Does the West African Loewe Maehnen

A king loses his kingdom

Species profile for the lion

Their imposing stature and proverbial strength gave them the title “King of the Animals”. The loss of their habitats, conflicts with humans and poaching have made lions an endangered species.

Male lions have a characteristic mane. - Photo: Craig Packer

The lion has lost 85 percent of its former range and has disappeared from more than 26 countries in which it was once found. Today there are fewer than 30,000 lions in Africa.

Type: Lion (Panthera leo)
Subspecies: African lion (Panthera leo leo), Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica)
Size: 1.6-2.5 meters long (excluding the tail), shoulder height 1.1-1.2 meters, males are larger than females
Weight: 122 - 240 kilograms
Food: Mainly ungulates such as gazelles, zebras, antelopes, giraffes and wild boars as well as young animals of elephants and rhinos. Also smaller prey like rodents, rabbits, birds and reptiles.
Life expectancy: up to 18 years


The distribution area of ​​the African lion extends from the southern edge of the Sahara to South Africa with the exception of the Congolese rainforest belt. Of the Asiatic lions, only a remaining population of 411 individuals lives in the Gir National Park in India today.

Lions rule the savannah. - Photo: Ingela Jansson

Special features

The fur is light yellow to yellow-brown. The belly and the insides of the legs are lighter. Young animals have a rosette pattern that fades as they grow up. The mane of the males varies from platinum blonde to reddish brown to black.


Females reach sexual maturity at 36-46 months and give birth to 2-4 cubs after a gestation period of 100-119 days.


Lions prefer open forests and areas of scrub and grassland that provide sufficient cover for hunting and raising offspring.


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Lions are particularly endangered by the loss and fragmentation of their habitats. Other causes include the increasing decline in their prey as a result of human hunting and persecution in retaliation for cattle cracks. Trophy hunting, especially for large male lions, also plays a role.

Did you know that...

... male lions are the only cats with a mane? It is a clearly visible symbol of masculinity, an indicator of strength and protection during fights, even from a long distance.

... lionesses raise their young in a team? Usually they even coordinate the dates of birth and breastfeed the little ones. This behavior is unique in cats.

... the roar of lions can be heard from a distance of five kilometers? It is used to defend the territory.

more on the subject

Species profile

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