About Lions

Lions (Panthera leo) symbolize power and strength. They are synonymous with the wild across Africa and parts of Asia. Yet few realize that these big cats have undergone a catastrophic range reduction and that only about 20,000 lions remain. Enough habitat still exists to substantially recover their numbers, but we must act now. Together, we can bring lion populations back to a healthier 30,000 individuals by 2030 through protecting and connecting key populations throughout their range in Africa.

Apex Predators

Lions are the apex predators of the African savanna.

© Sebastian Kennerknecht

Lion's Role

The primary role of adult males is to defend the pride’s home space.

© Andrew Beck

Lionesses Rule

Lionesses do not have a hierarchy within their pride.

© James Warwick

Population Dwindling

Only about 20,000 wild lions remain in Africa, occupying less than 5% of their former range.

© Nick Garbutt

Our Goals

Support the conservation of healthy lion populations in key sites
Reverse lion declines in sites with significant recovery potential
Maintain landscape connectivity and genetic diversity and integrity
Slide Content

100+

lions monitored and protected in the Greater Kafue Ecosystem of Zambia

Slide Content

300%

increase in lions numbers on the Busanga Plains World Heritage Area since 2016 

Slide Content

3x

increase in lion numbers in the Zambezi Region, Namibia

Our Impact

Where Do Lions Live?

Lions can live in a wide variety of habitats, including open woodland and grass savannas as well as dry forests, coastal scrub and semi-desert areas. The vast majority live in Africa south of the Sahara, with a small population in India.

  • Historic Lion Range
  • Current Lion Range
map showing the current and historic ranges of lions

Lion FAQs

Question

Why do lions have manes?

Answer

A lion’s mane is a product of sexual selection rather than natural selection. This means that females show preferences for bigger, darker manes. Male lions with these traits will then mate more and pass on those genes more frequently.

Question

What do lions eat?

Answer

Prides can hunt and kill even the largest herbivores, such as buffalo, giraffes and even elephant juveniles. However, they more commonly hunt and feed on smaller to medium-sized species like wildebeest, zebra, impala and warthog.

Question

Can lions purr?

Answer

Most big cats, including lions, cannot purr. Instead, they are known for their famous roars. This iconic vocalization is due to the hyoid bone in the cat’s throat being attached to a specialized stretching ligament, drawn down to the chest when lions exhale forcefully.

Question

How many lions are left in the wild?

Answer

Only about 20,000 wild lions remain in Africa. We have no estimates of their former numbers, but it is likely that there were at least many hundreds of thousands before European settlers arrived.

Question

What are the threats facing lions?

Answer

The species is threatened by the illegal trade of lion prey for their meat, targeted poaching of lions for body parts, habitat loss and fragmentation and human-cat conflict due to the real or perceived threat lions pose to livestock.

Question

How can we save lions?

Answer

We can save lions by preserving their habitat, protecting them and their prey from poaching and illegal hunting and helping communities coexist alongside them.