Kingdom: | AnimaliaPhylum: | ChordataClass: | MammaliaOrder: | CarnivoraFamily: | FelidaeGenus: | PantheraSpecies: | leo

Lions room at the peak of the food chain, through no natural predators. They room often shown in stories and films as majestic and also strong. Simba, the Swahili word because that lion, means “king,” “strong,” and also “aggressive.” Similarly, in English, to explain someone together “lionhearted” way that they are courageous and brave.

While lions room large, powerful cats, your numbers have decreased dramatically in current years. Afri lion numbers have actually plummeted by end 40% in the last three generations, greatly as a an outcome of habitat loss and conflicts with humans.

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Size and Weight:

Male lions room much larger than females. The length of a mrs is typically between 4.6 and also 5.7 feet, if the size of a male is between 5.6 and 8.3 feet. Your tail length is 27 come 41 inches. Female lions weigh 270 come 400 pounds, if males weigh 330 come 570 pounds.



Lions are recognized for muscular, deep-chested bodies. They have short, rounded heads, ring ears, and hairy tufts in ~ the finish of their tails. Your appearance differs from the of other big cats, such together tigers, leopards and also jaguars.

Notably, masculine lions have actually a mane of hair around their neck. The mane’s color, size and also abundance count on the individual and also its age. The mane not just helps the lion look an ext impressive to females yet also more intimidating to other males. The lion’s mane may also protect the lion’s neck during a battle, generally with various other males end territory and breeding rights.



Lions space carnivores. They room apex predators, an interpretation that they room at the height of the food chain with no natural predators. Castle hunt pets in their neighboring habitat, which typically includes antelopes and also other hoofed animals. Castle may additionally hunt elephants, rhinos, rodents, reptiles, insects and even crocodiles. They likewise scavenge or steal food from leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, or wild dogs.

Lions generally hunt at night in ~ dusk or dawn. Mrs lions, or lionesses, frequently do lot of the hunting. When chasing prey, a lion deserve to run the size of a football ar in six seconds.



Lions’ habitats incorporate open woodlands, thick grassland, and brush habitat, whereby there is enough cover because that hunting and denning.


Lions have the right to be found throughout african grasslands. There is also the subspecies of asian lions, which provided to be discovered from the middle East across to India. However, there are currently only about 400 come 460 the this lion subspecies left, with much more than half living in a reserve dubbed the Gir Forest. This area is currently under national protection through the Indian government.



After a four-month gestation period, a lioness will sneak far from the pride to give birth to a litter of two to 6 cubs. The cubs are about 3 pounds in ~ birth with a yellowish-brown coat and also distinct clues or stripes. Cubs remain covert from the pride because that the first four to six weeks while they get strength. Cubs born in a pride room twice as most likely to make it through than a lioness on her own.

The cubs stay close come their mom for the first few months. They are at some point weaned by the age of six months. Females often tend to continue to be with your mothers longer than males. Males will generally stay with their mommy until lock two, if females might stay through their mother in the pride for life. The sub-adult male will certainly be chased the end of the proud by his mommy when he will certainly then be out on his own or join a bachelor group. A bachelor team will run with each other until castle are large enough come start difficult older males in an attempt to take over a pride.


Social Structure:

Lions are the many social of huge cats and also live in large groups called “prides.” Prides consist of 3 come 30 lions, depending on the location. Areas with better food accessibility will likely have actually larger prides. Prides are consisted of of lionesses, their cubs and also a couple of unrelated males. The members the the pride have close society bonds, and also they are unlikely to expropriate a stranger. Both males and females scent note to specify their territory.

The proud participates in tasks together, including hunting, increasing the cubs and grooming. Males and also females have various roles in the pride. If females occupational together come hunt and care for the cubs, males mark and guard the pride’s territory. Males will guard the cubs while the lionesses room out hunting. When a new male tries to sign up with a pride, he has to fight the currently males. The brand-new male is either propelled off or succeeds in pushing the end the existing males.

Lions spend a good deal of your time resting and also sleeping. Lions have quick bursts of intense task followed by hrs of lounging, which can full up to 21 hours. Lock are great climbers and will regularly rest in trees.


Lions live around 15 years in the wild and also up come 30 year in zoos.



Habitat loss, problems with humans and the illegal wildlife trade room the biggest threats come lions. Together a result of human expansion, afri lions are currently living on just 8% the the land they once occupied. This loss of habitat has led to little and secluded prides that have actually a more difficult time breeding. That has also reduced the quantity of obtainable prey.

As human activity expands right into lion territory, there has become an increase in lion-human conflict. Lions will certainly eat person livestock as soon as their common prey is no much longer available, leading to farmer retaliation. Farmers might kill a lion to protect their livestock. The illegal wildlife trade is another significant threat come lions. Lion skeleton are increasing in demand, together they may be used to replace tiger skeletal in traditional eastern medicine.

Conservation Status:

Three-quarters of afri lion populations are in decline. Through only around 20,000 in the wild, lions are provided as breakable by IUCN’s Red List.


Conservation Efforts:

Conservation teams are functioning to safeguard lions. San Diego Zoo an international supports lion conservation by giving funds come two institutions in Africa that work to help lions and other wildlife: the northern Rangelands to trust (NRT) and also the Grevy’s Zebra Trust.

NRT works to defend wildlife in number of ways, consisting of anti-poaching operations, habitat management, increasing conservation awareness and also endangered species recovery programs. Castle are additionally monitoring wildlife populations and also mitigating human-wildlife conflict. The NRT wildlife team has been collecting data ~ above lions because 2013.

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How You can Help:

Adopt a Lion: embrace the Eneiskiria pride of lions through the people Wildlife structure (WWF) and also become a part of the systems to help protect lions in the Mara.

Support conservation groups choose WWF and also San Diego Zoo worldwide with their efforts to protect lions.