TYPES OF LIONS – Lions are majestic animals, and they are a colossal cat species that is a part of the Felidae family of mammals. Most of the time, you will find the fact that lions are seen as a part of 2 major species, Asian or African. But what types of lions are there? We are here to share that information with you, and we will also try to find out more about these animals!
- 1. Types Of Lions are an Endangered Species
- 2. Asian Lion
- 3. Ethiopian Lion
- 4. Transvaal Lion
- 5. Masai Lion
- 6. Southwest African Lion
- 7. Congo Lion
- 8. West African Lion
- 9. Barbary Lion
- 10. Lions Of The World
- Lion Facts and Information about Lions
1. Types Of Lions are an Endangered Species
Lions are known to be hunted for sport or a variety of other reasons such as trophies for example. In fact, hunting is the reason why lions are an endangered species, to begin with. Hunters tend to target the dominant male in the group, and they will end up hunting him.
They will kill the lion and remove body parts that will be then used as trophies. The pride structure will be affected since males from other prides will come and kill former male progeny!
As a result, lion cubs will get lost or even die. This shows why the lion population is smaller and smaller all the time. Combine that with the fact that the habitats are getting smaller, also due to human influence, and you will see why lions are soon to be extinct if we don’t take care of them.
Even if there are significant conservation efforts, lion hunting remains a very popular sport. This is the reason why it’s pivotal to save lions and eliminate any potential threats that will lead to their extinction.
2. Asian Lion
Also called the Asiatic lion, the Asian lion has the Latin name of Panthera Leo Persica. Until a few centuries ago, this species was spread throughout India, SW Asia, and Turkey. Nowadays, however, you can find it mostly at the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary located in Gujarat. There are only 523 such mammals still alive.
What makes this lion distinct is the fact that it’s larger when compared to the African one. However, it does have a similar size if you compare it to the Central African one. Females can have around 120 KG at most, and the males can go up to 160 KG, some of them have 190 KG, but these are rarer specimens.
When it comes to morphological features, what makes the lion distinct is a longitudinal fold of skin. This can be fo9und around the belly. Their fur color will differ, although most of the time you will be able to find buffish gray, ruddy tawny and sandy Asian lions.
These lions have ears that can be seen all the time, and they don’t come with a major genetic variation. Another thing to note in here is that they are endangered as well, and they have a mane growth which is moderate!
3. Ethiopian Lion
These lions are known by the name of Addis Ababa lion or the Abyssian Lion, and their Latin name is Panthera Leo Roosevelti.
This particular species was initially thought to pertain to the East African lion species, but after further analysis, it turned out that they are indeed a different species. The Ethiopian lions are mostly living in captivity at this point, and they tend to have small bodies and darker manes.
4. Transvaal Lion
The Transvaal lion is also known as the South East African lion, and you can mostly find it in the Southern Regions of Africa, such as the Hlane Royal National Park from Swaziland or the Kruger National Park from South Africa. A thing to note about this particular species is that males tend to have a very powerful black mane.
They can have up to 10.5 feet, and females can also be up to 9 feet in length. These lions are rather heavy too since females can go up to 182kg at most and males can easily go around 200-250kg.
5. Masai Lion
Panthera leo nubica, also known as the Masai lion can be encountered in Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique and Ethiopia. These lions have backs that are less curved, and they also have long legs as well. Males have knee joints with some tuffs of hair.
Another thing to keep in mind here is that the manes of these lions are also combed backward, quite an interesting change for sure. These lions are known to live at around 2600 feet and they do have manes which are heavier when compared to the lions that live in lowland areas.
Males can have around 9.8 feet in length and most, whereas the longer females can also be around 8.5 feet.
6. Southwest African Lion
Panthera leo bleyenberghi, also known as the SW African lion or the Katanga lion can be encountered in the SW region of Africa, more specifically in countries like Zimbabwe as well as Zaire, Angola, and even Botswana. These lions are known to be very large, makes can go up to 10.2 feet, and females can have 8.7 feet in length.
As for their weight, females can have around 170 kg at most and males will go up to 242 kg. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Katanga lions do tend to have a mane which has a lighter color if you compare it with the other species!
7. Congo Lion
This lion is called Panthera leo bleyenberghi after its Latin name, and you can find it on the western side of Uganda as well as DRC. It was in Rwanda at one point, but you can’t find it there any more, mostly due to preservation problems. You can find them in the Queen Elizabeth National Park from Uganda and the Virunga National Park in DRC!
