Lion Natural History
The Lion is the world’s second largest cat species reaching lengths of 8 feet (250 cm) and weighing as much as 690 lbs (313 Kg). However even though it is not the largest it stands 4 feet (123 cm) at the shoulder which makes it the tallest living cat, measuring 5.5 inches (14 cm) taller than the Tiger.
Habitat and Distribution
These cats live in dry areas such as savannah and dry scrub forests. They are found in much of sub-Saharan Africa and there is a small population of Asian Lions left in the Gir Forest National Park of India.
Lions can live for 10-14 years in the wild but in captivity they can live up to 25 years. This species usually reaches maturity between 3-5 years.
These are powerful predators which will feed on a variety of prey species including Wildebeest, Impala, Zebra, Buffalo, Wild Boar, Springbok, Eland and Kudu.
The Lion is considered to be a vulnerable species due to its massive historical population decline. It is thought that just over the last 2 decades their population has decreased by as much as 50%. The range which they live in has also significantly decreased with some of the countries in which it is now extinct including Greece, Turkey and Iran.
Groups and Breeding
Lions are the most social of the wild cat species living in prides of up to 6 females, a single adult male and the offspring of the adult females. Male Lions are also often found in bachelor groups called coalitions, which may number 2 to 4 individuals, with this sort of group being an unstable relationship. Females usually breed from the age of around 4 years giving birth to up to 4 cubs after a 110 day gestation period.
The Lions During Your Day Out in Kent
Our two male lions came to live at Wingham Wildlife Park in 2011. Clarence and Brutus live together in an enclosure on the far side of the lake. Their diet is mostly made up from horse meat, chicken and rabbit all on the bone and are fed an extra 20% during the winter so that they can bulk up and keep warm. They also get supplements on their meat to boost their minerals and vitamins.