IUCN Red List status:

Endangered

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredlist.org

Animal vulnerability index Animal vulnerability index

There were once so many Asiatic lions on our planet that they roamed across northern Africa, Greece, Turkey and Asia, but today there are only about 350 left in the wild and all of them live in India’s Gir Forest.

Standing between 1 and 1.2 metres tall, lions are impressively built animals, with compact bodies, powerful legs and strong jaws and teeth, making them superb hunters. They are visibly different to African lions; the males’ manes are much darker. The larger and darker their manes are, the more attractive they are to females.

Lions enjoy relaxing and lazing around, they spend between 16 and 20 hours each day resting and sleeping. They have few sweat glands so they wisely tend to conserve their energy by resting during the day to conserve their energy at night for when it is cooler.

They’re the most sociable of the big cats, led by a dominant male who is the only male in the pride who can mate. Female cubs often remain within the same pride for life, whilst males are forced to leave at around 2 years old to find prides of their own to join.

Lions give birth about once every two years to a litter of between 1 to 4 cubs, having been receptive to mating several times throughout the year.

Our lions are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. This programme aims to conserve healthy populations of some of the world’s most threatened species in zoos in Europe. Having healthy populations of Asiatic lions across Europe creates a wider gene pool. These act as insurance populations should the species become extinct in the wild.

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hours
Asiatic lions spend between 16 - 20 hours each day resting
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There are only around 350 Asiatic lions left in the wild
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mm
Their retractable claws can be up to 38mm long!

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