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'King of Serengeti' lion killed in attack by rivals

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A lion known as the "King of the Serengeti" has been killed by male rivals, leaving many who encountered the great cat in mourning.

Also known as "Snyggve" or "Bob Jr", the lion was filmed being fatally attacked by three younger lions in Tanzania on Saturday.

The regal beast did not appear to put up a fight, and was slowly worn down by repeated maulings.

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"Many have travelled long distances to catch a glimpse of the legendary lion with a distinctive and luxuriant black mane," a safari travel company, Asilia Africa, posted on Instagram.

The post described Bob Jr as "one of Africa's most iconic lions" and "particularly familiar among camp staff and guests of Namiri Plains", where he and his pride frequently roamed.

"They wanted to overthrow Bob Junior," Serengeti conservation officer Fredy Shirima told the BBC, discussing the attack.

"These incidents normally happen when the head of a pride becomes old or sometimes when the other male lions are not happy with his control over a large territory," he said.

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Bob Jr reigned over large swathes of the eastern Serengeti with his brother Tryggve, who was killed in a separate but apparently coordinated attack, Shirima said.

Some kind of burial will be planned by wildlife officials.

Bob Jr is believed to have been around 10 years old, and was given his name because of his father, Bob Marley.

There are an estimated 3000 lions in Serengeti are divided into 300 prides.

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Each pride usually consists of at least two dozen lions, depending on how much food and water is available.

An adult male lion, if he's lucky and durable, might live to "the advanced age" of 12 in the wild, the National Geographic says.

Adult females can live longer, sometimes to almost 20.

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