The lion (Panthera leo) is a species in the family Felidae; it is a muscular, deep-chested cat with a short, rounded head, a reduced neck and round ears, and a hairy tuft at the end of its tail. The lion is sexually dimorphic; males are larger than females with a typical weight range of 150 to 250 kg (330 to 550 lb) for males and 120 to 182 kg (265 to 400 lb) for females. Male lions have a prominent mane, which is the most recognisable feature of the species. A lion pride consists of a few adult males, related females and cubs. Groups of female lions typically hunt together, preying mostly on large ungulates. The species is an apex and keystone predator, although they scavenge when opportunities occur. Some lions have been known to hunt humans, although the species typically does not.
Typically, the lion inhabits grasslands and savannas but is absent in dense forests. It is usually more diurnal than other big cats, but when persecuted it adapts to being active at night and at twilight. In the Pleistocene, the lion ranged throughout Eurasia, Africa and North America but today it has been reduced to fragmented populations in Sub-Saharan Africa and one critically endangered population in western India. It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996 because populations in African countries have declined by about 43% since the early 1990s. Lion populations are untenable outside designated protected areas. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are the greatest causes for concern.
One of the most widely recognised animal symbols in human culture, the lion has been extensively depicted in sculptures and paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature. Lions have been kept in menageries since the time of the Roman Empire and have been a key species sought for exhibition in zoological gardens across the world since the late 18th century. Cultural depictions of lions were prominent in the Upper Paleolithic period; carvings and paintings from the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves in France have been dated to 17,000 years ago, and depictions have occurred in virtually all ancient and medieval cultures that coincided with the lion's former and current ranges.
Temporal range: Pleistocene–Present
|Male lion in Okonjima, Namibia|
|Female (lioness) in Okonjima|
|Historical and present distribution of Panthera leo in Africa, Asia and Europe|
In 1758, Carl Linnaeus described the lion in his work Systema Naturae and gave it the scientific name Felis leo. Between the mid-18th and mid-20th centuries, 26 lion specimens were described and proposed as subspecies, of which 11 were recognised as valid in 2005. They were distinguished on the basis of appearance, size and colour of mane. Because these characteristics show much variation between individuals, most of these forms were probably not true subspecies, especially because they were often based upon museum material with "striking, but abnormal" morphological characteristics.
Based on the morphology of 58 lion skulls in three European museums, the subspecies krugeri, nubica, persica and senegalensis were assessed distinct but bleyenberghi overlapped with senegalensis and krugeri. The Asiatic lion persica was the most distinctive and the Cape lion had characteristics allying it more with persica than the other sub-Saharan lions.
The lion's closest relatives are the other species of the genus Panthera; the tiger, snow leopard, jaguar, and leopard. Results of phylogenetic studies published in 2006 and 2009 indicate that the jaguar and the lion belong to one sister group that diverged about 2.06 million years ago. Results of later studies published in 2010 and 2011 indicate that the leopard and the lion belong to the same sister group, which diverged between 1.95 and 3.10 million years ago. Hybridisation between lion and snow leopard ancestors, however, may have continued until about 2.1 million years ago.
The earliest fossils recognisible as lions are found at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and dated from 1.4 to 1.2 million years ago. Lions would spread throughout the Holarctic region. The earliest fossil record in Europe was found near Pakefield in the United Kingdom and is about 680,000 years old. Fossil remains found in the Cromer Forest Bed suggest that it was of a gigantic size and represented a lineage that was genetically isolated and highly distinct from lions in Africa and Asia. It was distributed throughout Europe, across Siberia and into western Alaska via the Beringian landmass. The gradual formation of dense forest likely caused the decline of its geographic range near the end of the Late Pleistocene. Lion bones are frequently encountered in cave deposits from Eemian times, suggesting the cave lion survived in the Balkans and Asia Minor. There was probably a continuous population extending into India. Fossil lion remains were found in Pleistocene deposits in West Bengal. The cave lion became extinct about 10,000 years ago at the end of the last glacial period without mitochondrial descendants on other continents.
