Copyright © 2007 Stacy Victor McClain. All rights reserved.
The African lion, one of the cats of the big cat species, is the 2nd largest cat after the tiger. This majestic animal used to exist throughout Western Europe and the Middle East, but now is found exclusively in Eastern and Southern Africa regions only. Because of destruction of habitat, rapid extinction, and interbreeding problems, there are massive conservation efforts to increase the African Lion population. Lions live in prides that consist of 1-4 males and related females. The female lioness is responsible for raising cubs and hunting. The male lion spend most of its life resting, patrol and protect the pride, and will participate in hunts when it involves large prey (like Wilderbeest and Elephants). The male lion will eat first, followed by lionesses, and then cubs. A male lion reaches maturity at 4-5 years and is then exiled from the pride. When a new male takes over a pride, the male will kill off existing cubs (less than 2 years old), and lioness are not immediately fertile until existing cubs become adults, are killed, or leave the pride. Lions live 10-14 years in the wild.
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