Lions

Panthera Leo

Introducing The Lion

Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. Prides are family units that may include up to three males, a dozen or so females, and their young. All of a pride's lionesses are related, and female cubs typically stay with the group as they age. Young males eventually leave and establish their own prides by taking over a group headed by another male.

Physical appearance:

The body is very muscular, with less bone mass than other animals of comparable size. This is also responsible for the grace of movement we associate with members of the cat family. The forebody of the lion is very powerfully built, and has the greatest forebody strength of any cat, except possibly the tiger. This enables the lion to deliver blows with it's forepaws heavy enough to break a zebra's back.


Size, weight, and life span of a lion

Size: Head and body, 4.5 to 6.5 ft (1.4 to 2 m); Tail, 26.25 to 39.5 in (67 to 100 cm)

Weight:
265 to 420 lbs (120 to 191 kg)

Life span:
Average life span of a lion is not very long but it depends on its habitat. On the average, the life span of a lion ranges about 14 to 15 years. A lion can live for more than 15 to 20 years in captivity while in wild; it lives for 10 to 14 years. It also noted that male lions live for only 10 years in wild while female lions live longer. There are several reasons of short life of male lions in the wild, which predominantly includes fighting with other lions and other animals to protect its clan. It is the reason that lioness (female lions) are greater in number than males and they hunt together by forming groups. Lions of different species living in different regions do not have any major differences in age. The life span of lions even on different geographical locations is almost similar.


Diet time and behavior of a lion

Cooperative hunting enables lions to take prey as large as wildebeests, zebras, buffaloes, young elephants, rhinos, hippos and giraffes, any of which can provide several meals for the pride. Mice, lizards, tortoises, warthogs, antelopes and even crocodiles also form part of a lion's diet. Because they often take over kills made by hyenas, cheetahs and leopards, scavenged food provides more than 50 percent of their diets in areas like the Serengeti plains.

Behavior:

Females do 85 to 90 percent of the pride's hunting, while the males patrol the territory and protect the pride, for which they take the "lion's share" of the females' prey. When resting, lions seem to enjoy good fellowship with lots of touching, head rubbing, licking and purring. But when it comes to food, each lion looks out for itself. Squabbling and fighting are common, with adult males usually eating first, followed by the females and then the cubs. Lions are the laziest of the big cats. They usually spend 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting, devoting the remaining hours to hunting, courting or protecting their territory. They keep in contact with one another by roaring loud enough to be heard up to five miles away.


Lions left in the world and their habitat

Today, the most recent surveys estimate that there are fewer than 30,000 lions living in the wild in Africa today. They are extinct in 26 countries.

Habitat:

Lions are found in savannas, grasslands, dense bush and woodlands.



Conservation status and laws in place today!

The IUCN states “A species population reduction of approximately 30% is suspected over the past two decades.

Laws:

  • Defending and strengthening the Endangered Species Act, which provides an essential legal safety net to prevent the loss of plant and animal species to extinction.

  • Holding federal agencies and others accountable for complying with laws protecting rare and endangered species using cooperation, persuasion, and--where necessary--litigation.

  • Advocating for increased funding for private landowner incentives and other conservation programs that benefit endangered species.

  • Protecting and restoring the habitats on which endangered species and other wildlife depend for their survival, and encouraging wildlife-friendly land management practices.

  • Reducing threats to wildlife that can lead to their endangerment and extinction, such as loss of habitat, contamination of water and spread of invasive species.



Help the Lions

  • One of the most important ways to help threatened plants and animals survive is to protect their habitats permanently in national parks, nature reserves or wilderness areas. There they can live without too much interference from humans. It is also important to protect habitats outside reserves such as on farms and along roadsides.
  • You can visit a nearby national park or nature reserve. Some national parks have special guided tours and walks for kids. Talk to the rangers to find out whether there are any threatened species and how they are being protected. You and your friends might be able to help the rangers in their conservation work.
  • When you visit a national park, make sure you obey the wildlife code: follow fire regulations; leave your pets at home; leave flowers, birds’ eggs, logs and bush rocks where you find them; put your rubbish in a bin or, better still, take it home.


African lions need all the help they can get if they are to survive.