December 7, 2021
The lion (Panthera leo) is a carnivorous mammal of the felidae family and one of the five species of the genus Panthera. Wild lions live in increasingly dispersed and fragmented populations in sub-Saharan Africa (with the exception of the jungle regions of the Atlantic coast and the Congo Basin) and a small area of northwestern India (a critically endangered population in the park Gir Forest National and surrounding areas), having disappeared from the rest of South Asia, Western Asia, North Africa and the Balkan Peninsula in historical times. Until the end of the Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, of the large land mammals, the lion was the most widespread after humans. Its distribution covered most of Africa, much of Eurasia, from western Europe to India, and in America, from the Yukon River to southern Mexico.    If they survive the hardships of childhood, lionesses living in a safe habitat, such as the Kruger National Park, can often reach the age of 12-14 years, while lions rarely live more than eight years.  However, there are known cases of lionesses that have lived up to twenty years in the wild. In captivity, both males and females can live for more than twenty years. They usually live in savannas and grasslands, even when they can enter shrubby and wooded areas. Lions are especially social animals compared to other felids. A pride of lions is made up of females who have a family relationship, their young, and a small number of adult males. Lionesses usually hunt together, in groups, attacking mainly large ungulates. The lion is a super predator and key, although it can have a scavenging behavior if it has the opportunity. Although lions do not normally hunt humans selectively, some of them may become cannibals and seek human prey. The lion is a vulnerable species and, in its African range, over the last two decades it has suffered a population decline, possibly irreversible, of between 30% and 50%;  populations they are not viable outside of delimited reserves and national parks. Although the cause of this decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the most important concerns. Lions have been kept in captivity since the times of Ancient Rome, and since the late 18th century they have been a highly sought after species exhibited in zoos around the world. Zoos themselves are collaborating on breeding programs to protect the endangered Asian subspecies. Males are very easy to distinguish thanks to their mane, which makes their heads one of the most widely known animal symbols in human culture. It appears very often in literature, sculpture, painting, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature.