Lion, African

Lion, African

Scientific Name: Panthera leo leo

Status: Vulnerable

Habitat: Savannas, arid woodlands, and semi-desert regions from south of the Sahara Desert to South Africa

Diet: Carnivorous, eating impala, wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, rodents, birds, fish, and ostrich eggs

Length: 7.5 feet

Weight: 495 pounds

Like all cats, lions rest or sleep about 20 hours each day to conserve their energy. Unlike most cats, lions are a highly social species. Typically, they live in prides that consist of a few adult males with several related females and their young.

Lions hunt cooperatively on a regular basis and females do most of the hunting. Adult males take the “lion’s share,” eating their fill first. This can be up to 25 percent of their body weight. Next, the females and juveniles eat, and finally the cubs eat last. Pride size varies depending on resources available and terrain conditions, however, the average pride consists of about 15 cats. Prides establish territories of eight to 155 square miles by roaring to warn off intruders, urine marking boundaries, and patrolling the area. Roaring also helps maintain contact among pride members and strengthens bonds between members. Dominant adult males defend the pride against rival males.

Meet the Pride

“As a founding member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) SAFE species program, the Los Angeles Zoo plays an integral role in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program for this vulnerable species. By providing a home and caring for senior animals, we are working together with our colleagues in this program who look after younger cats, as was the case when we took in Hubert and Kalisa from the Woodland Park Zoo upon the arrival of cubs in their lion habitat.”

Beth Schaefer, General Curator, Los Angeles Zoo

Hubert and Kalisa came to the Los Angeles Zoo in 2014 after being companions for six years at the Woodland Park Zoo. The average life expectancy for African lions in the wild is 14 years, so the wellness of elderly lions like Hubert and Kalisa is a testament to the excellent veterinary care they have received in zoological settings.

HUBERT (male, pictured)
Born February 7, 1999 at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

KALISA (female)
Born December 26, 1998 at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

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