The King Of The Jungle
The lion (Panthera leo) is the second largest cat after the tiger. It was once found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe but now exists only in Africa and the Sasan-Gir National Park in India.
Lions feed upon a wide array of animals, including wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, wild hogs, hares, birds and reptiles. The male lion whose distinctive characteristic is its mane, weighs 150-225 kg. The mane protects the lion while fighting. Lions are the only cats which live in large social groups called 'prides', consisting of about 15 lions. They are nocturnal and territorial, and males roar and use urine scent markings to establish their domain. Although rare, white lions are found in Timbavati in South Africa.
The lion has forever been a symbol of strength, power, ferocity, as well as beauty and royalty. It has been honoured with names like ‘king of the jungle’ and ‘king of beasts’.
It can run for short distances at 80 kph (50 mph) and leap as far as 11 m (36 ft). Lions have bred with other cat species such as: tigers to produce ligers and tigons, leopards to produce leopons and jaguars to produce jaglions.
Your chances of seeing it in the wild
To catch a glimpse of this majestic cat you would have to travel the south Sahara desert and parts of southern and eastern Africa. They can also be seen at the Sasan-Gir National Park in India. The lion is listed as 'vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.