021

Lions embody many positive traits such as strength, bravery, and a willingness to protect and provide for their pride.

As well as for trophies, big cats are also valuable for their bones, blood and other body parts which are exported to be used in traditional Asian medicine products.

Top image: iStock. by Getty Images

Here are five examples of famous lions you may have heard of:

1. Simba

As a young cub, Simba from The Lion King, longed to be a mighty ruler like his father Mufasa. But Simba was arrogant and soon fell for the schemes of his uncle Scar who wanted him out of the way so he could rule.

After his father’s death, Simba blamed himself. He only regained confidence after Nala and Rafiki urged him to take responsibility for his past and future.

As an adult, Simba returns to the Pride Lands and defeats Scar to assume his rightful position as King. And, like Mufasa before him, he proves to be a respected leader.

2. Kimba the White Lion

Kimba the White Lion is a 1960s anime character based on a Japanese manga (comic) magazine from the 1950s. Prophetically, for its time, Kimba believes there would be peace between animals and humans if only they understood each other better. 

He entered the human world to appreciate their culture, but he also learned that not all humans are kind to animals. Kimba incorporated what he learned there into jungle life by giving animals ideas on solving problems.

Kimba is a strong-willed and kind-hearted character. He stands up for his friends and what he believes in, even if that means sacrificing his own life.

3. Aslan

Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia is a noble leader. He stands for goodness and justice.

Aslan is the rightful King of Narnia. He rights all wrongs, including removing the White Witch from her terrible reign over Narnia. And yet, despite his great power, he remains kind and possesses a strong moral compass

When the children first meet Aslan, they’re drawn to him – all except Edmund who had already betrayed his siblings by siding with the White Witch.

But selflessly, and ironically, Aslan ends up sacrificing himself to save Edmund and the people of Narnia from her. Imagine such a leader in real life!

4. The Cowardly Lion

The scaredy-cat lion from The Wizard of Oz is a contradiction. As a lion, he should be King of the Forest, but instead of being courageous, he’s wracked with self-doubt.

What makes the lion such an appealing character is that, while it’s possible to lack heart or brains (like the Tinman and the Scarecrow), lacking courage is something most people have dealt with at some point. It makes us empathise with him.

As the story develops, the lion does a number of brave deeds and comes to realise that the courage he sought he had in him all along.

5. Cecil the Lion

And now for a real-life lion. A lion made famous around the world for all the wrong reasons. In 2015, an American dentist paid US$50,000 to shoot Cecil the lion, a national treasure in Zimbabwe.

Cecil, who was 13 years old, was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s famous Hwange National Park. He was also being studied by researchers at Oxford University.

Cecil was lured out of the national park and shot with a crossbow. He was tracked and found alive but injured 40 hours later when he was killed with a rifle.

As well as for trophies, big cats are also valuable for their bones, blood and other body parts which are exported to be used in traditional Asian medicine products.

It’s time to end this cruelty. Right now, lions in the real world need your help.

Share your voice for animals

Elephants Gee Chreng and Ning Wan at Elephant Valley Project.

We are always looking for people to share their experiences, by speaking with the media to help us raise awareness of how we can protect wild and farmed...