A Naturalist Perspective Reflection on the Film The Lion King
The Lion King is an ideal film to watch for students studying the natural sciences. It features the application of several concepts that are tackled in the classroom, particularly the relationship between different organisms and their environment.
The film presented the nature of the strongest consumer and predator nest to the man in the Kingdom Animalia – the lion. In the film, it was portrayed by Simba, the heir of Mufasa, as the king of Pride Rock. The lion is considered as the chief in its habitat because aside from its large size, thundering roars, and royal appearance, it is apparently the most physically powerful among all the other organisms. Hence, Simba inherited the whole kingdom of Pride Rock, covering “everything the light touches.”
The Lion King showed the good-natured Simba as sociable in nature, befriending other organisms as Pumba and Timon, and demonstrating kindness to those who deserve it. In actual life scenario, however, lions are only companionable to their fellow species, specifically, the members of their group which is called the pride. The film showed this unit as comprising a family as that of Simba and his friend Nala. For the reason that male lions wander until they are fully grown, challenging some pride males from another territory and taking over that area once they win, in reality, lionesses dominate a pride.
Living a sedentary existence by settling in a specific area where food and water are abundant, lions take the lives of weaker animals that belong to a different group, such as the antelopes, zebras, and buffaloes as demonstrated in the film. After feasting on a sumptuous meal, these carnivores relax for several hours after which they return to their innate hunting lifestyle.
Another concept presented in the film is that of the tropical grassland or the savannah. Pride Rock, which is the location of the film, is an example of this dry and grassy plain. The film showed this type of biome which is tropical in nature and is much drier than tropical rainforests. Specifically dominant in the African continent, rainfall in savannahs is very seasonal and is usually followed by long periods of drought. This nature makes them sparsely populated by trees which only grow where there are deep cracks in the surface or deep soil, permitting contact with the water underneath. Palm trees, fruit-bearing trees, and an extensive cover of grasses are present as the producers. They provide food for the animal inhabitants, which in the film are the lions, antelopes, and zebras. The conflagrations which broke out in the film naturally occur in actual life scenario. This phenomenon maintains plant-life and stimulates the growth of grasses.
The concept of the savannah debunks the usual reference to lions as “Kings of the jungle” since these robust meat-eaters do not prefer to live in jungles but rather in the open woodlands where trees are not plentiful. The Lion King proves the fact that lions are inclined to live in savannahs because they appreciate the cool climate. Above all, running behind and catching their prey is less difficult for them because of their brownish yellow coat which enables them to be camouflaged in dead grasses which are similar with their color. (Sheena Ricarte, Natural Science 13 class, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, 2004).