The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia, with an endangered remnant population in Gir Forest National Park in India, having disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, across Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. The lion is a vulnerable species, having seen a major population decline of 30–50% over the past two decades in its African range. Lion populations are untenable outside designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. Within Africa, the West African lion population is particularly endangered.
Lions live for 10–14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live longer than 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than 10 years, as injuries sustained from continual fighting with rival males greatly reduce their longevity. They typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they may take to bush and forest. Lions are unusually social compared to other cats. A pride of lions consists of related females and offspring and a small number of adult males. Groups of female lions typically hunt together, preying mostly on large ungulates. Lions are apex and keystone predators, although they scavenge as opportunity allows. While lions do not typically hunt humans, some have been known to do so. Sleeping mainly during the day, lions are primarily nocturnal, although bordering on crepuscular in nature.
Highly distinctive, the male lion is easily recognised by its mane, and its face is one of the most widely recognised animal symbols in human culture. Depictions have existed from the Upper Paleolithic period, with carvings and paintings from the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves, through virtually all ancient and medieval cultures where they once occurred. It has been extensively depicted in sculptures, in paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature. Lions have been kept in menageries since the time of the Roman Empire, and have been a key species sought for exhibition in zoos over the world since the late 18th century. Zoos are cooperating worldwide in breeding programs for the endangered Asiatic subspecies.
Other articles related to "lion, lions":
... on this topic, see Cultural depictions of lions ... The lion has been an icon for humanity for thousands of years, appearing in cultures across Europe, Asia, and Africa ... Despite incidents of attacks on humans, lions have enjoyed a positive depiction in culture as strong but noble ...
... The American lion was initially considered a distinct species of Pantherinae, with the scientific name Panthera atrox ( /ˈpænθərə ˈætrɒks/), which means "cruel" or "fearsome panther" in Latin ... Some later authors accepted this view, but other experts considered the American lion most closely related to the African lion (P ... leo) and its extinct Eurasian relative, the cave lion (P ...
... The American lion (Panthera leo atrox or P ... atrox) — also known as the North American lion, Naegele’s giant jaguar or American cave lion — is an extinct lion of the family Felidae, endemic to North ... been shown by genetic analysis to be a sister lineage to the Eurasian cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea or P ...
... In late 2005, Lion Nathan made an unsolicited takeover bid for Coopers, which was strongly opposed by the board and by the Cooper family ... removing the 3rd tier purchasing rights of Lion Nathan, effectively preventing any current or future takeover bid ...
... Il Leone d’Oro (English The Golden Lion) is the highest prize given to a film at the Venice Film Festival ... In 1970, a second Golden Lion was introduced this is an honorary award for people who have made an important contribution to cinema ... The prize was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of St ...
Famous quotes containing the word lion:
“The lion shall never lie down with the lamb. The lion eternally shall devour the lamb, the lamb eternally shall be devoured. Man knows the great consummation in the flesh, the sensual ecstasy, and that is eternal. Also the spiritual ecstasy of unanimity, that is eternal. But the two are separate and never to be confused.”
—D.H. (David Herbert)
“Beware instinctthe lion will not touch the true prince.
Instinct is a great matter.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“Enough if the work has seemed,
So did she your strength renew,
A dream that a lion had dreamed
Till the wilderness cried aloud.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)