The Lion which is commonly referred to as the king of the jungle is a mammal of the family Felidae and it is the second largest natural living feline with the exception of the tiger.
It is fairly easy to differentiate between a male and a female male lion,the male lion is easily recognized by his mane, weighs between 150 and 250 kg (330 and 550 lb). The average weight of a male African Lion is 415 lb. Unlike tigers, very few lions exceed 225 kg (500 lb) in the wild.
Some lions in Africa have been known to attain weights of over 500 lb,however this is an exception. The biggest wild lion on record was a very large male which weighed in at 312.7 kg (688 lb). Female lions are much smaller with no mane, weighing between 117 and 167kg kg (240 lb and 370 lb).
In the wild,life expectancy of lions is between10–14 years, however in captivity they can live over 20 years.In ancient times the lion’s habitat spanned much of Eurasia, ranging from Eastern Europe to India, and all of Africa. Since the second century AD, the lion has become extinct in Europe.currently, most of the population lives in Central Africa, and their numbers are rapidly decreasing, estimated as between 18,000 and 40,000 living in the wild, down from an estimated 100,000 in the early 1990s.
Lion population is even more in jeopardy, because the remaining populations are often geographically isolated from each other.
Subspecies of lion( Panthera leo persica)the last remnant of the Asiatic Lion, which in historical times ranged from Turkey to India through Iran (Persia), lives in the Gir Forest of north western India. About 300 lions live in a 1412 km² (558 square miles) sanctuary in the state of Gujarat.
Lions became extinct in Greece, their last European outpost, by 100 AD. Other extinct subspecies are the Cape Lion, the European Cave Lion (subspecies Panthera leo spelaea) which coexisted with humans throughout the last Ice Age, and the American lion (subspecies Panthera leo atrox), a close relative of the European cave lion (not to be confused with the mountain lion or puma).
Behaviour of a lion:
They are predatory carnivores living in family groups, known as prides. The family consists of related females, their cubs of both sexes, and one or more males (often brothers) who mate with the adult females.
Although it was once thought that females did most of the hunting in the pride, it is now known that males contribute to hunting. Hunting skills of a male lion can be seen in nomadic lions, who have yet to capture a pride of their own. Regardless of who kills the prey, the male usually eats his fill first with the rest of the pride staying at respectful distance. Both males and females will defend the pride against intruders.
Lions are known to be jealous,typically, males will not tolerate outside males, and females will not tolerate outside females.Males are expelled from the pride or leave on their own when they reach maturity and become less strong. The male lion has evolved to be a superb master and defender of his pride and territory.
Researchers have discovered that, the mane of an adult male lion provide protection during conflicts with other lions.
When a new male (or a coalition) takes over a pride and ousts the previous master(s), the conquerors often kill any remaining cubs. This is explained by the evolutionary pressures — the females would not become fertile and receptive until the cubs grow up or die.
Male lions reach maturity at about 3 years of age and are capable of taking over another pride at 4-5 years old. They begin to age at around 8 (thus weaken). This leaves a short window for their children to be born and mature — the fathers have to procreate as soon as they take over the pride.In some instances a female lion may try defend herself and the ousted male’s children from the new master, but such actions are rarely successful.
Due to their rarity,white lions are not often heard of, however white lions do exist in Timbavati, Kruger National Park, South Africa. There is a recessive gene in white lions that gives them their unusual colour (also causing white tigers, many white tigers with this gene are bred for zoos and animal shows).
The white colour in white lions is a big disadvantage when it comes to hunting; their white colour can give away their hiding place unlike with the regular lion that blends in with its surroundings.