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Taxonomy (SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION)
CLASS: Mammalia (Mammals)
ORDER: Carnivora (Carnivores)
FAMILY: Felidae (Cats)
GENUS/SPECIES: Panthera leo
Barbary Lion- Panthera leo leo
West African Lion- Panthera leo senegalensis
Congo Lion- Panthera leo azandica
Southwest African Lion- Panthera leo bleyenberghi
Masai Lion- Panthera leo nubica
Transvaal Lion- Panthera leo krugeri
Ethiopian Lion- Panthera leo roosevelti
Asiatic Lion- Panthera leo persica
LIFE SPAN: Lions normally live 15 years in the wild, and can live up to 30 years in captivity
HABITAT: Although called “the king of the jungle”, African Lions actually live in the grasslands, scrub, and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. Asiatic Lions live in the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian state of Gujara.
DIET: Lions are carnivores (meat eaters) who primarily eat antelopes, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, wild hogs, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, and young elephants. They also sometimes eat smaller animals like mice, hares, tortoises, lizards, and birds. While Lions normally hunt their own prey, they sometimes steal kills from other carnivores like hyenas, cheetahs, and leopards. Lions, on occasion, even scavenge for spoiled meat.
African Lion 33Kansas City Zoo in Kansas City, Missouri
A male lion is called a lion
A female lion is called a lioness
A young lion is called a cub
A group of lions is called a pride
Lions are the second largest cats in the world. They are second only to tigers, who are closely related to lions and have a similar body type to them.
Both male and female lions can roar. Their roar is so powerful that it can be heard up to 5 miles away
Lions, unlike other cats, are highly social animals. They live in groups (called prides) of approximately 30 lions.
Male and female lions play distinct roles in the pride. Male lions are the guardians of their territory and their cubs. Female lions are the primary hunters of the pride.
Lions typically hunt at night and rest during the day. Spending between 16 to 20 hours at rest each day, lions are the laziest of all the big cats.
African Lion 3Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas
African Lions are considered Vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. This means that African Lions are likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening their survival improve.
Asiatic Lions are considered Endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. This means that they are in danger of becoming extinct.
The existence of Lions in both Africa and Asia is threatened by many factors such as hunting by humans, loss of habitat, and disease. Many conservationists are concerned about the population of Lions in the wild. It is estimated that only 6,000 to 10,000 African Lions remain in the wild, and less than 600 Asiatic Lions are thought to remain in the wild.
African Lion 7Rolling Hills Zoo in Salina, Kansas
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP LIONS?
Educate yourself about Lions and their circumstances by reviewing the materials presented below in the Resources section and other materials you may be able to find on your own.
Post messages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and send emails to your family and friends expressing your concern for the plight of the Lions and encouraging them to become involved as well.
Write letters to your elected officials in Washington DC and to leaders in nations where Lions live explaining why the conservation of Lions is important to you and encouraging these officials to work to help keep Lions from ever becoming extinct in the wild.
Help to improve the environment around you and around the world by working to reduce, recycle, and reuse. This will help eliminate waste and will greatly improve the world in which we all live.
And when you shop at Joe’s Cowtown Photos, you can designate Lion-centric programs and initiatives such as National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, Panthera’s Project Leonardo, and the World Wildlife Fund’s Adopt a Lion Program as the beneficiary of the charitable portion of your purchase. (For more information on Joe’s Cowtown Photos charitable giving program, Cowtown Photos Cares!, click here!)
African Lion 15Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kansas
National Geographic’s Lion Page
World Wildlife Fund’s Lion Page
African Wildlife Foundation’s Lion Page
Animal Time’s Types of Lions Page
World Atlas’ Types of Lions Page
Panthera’s Project Leonardo Page
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species Lion Page
Infoplease Animal Names: Male, Female, and Young
The United States House of Representatives Page
The information provided in this Animal Info page was compiled by Joe Hoffman (St. Pius X Elementary School Class of 1986 and Founder/Owner of Joe’s Cowtown Photos) and was proof-read and edited by Anita Striegel (Retired 8th Grade Teacher from St. Pius X Elementary School, Joe’s former teacher!)
To access the Animal Info main page, click here!