Lion (Panthera leo)

Conservation Status

Vulnerable (VU)

Physical Description

Large feline with uniform tawny/sand colour. Males have a long mane, which females lack; both with black tufted tail.
Weight 150-225kg male; 110-152kg female
Size 1.2m shoulder height male; 1.0m shoulder height female
Lifespan (wild) 14-18 years
Lifespan (captivity) 13-30 years


Very sociable cats with prides consisting of one to four adult males and several adult females (one being dominant) with sub-adults and cubs. Territories of established prides are marked by urine, droppings, and earth-scratching. Vocalizations over territories are audible over several kilometers. Most hunting takes place at night or during the cooler daytime hours. Females undertake most of the hunting, although the males will feed first. Young lions will only eat after the adults have finished.

Social and Reproduction

Lion prides can range from 3-30 individuals.

Mating System Polygamy (Polgyny)
Breeding interval About every 2 years.
Breeding season Year round, but peaks during the rainy season.
Gestation 102-110 days
Number of offspring 1-6 cubs each weighing about 1.5kg.

Habitat and Food


Large habitat tolerance, from desert, coastal, to woodland and open savanna.


Lion hunt medium to large prey species, but will predate on a wide range of species from mice to young elephant and adult giraffe. They will sometimes scavenge food as well.


Lion have no known natural predators other than humans and spotted hyena occasionally preying on lion cubs.

Conservation Challenges

Lions can come in conflict with livestock such as grown cattle and can become habitual livestock raiders. There is therefore little tolerance for them amongst farmers.

Naankuse Solutions

No direct deterrent methods are currently being studied, however, consultations with farmers and mitigation methods are performed. Orphaned lions have been taken in and raised at Naankuse.


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