Lions are carnivores, with female lions needing around 5kg of meat a day and male lions 7kg. Lionesses carry out between 85-90% of the hunting, while males protect their territory and the pride. An apex predator, lions play a very valuable role in the ecosystem, balancing the numbers of herbivores in their habitat, for example zebra and wildebeest.
Mostly found on savannah but can also be found in varied habitats including woodland and desert, Lions are the only member of the cat family to be described as truly 'social'. Typically lions live in groups of 12-16 individuals, called prides. These include 4-6 related lionesses and their cubs, as well as 1-2 males who are usually with the pride for a breeding season (24-36 months).
The threats to lions are increasing. They are killed in retaliation for ‘stock-raiding’ (occasionally killing livestock), increasing human-lion conflict, due to a rising human population taking more and more land previously used by lions, they are caught in snares and traps set to catch animals for the bushmeat trade, trophy hunting – people hunting lions for ‘sport’ - disease and Traditional Chinese Medicine – with tiger parts becoming increasingly hard to obtain due to their low numbers, the illegal trade is now turning to lions