Iconic lion known as ‘King of the Serengeti’, Bob Jr. killed by rival lions: report
National park enthusiasts in Africa are mourning their own lion king after he was killed by rival lions on Saturday, BBC News reported.
Nicknamed Bob Jr. or Snyggve, the lion was named after Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob Marley and is known as the King of the Serengeti.
He was likely killed by younger lions, BBC News reported.
For seven years he ruled Serengeti National Park with his brother Tryggve, local media reported.
The 12-year-old brothers won the hearts of many because of their photogenic nature.
Serengeti National Park has frequently shared photos of the lions on Instagram, calling them Kings and “The Lion Brothers”.
“Did you know that lion brothers peacefully share equal dominance, mating rights and pride protection duties with no bickering between them,” the park captioned a photo.
The Serengeti National Park is home to leopard, buffalo, elephant, rhino and of course the lion brothers, their mates and their offspring. Located in the northern part of Tanzania, the park’s lion population is believed to be over 3,000, reports show.
What happened to the lions?
Fredy Shirima, a Serengeti conservation officer, told BBC News that the rivals who killed Bob Jr wanted to overthrow him.
“These incidents usually happen when the head of a pride is getting old, or sometimes when the other male lions are unhappy with his control over a large territory,” he told the outlet. “It is believed that his brother also suffered the same fate, but we are trying to confirm this.”
He said the lions were killed at different times, but the killings appeared to be planned.
While the murder was sad news for fans, it was likely a natural and common occurrence in the animal kingdom.
“I think that’s perfectly normal and part of the life cycle where survival of the fittest reigns supreme,” Rob Marchant, a professor of tropical ecology at the University of York, told the Washington Post.
Social media users are reacting to the deaths
Upon hearing the news, social media users, conservationists and photographers took to the internet to offer their condolences.
“The Namiri Plains, ruled by Bob Jr. and Tryggve for the past 7 years, is now being claimed by new kings, and so the cycle of life out there in the wilderness continues as it has for the past thousands of years ago,” one Facebook user wrote.
“The worst news,” wrote another user on Facebook. “An incredible era of a line steeped in history is over.”
Saleen Martin is a reporter for USA TODAY’s NOW team. She hails from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757 – and loves everything to do with horror, witches, Christmas and food. Follow her on Twitter at @Saleen_Martin or email her at [email protected]
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bob Jr., Serengeti National Park Lion Killed by Rivals: Report