|Male lion in Okonjima, Namibia
|Female (lioness) in Okonjima
|Historical and present distribution of the lion in Africa, Asia and Europe
The lion (Panthera leo) is a large mammal of the Felidae (cat) family. Some large males weigh over 250 kg (550 lb). Today, wild lions live in sub-Saharan Africa and western India. Lions are adapted for life in grasslands and mixed areas with trees and grass. The relatively small females are fast runners over short distances, and coordinate their hunting of herd animals.
Lions have disappeared from North Africa and southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, across Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. The lion is now a vulnerable species. There was a decline in its African range of 30–50% over two decades in the second half of the 20th century.Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are the greatest causes of concern.
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