The African Lion is a majestic, powerful, and beautiful creature that is symbolic in many ways for a lot of people. Lions have been a fascination of mine for a long time and have become one of my favorite subjects to draw. They are amazing creatures and really need our support and help to flourish. Please continue reading to learn more about their habits, what is threatening them, and WHAT YOU CAN DO to make a difference!
African Lion (Panthera leo)
The African Lion is listed as 'Vulnerable' by the IUCN. The lion population has been reduced by half in the last 60 years - there are 23,000 to 39,000 remain in the wild today. Their range is now the south Sahara desert and southern + eastern Africa.
The lion is the only social member of the cat family and lives in 'prides' of about 15 individuals. Related females and their children make up a majority of the pride. A single male or 2-3 males will join a pride for an indefinite period - usually 3 years or until another male or group of males takes over. When resting, the pride is affectionate toward one another with a lot of head rubbing, licking, and purring.
FUN FACT: the lion is the second largest feline species, second only to the tiger.
Lions prey on a wide variety of creatures, including wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, wild hogs, sometimes even rhinos and hippos. They will hunt elephants when food is scarce. Females do most of the hunting - working in teams and hunting at night. They live in grassy plains, savannahs, open woodlands, and scrub country that allow them to stalk and sneak up on their prey.
A large portion of the lion population has been affected by outbreaks of the disease distemper caused by drought. Infestations of ticks in their prey, also caused by drought and malnutrition, caused canine distempter - combined with distemper killed more animals than either disease would have on their own.
Human population growth and agricultural expansion results in a loss of natural habitat. The lion population has also been reduced by hunting, poisoning, and poaching by livestock ranchers.
What You Can Do:
You can help protect lions and other threatened wildlife by visiting the Defenders of Wildlife website.
Take Action - write to government leaders
Speak Up - become an advocate for wildlife
Become a Defender of Wildlife
Source: Defenders of Wildlife
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