African Lion

Panthera leo


Lions are known for being strong and stealthy hunters of African plains. Lions also work as a team! They are the most social of the big cats, living in groups called prides of five or more adults. Females do most of the hunting, working together to take down big prey animals—such as antelopes or wildebeests—that the pride can share. They also take care of their young together until the cubs are more than a year old. A female may give birth to up to six cubs at one time. Lions can live to be more than 15 years old.

Males work alone or with their brothers to help protect the pride from predators and other lions. You can identify an adult male by his amazing mane! They sometimes fight each other to see who will be the pride’s leader.

Lions begin to practice their famous roar when they’re young, about 1 year old. Lions use their voices to communicate with each other within the pride. Some roars can be heard 5 miles away!

4 feet tall and up to 11 feet long; 300 or more pounds in weight
Live in
Sub-Saharan Africa
Medium or large animals
IUCN Red List Status


African lions are vulnerable to extinction. Their populations have shrunk by nearly half in the past few decades. They are sometimes killed by people, and they also face loss of habitat and prey in the wild.

Some areas of the African savanna are facing more droughts from climate change, which reduces the amount of habitat for wildlife. To help combat climate change, the Indianapolis Zoo participates in AES’s Green Power Offset Program. Indianapolis residents also can help offset carbon that they’re burning in fossil fuels through this program.

The Zoo also partners with other groups to support the conservation of large African mammals and help people live alongside wildlife through the Tanzania Conservation Research Program.


Lion Chat

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