Lions (Panthera leo) are now limited to a small area of India and to Africa south of the Sahara.
In Africa they are still quite numerous and as of May 2015 the number of Indian lions in Gujarat's Gir Sanctuary had increased to 523, a 27 percent increase since 2010.
The fully grown lion may measure over 2.5metres in length, plus a metre-long tail, and can weigh around 190kg on average. Males usually have a mane, the lioness is smaller and lacks the mane.
These big cats live in family groups or 'prides' numbering up to 20 individuals. The lionesses of the pride work as a team when hunting. Lions may reach a speed of 50 mph over a short distance and can leap more than 10 metres on level ground. They have also been seen to jump over obstacles more than 3 metres high.
Lions live in open bush country and feed largely on zebra and antelope. They are born blind, like kittens, and have spotted coats for some time after birth. They are weaned at 3 months and can hunt for themselves when a year old. A lion is in the prime of life at five and may live up to 30 years.
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