The Lion King paints a lovely story of a lion cub, his family, and his adventures. While it is a great story, it is just that, a story. In reality the dynamics within (and the structure of) the lion pride is very different.
In real lion prides it is the females that run the show, for genetic reasons. The prides are mostly made up of related moms, aunts, sisters and babies. The females work together to find food and take care of the young, ensuring the survival of their genes into the next generation.
Male lions, however, leave the pride at a young age, and spend their adult lives moving between prides, breeding with females along the way to spread their genes. Females are selective about which males they are wiling to breed with though, and prefer males with large dark manes. Dark manes are actually a burden for the males; it makes them hotter than a pale mane, but it indicates to females they are strong and will produce fit offspring.
If, like in the movie, Simba did indeed return to his pride, he would have been returning to a pride made entirely of females that he was related to. In order to spread his genes, and ensure his offspring are fit and healthy, he would have been better off wandering until he found a new pride to join, although that may not have been as poetic.
Source: National Geographic
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