Iconic Lion Known as 'King of Serengeti' Dies at 12

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National park enthusiasts in Africa are mourning the loss of their very own lion king after he was killed by rival lions on Saturday, BBC News reported.

A lion named Bob Junior, who was known as the "King of the Serengeti," was killed by rival lions on Saturday, CBS News partner network BBC News reported.

Fredy Shirima, a Serengeti conservation officer, told BBC News that the rivals who killed Bob Jr. wanted to overthrow him.

 The fearsome big cat, also known as Snyggve, had dominated his territory for seven years alongside his brother, Tryggve, who is also presumed dead.

The lion, called Bob Jr. or Snyggve, was named after Jamaican singer and songwriter Bob Marley and known as the king of the Serengeti. 

"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," Fredy Shirima, a Serengeti conservation officer, told the BBC.

The Serengeti is home to approximately 3,000 lions. National Georgraphic reports adult males can up to around 12 years.

According to wildlife researchers, African wild lions can live up to 18 years. Their population in the continent has dropped by 43% in the last two decades to 20,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

For seven years, he ruled Serengeti National Park with his brother Tryggve, local media reported.

The 12-year-old brothers captured the hearts of many because of their photogenic nature.

Serengeti National Park frequently shared photos of the lions on Instagram, referring to them as kings and "The Lion Brothers."

"Did you know lion brothers peacefully share equal dominance, mating rights and pride protection duties with no infighting among them," the park captioned one photo.

Serengeti National Park is home to leopards, buffalo, elephants, rhinos and of course, the lion brothers, their mates, and their offspring. It is located in the northern part of Tanzania and the park's lion population is said to be over 3,000, reports show.

While the killing was sad news to fans, it likely was a natural and common occurrence in the animal kingdom.

“I think this is entirely normal and part of the cycle of life, where the survival of the fittest reigns,” Rob Marchant, a professor of tropical ecology at the University of York, told The Washington Post.

Upon hearing the news, social media users, wildlife conservationists and photographers took to the web to offer condolences.