Wildlife from the Lion King: Lions

Scientific name: Panthera Leo
Population size: 20,000
Conservation status: Vulnerable
Habitat: Savannas, plains, grasslands, dense bush and woodlands

They are the second largest living cats after tigers. Males are unique among the cat species for their thick mane of brown or black hair encircling their head and neck. The mane darkens with age, and the thicker and darker a mane is the healthier the lion. Antelope, zebra, and wildebeests are common prey for this big cat, however, scavenged food provides more than 50% of their diets. Lions will often take over kills made by other carnivores and cooperative hunting enables them to take down prey as large as buffaloes, rhinos, hippos, and giraffes.

Lions are top predators in their environment, whether that’s grasslands, desert or open woodland. It means they play a crucial role in keeping a healthy balance of numbers among other animals, especially herbivores like zebra and wildebeest – which in turn influences the condition of grasslands and forests. By protecting a lion’s landscape, we’re helping the whole area to thrive, which doesn’t just benefit wildlife but the people who rely on local natural resources too.

Information via AWF