Today is World Lion Day, a chance to celebrate these iconic big cats, raise awareness about the need to protect them, and an excuse to belt out the Lion King soundtrack until your neighbours complain. Sadly, things are not all hakuna matata for these apex predators. Lion population numbers in Africa have halved in the last 25 years and they have lost over 95% of their historic range. 

To showcase what we stand to lose if we do not protect these special cats, we've put together a collection of lion clips from the last year or so.

Lions vs hippo

Lions may be the rulers of the plains, but in the water hippos have the upper hand (or hoof as it were). While attempting to paddle across a deep waterway in Botswana's Selinda Concession a lion found itself in a high-stakes tussle with a hippo that didn't take kindly to the cat entering its territory. More here.

Crocodile Hunters

Buffalos, fellow felines, and even elephants have been victims of lions' unfussy palates on occasion. And crocodiles are not safe either. A recent video from South Africa's Entabeni Game Reserve shows a pride of lions launching a collective strike on a croc that was no doubt wishing it hadn't left the relative safety of the water. The big cats did not succeed in dispatching the resilient reptile, but practice makes perfect. More here.

Lucky Escape

In another reminder that lions will target just about anything that moves, a lone lioness was filmed stalking a normally nocturnal brown hyena in broad daylight. Hyenas aren't typical prey for lions, but the big cats will readily stalk and even kill hyenas, either opportunistically or in a concerted effort to eliminate any predatory competition. This particular lioness is around five or six years old and is a loner, unattached to any particular pride. It's unclear what her intentions were when approaching the hyena, but it's possible her behaviour was a mixture of curiosity, playfulness and an actual eagerness to dispatch the rival predator. More here.

Cave lion cub

Close cousins of the modern African lion, cave lions (which probably didn't actually live in caves) roamed across Europe and Asia during the colder times of the Pleistocene Epoch, before going extinct around 14,000 years ago. Last year, researchers gave us a glimpse back in time when they unveiled a nearly 28,000-year-old female cave lion complete with whiskers and razor-sharp claws still intact! More here.

Lions vs Buffalo

Our list would hardly be complete if we did not include at least one video of lions taking on their most renowned, age-old rivals, Cape buffalos. Only the hardiest of predators dare take up the challenge of targeting these formidable megaherbivores, and when they do they must often deal with retaliation from the rest of the herd. Such was the case recently when a pride of lions in South Africa's MalaMala Game Reserve descended on a struggling male buffalo, but were quickly chased off by the bull's herd-mates. More here.