Lion

SPECIES PROFILE

Name: the lion (Panthera leo) is one of five species in the genus Panthera – the others being tigers, leopards, jaguars, and snow leopards. Collectively this group are known as the ‘big cats’.

Appearance: lions are powerful cats, with round heads and tufts at the ends of their tails. Males are easily recognisable by their spectacular manes – although not all lions have them.

Size: they are the biggest cats after tigers. Males can reach up to 3 metres long and weigh more than 200 kg. Females are typically smaller.

Diet: lions are social animals, living and hunting in groups called ‘prides’. It is usually the females who do the hunting – targeting a range of prey including wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, and giraffe.

Did you know: lions are one of the most widely recognised symbols in human culture and have been depicted in sculptures, paintings, flags, films, and literature for thousands of years. Paintings of lions have been found in the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves in France dated to 17,000 years ago – and depictions of lions have occurred in virtually all ancient and medieval cultures that coincided with their range. Human hunting of lions has also occurred since ancient times. The earliest surviving record is an ancient Egyptian inscription dated around 1,400 BC which tells of Pharaoh Amenhotep III killing over 100 lions during the first ten years of his rule. More recently, the hunting of lions has been met with controversy – with the killing of Cecil the lion in 2015 causing global outrage.

Location: lions live in grasslands and savannas. Formerly, they ranged throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America but today they have been reduced to populations in Sub-Saharan Africa and one critically endangered population in western India.

Where TO SEE lions

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see lions at the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Maasai Mara
Kenya
100%
very high
5.0
very good
5
reports
Kruger
South Africa
100%
very high
5.0
very good
1
reports
Amboseli
Kenya
50%
average
5.0
very good
2
reports
Tsavo
Kenya
0%
very low
5.0
very good
1
reports

Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay 

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