Animal Facts
    Common Name:
    African Lion
    Scientific Name:
    Panthera leo
    • Only cat that is social, living in "prides" made up of a dominant male, several females, and their offspring.
    • Males eat first after a kill, followed by the females and then offspring.
    • Mane on males make them look larger and protects their throat during an attack.
    4 ft
    425 lb
    5 ft - 8 ft
    Life Span:
    15 yrs
    Gestation Period:
    110 days
    Number of Young:
    • Grassland
    • Savanna
    • Shrubland
    Fun Facts:
    • Males and females both roar, which is used to intimidate rivals, identify territory, and reunite a pride.
    • Only males have thick mane around the neck.
    • Can reach speeds of 50 MPH for very short bursts.
    • May sleep 20 hours per day.
    • Habitat Loss
    • Poaching / Over Consumption
    Endangered Status
    Endangered Status
    • Extinct in Wild (EW)
    • Critically Endangered (CR)
    • Endangered (EN)
    • Vulnerable (VU)
    • Near Threatened (NT)
    • Least Concern (LC)
    • Not Evaluated (NE)

    Lions, leopards, and other charismatic large carnivores are declining across Africa. The North Carolina Zoo works towards reversing these declines by equipping conservation staff on the ground with technology to more easily collect information on threats to large cats and other threatened wildlife. By streamlining data collection and reporting efforts in the savannas of southern and western Africa, the Zoo thereby enables protected area managers to make better informed decisions about how best to protect wildlife from illegal activities. You can read more about the Zoo’s work on wild lions and other large African carnivores below, under related resources.

    This species is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums SAFEspecies. SAFE seeks to protect threatened and endangered species around the world.

    Through training, lions voluntarily stand on scales for weights and open their mouths and present specific body parts for inspection by veterinarians.  They also accept vaccine injections and allow blood draws from their tail.

    Saving Species Plan Logo

    This species is cooperatively managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan program program. This program is responsible for developing a Breeding and Transfer Plan for each species in the program.