The lion (Panthera lion) is the largest cat species in Africa, yet the populations of the well loved lion, the 'king of the jungle', has dramatically declined by nearly half in just two decades.

Lion (Panthera leo) Key Facts

Largest of the African cat species.

The only true social cat species living in prides.

Males are distinct from females with a mane of hair.

Lion (Panthera leo) - Panthera lineage
Male Lion (Panthera Leo)
Image by By Kevin Pluck (Flickr: The King.) [CC BY 2.0 ] via Wikimedia Commons
Image Source


Lion (Panthera leo) Subspecies (lower classification)

Currently lions are classified into only two subspecies - the Asian and the African subpopulations. Historically lions occurred both in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the north from Northern Africa into Southwest Asia and into Europe. However only a remnant population remains in India of the original northern population and the present day populations only occur in sub-Saharan Africa. However some African countries, especially in West Africa, are reporting local extinctions and it is estimated there has been an overall decline of African lions of 43% in just 21 years (1993-2014).

Regionally Extinct (RE)

  • Lion Panthera leo (Mediterranean - North Africa)

Endangered (EN)

  • Asiatic Lion Panthera leo persica

Vulnerable (VU)

  • African Lion Panthera leo leo

Reference: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. <>. 7 Feb 2017.


Lion (Panthera leo) Conservation

The following global organizations are all fighting to conserve our majestic lions in the face of rapidly diminishing habitat and persecution:


Lion (Panthera leo) Facts and Information

The following links will take you to websites with well researched and authoritative information on lions:

African lions (Panthera leo)

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