African Lion

Panthera leo

About the African Lion

lionLions are part of the big cat family, they are between 1.4m to 2m (4.5ft to 6.5ft) in body length and typically weigh between 120kg to 190kg, the males being the heavier and larger of the species. Of all cat species, lions are the only ones that live in a social group, formed by related females and their offspring, called a pride. A pride will often hunt together, but it’s the females that do most of the work and the killing. Lions hunt a variety of prey, including antelope, zebra, buffalo and wildebeest. Once the prey is killed, the male leader of the pride will take over the carcass and satisfy his hunger first, while the others wait their turn. Pride life includes maintaining a territory and defending it from other lions which has meant they have developed techniques to warn off others. A lion’s roar can be heard over 5 miles away and notifies any other prides that they are in the area.

 About our lion reserve

There is nothing that can prepare you for seeing an apex predator like the African lion up close and our lion reserve provides a fantastic opportunity to do just that. The safari drive takes you through the lion reserve, allowing you to watch the pride without a fence between them and your vehicle. There are many highlights along our safari but the drive-through lion reserve is one of our most popular.


Fact Finder

The only group living cat species in the world, Lions live in family groups called prides.

A pride is made up of related females and an unrelated male – the pride male.

A lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away.

Lions rest for up to 20 hours a day to conserve energy – making a kill is very hard work.

Lions are strictly carnivorous and their kill list includes animals such as antelope, wildebeest, zebra and warthog.

The animals that lions attempt to catch as prey are alert, have keen senses, and are powerful and fast. Every time a lion attempts to catch an animal they put their own lives at risk. A kick from a zebra or ostrich, a strike from the horn of a buffalo or antelope could easily kill a lion. Most attempted hunts result in failure and the odds are more in favour with the prey than predator.

The African Lion is found in pockets of sub-Saharan Africa. Their home ranges are shrinking with the pressures of coexisting alongside humans. The squeeze on their territories and hunting grounds have had detrimental effects on wild populations of African Lions.

There is also a lion species called the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica) which is found only in the Gir Forest in Gujurat, North West India. There are around 350 remaining in the wild. The Asiatic Lion is classified as Endangered which means it is likely to go extinct.

African Lions are now classed as Vulnerable and without changes to their circumstances they are likely to become Endangered. There is no one reason for their decline, but a combination of factors.

Threats to wild lions include coming into conflict with humans. A farmer’s cattle, sheep and goats can be easy prey for a pride of lions. In some areas both lions and farmers are forced to coexist due to overlapping lion territories with grazing areas.

The success of lion populations is linked with the prey species that they depend on for food.

Trophy hunting and poaching also threaten wild lions.


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