Scientific name: Panthera leo
It’s the second biggest feline, after the tiger, and thus the biggest carnivore in Africa.
The lion is a social animal: it lives in large familial groups, unlike other felines. The young males stay in the group about two or three years, until they attain their sexual maturity. They are then driven out by the dominant lion. Females, on the other hand, generally reproduce and spend all of their life in the group they are born into. This avoids inbreeding.
A female lion is a lioness. She is responsible for hunting. The male lion doesn’t hunt, but he is responsible for fighting intruders on the territory, and other threats against the pride.
Did you know?
The females are faster than the males
Lionesses are faster than the males and can attain a maximum speed of almost 60 km/h. However, this speed can only be maintained for short distances. With their strong muscles and long length, these felines can achieve remarkable jumps, up to 3.70 metres high and 11 metres long!
- Weight: up to nearly 200 kg
- Diet: with canines up to 6 cm long, they eat 7 kg of meat per day
- Leisure: 20 h of inactivity per day
- Life expectancy: 12 years for males, up to 20 for females, and over 30 years in captivity!
Keep up hope
A worldwide approach
The future of these big cats seems to be more promising in the last few years, in some of the big reserves in South Africa and the East. In Asia, the Indian government implemented a project for the reintroduction of the lion in the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in 2000. Let's hope this action produces some results.