8. West African Lion
Also known as the Senegal Lion and the Wester African Lion, Panthera leo senegalensis can be found in Senegal and just about all the western Africa, all the way to the Central African Republic. There are only around 1800 lions from this species in West Africa at this point!
9. Barbary Lion
Panthera leo leo or the barbary lion is also called the North African lion. It was a subspecies that lived in Algeria, Morocco as well as Tunisia and Egypt. It’s extinct right now, in fact, the last one was killed in Morocco during the 1920s. This was one of the largest lions, some of them had around 200 kg and they had up to 10.8 feet.
10. Lions Of The World
As we mentioned above, lions belong to the Felidae family and the Panthera genus. There are 7 different extant species in Africa and a single subspecies in Asia. Lions are known to be one of the largest cat species out there; they are the largest after tigers.
Usually, you will find that wild lions are encountered in either India or the sub-Saharan African region. Unlike many cat species, lions are indeed very social, and they do live in some large groups which include cubs, females and a few males. They do prefer savannas and grasslands, yet you can still find them in other regions as well. One thing to note about lions is that they can live up to 20 years in captivity and up to 14 years in the wilderness.
Lion Facts and Information about Lions
Lions are known for being called the kings of the jungle. They were widely encountered in Europe, Asia as well as Africa. Nowadays, you can find only the two aforementioned species. The African lions are in Southern and Central Africa, whereas the Asian lions are encountered in the Gir Forest in India. They are similar in looks. However, the diet, habitat and even the overall size is rather different.
Size & characteristics
Most of the time, you will see that the African lion will have anywhere between 4.5-6.5 feet. Their tail can also have around 26.25-39.5 inches. They also have a weight that ranges anywhere from 265 to 420 lbs. On the other hand, Asiatic lions are bigger, based on data from the WWF. They can have 300-500 lbs; they can go up to 9.18 feet in length. Even their tail measures up to 35.43 inches in total.
Usually, you will find that the male lions are larger when compared to females and they also have a mane that’s right around their head. The mane is designed to make the male seem more impressive in front of females and this will be very intimidating as well. The mane is also designed to help males during fights.
You can find the African lions in the Central African Republic, the south of Sudan as well as Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana, Angola and many other regions of the Sub-Saharan Africa. They can be found roaming a territory that has more than 100 square miles in total, a territory that has woodlands as well as grasslands and some scrub. On the other hand, the Asiatic Lions can be found only in the Indian Gir Forest National park, a sanctuary which has around 877.37 square miles and which is full of rocky hills, grass lands, and a beautiful forest!
What you should know about Lions is that they live in prices and they are social. The African lion prides are rather distinct; they have three males and around 12 females, they can go up to 40 members in total. The Asian lions tend to have two prides, males have their prides and the same happens in the case of females. They only get together when the mating season arrives. Females tend to stay put most of the time, while makes end up wandering to try and create their pride.
Most experts tend to recognize the following taxonomy:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Subkingdom: Bilateria
- Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
- Superclass: Tetrapoda
- Class: Mammalia
- Subclass: Theria
- Infraclass: Eutheria
- Order: Carnivora
- Suborder: Feliformia
- Family: Felidae
- Subfamily: Pantherinae
- Genus & species: Panthera leo
- Subspecies: Panthera leo leo (African lion), Panthera leo persica (Asiatic lion)
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are only two main subspecies, but the Integrated Taxonomic Information System states that there are six more. On top of that, there is a debate if those are real subspecies or not.
Lions are known for facing lots of threats, from losing their habitat to diseases and hunting. The Red List of Threatened Species created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists African Lions as one of the vulnerable species, as there are around 30000-10000 lions in the globe, with the numbers rapidly decreasing. The number of lions was cut in half in the past 2 decades alone, mostly due to hunting and habitat loss. A similar thing appears in the case of Asian lions, as there are only 350 of them in existence, and from that number only 175 are mature.
Other things to know about Lions
Maybe the most interesting thing about Lions is that females are the primary hunter in a pride, they hunt in a pack or alone. Moreover, lions can easily battle animals that are larger in size.
Based on data from the Smithsonian National Zoon, lions can kill any animal that has up to 1000 lbs. To kill the prey, lions are using their jaws in order to strangle the prey or snap its neck.
If the male African lions want to take over a pride, they will kill cubs to eliminate competition. Tigers and lions are related, and they do have a body structure very similar to one another. Jaguars and leopards are also related to lions! Even if Pumas are included in the Felidae family, lions aren’t exactly related to them.
Based on data from the WWF, lions can easily reach 50 MPH while running, although they can sustain such a speed over short distances. They can also leap up to 36 feet if necessary!