African lion, Panthera leo
August 2005

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TAXONOMY & NOMENCLATURE
(O'Brien et al 1987) (Shoemaker 1997) (Nowell & Jackson 1996) (Dubach, 2005) (Wozencraft 1993)

Describer (Date): Linnaeus (1758) Syst. Nat., 10th ed., 1:41  

Kingdom:
Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
        Class: Mammalia
             Order: Carnivora
                  Family: Felidae (Fischer de Waldheim 1817)
   
                    Subfamily: Acinonychinae (Pocock 1917) - cheetah
   
                    Subfamily: Felinae (Fischer de Waldheim 1817) - small and medium-sized non-pantherine cats
   
                     Subfamily: Pantherinae (Pocock 1917) - leopard, jaguar, lion, tiger, snow leopard
                                Genus: Neofelis (Gray 1854)
   
                            Genus: Panthera (Oken,1816)
   
                                 Species: Panthera leo (Linnaeus 1758) - lion
                                           Subspecies: Panthera leo leo - African lion
                                           Subspecies: Panthera leo persicus (Meyer 1826) - Asian lion
                                     Species: Panthera onca - jaguar
   
                                 Species: Panthera pardus - leopard
   
                                 Species: Panthera tigris - tiger
   
                             Genus: Pardofelis (Severtozov 1858) - marbled cat
   
                             Genus: Uncia (Gray 1854) - snow leopard

Taxonomic History and Nomenclature
From Haas, S. et al, 2005.

Geographic distribution of Panthera leo in Africa and India.

1. P. l. azandicus
2. P. l. bleyenberghi
3. P. l. krugeri and P.l. melanochaitus
4. P. l. nubicus
5. P. l. persica
6. P. l. senegalensis 

    Common name     Phylogeny

DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT
(Bauer & van der Merwe 2004) (Sunquist 2002) (Nowell & Jackson 1996)

Distribution
  • Historically found from Africa through Eurasia and North America into South America
  • Currently found only in sub-Saharan Africa (Botswana, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) and the the protected Gir Forest in northwestern India. The majority are in East and Southern Africa.
  • Link to IUCN map
Habitat:
  • Broad habitat tolerance - most altitudes and all vegetation types except tropical rainforests and interior of Sahara desert. Able to live on moisture from prey or plants
  • Optimal habitat : open woodlands, and thick bush, scrub and grass complexes, with some cover for hunting and denning.
  • More at home in open areas than tigers, jaguars, or leopards
  • Prey requirements: Medium- to large-sized ungulates (buffalo, antelopes, zebra, and wildebeest)

 

 From Bauer, H, and van der Merwe, S, 2004



PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
(Grzimek 1990) (Eaton 1974) (Estes 1990) (Londei 2000) (Rudnai 1973) (Schaller 1972) (Sunquist 2002) (Williams et al. 1997)

Measurements

General description Pelage Sexual Dimorphism Differences between Asiatic and African lions (Sunquist, 2002) Teeth (Sunquist, 2002)  

BEHAVIOR & ECOLOGY
(Schaller 1972) (Mellen 1993) ( Estes 1991) (Kingdon 1977) (Packer & Pusey 1997) (Nowell & Jackson 1996)


Activity Cycle Daily Pattern Social Groups

      General         Hunting        Territorial Behavior Aggression Cub Rearing         Communication
          
        Tactile
        Visual         Vocalization         Olfaction/Scent Marking Locomotion Interspecies Interaction

DIET & FEEDING
(Schaller 1972) ( Estes 1991) (Sunquist 2002)


REPRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
(Packer & Pusey, 1984 )(Schaller 1972) (Estes 1991) (Nowell & Jackson 1996)

Courtship Infanticide Estrus: 4 days 

Interestrus Interval:
16 days 

Gestation
Birth Interbirth interval Litter size: 1 to 4 cubs Life Stages
      Infants/Juveniles 0-1 year     Large Cubs 1-2 years     Subadults 2-4 years     Puberty     Young Adults 4-6 years     Prime     Longevity

GENETICS
(Guggisberg 1975) (O'Brien, 1987) (Dubach, 2005)


MANAGED CARE
(Livingston1974) (Kisling 2000) (Shoemaker www.felidtag.org) (CatNews 2004) (Green, R. 1991)

Imported by the Romans from North Africa for menageries and public games. Thousands slaughtered for public entertainment. With the decline of Roman Empire, menageries remained in the hands of royalty and the newly powerful catholic church. In the middle ages, public European menageries with lions began to spring up.

ISIS captive population

POPULATION AND CONSERVATION STATUS
(Nowell and Jackson 1996) (Cat News 2004/2005) (Bauer & Van Der Merwe 2004)

Population Status Conservation Threats to survival   Conservation Measures
Important Web Resources:

© 2005 San Diego Zoo Global. Minor update April 2013. Questions may be addressed to library@sandiegozoo.org.

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