The American lion arose when a population of Beringian lions became isolated south of the North American continental ice sheet about 370,000 years ago. This lion spread throughout North America, but was absent from the northeast, perhaps due to the presence of dense boreal forests in the region. It was formerly believed to have colonised northwestern South America as part of the Great American Interchange. However, the fossil remains found in the tar pits of Talara, Peru were later identified as unusually large jaguars. On the other hand, fossils of a large felid from late Pleistocene localities in southern Patagonia traditionally identified as an extinct subspecies of jaguar, Panthera onca mesembrina, have been reported to be remains of a lion. American lions became extinct around 11,000 years ago.
During the last glacial maximum until about 20,000 years ago, the lion was likely distributed throughout most of Southern and Central Africa, and expanded its range northwards during the early Holocene about 10,000 to 4,000 years ago. Early phylogenetic research was focused on lions from eastern and southern parts of Africa, and already showed they can possibly be divided in two main clades; one to the west and the other to the east of the East African Rift. Lions in eastern Kenya are genetically much closer to lions in Southern Africa than to lions in Aberdare National Park in western Kenya.
In a subsequent study, tissue and bone samples of 32 lion specimens in museums were used. Results indicated lions form three phylogeographic groups: one each in Asia and North Africa, in Central Africa and in Southern Africa. Up to 480 lion samples from up to 22 countries were analysed in subsequent phylogenetic studies, with results indicating two main evolutionary lion groups. Samples of 53 lions, both wild and captive, from 15 countries were used for phylogenetic analysis. Results showed little genetic diversity among lion samples from Asia and West and Central Africa, whereas samples from East and Southern Africa revealed numerous mutations indicating this group has a longer evolutionary history. Results of subsequent phylogeographic research indicate that the lion diverged into northern and southern lineages about 245,000 years ago. Extinction of lions in southern Europe and the Middle East interrupted gene flow between lions in Asia and Africa.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, several lion type specimens were described and proposed as subspecies, with about a dozen recognised as valid taxa until 2017. Between 2008 and 2016, IUCN Red List assessors used only two subspecific names: P. l. leo for African lion populations and P. l. persica for the Asiatic lion population. In 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group revised lion taxonomy, and recognises two subspecies based on results of several phylogeographic studies on lion evolution, namely:
More than 190 lion samples were available for phylogeographic research, including eight wild lion samples from the Ethiopian Highlands. Three of them originated in the Ogaden Region, Gambela and Bale Mountains National Parks and clustered with lion samples from Chad and Cameroon. Five lion samples from other areas in Ethiopia clustered with lion samples from East Africa. Scientists therefore assume that Ethiopia is a contact zone between the two subspecies.
Other lion subspecies or sister species to the modern lion existed in prehistoric times:
Lions have been bred with tigers, most often the Siberian and Bengal tigers, to create hybrids called "ligers" and "tiglons" or "tigons". They also have been crossed with leopards to produce "leopons". Such hybrid breeding is now discouraged because of the emphasis on conserving species and subspecies. Hybrids are still bred in private menageries and in zoos in China.(in Chamorro)
The liger is a cross between a male lion and a tigress. Because the growth-inhibiting gene from the tiger mother is absent, the growth-promoting gene passed on by the lion father is unimpeded by a regulating gene and the resulting liger grows far larger than either parent. The liger inherits the physical and behavioural qualities of both parent species; for example, its coat has both spots and stripes on a sandy background. Male ligers are sterile but females often are fertile. Males have about a 50% chance of having a mane, which will be around 50% the size of a pure-bred lion mane. Ligers are much bigger than normal lions and tigers; they are typically 3.65 m (12.0 ft) in length, and can weigh up to 500 kg (1,100 lb).
The less-common tiglon or tigon is a cross between a lioness and a male tiger. In contrast to ligers, tigons are often relatively small in comparison with their parents because of reciprocal gene effects.
The lion is a muscular, deep-chested cat with a short, rounded head, a reduced neck and round ears. Its fur varies in colour from light buff to silvery grey, yellowish red and dark brown. The colours of the underparts are generally lighter. When they are born, have dark spots on their bodies; these spots fade as the cubs reach adulthood, although faint spots often may still be seen on the legs and underparts. The lion is the only member of the cat family that displays obvious sexual dimorphism. Males are more robust than females; they have broader heads and a prominent mane that grows downwards and backwards to cover most of the head, neck, shoulders, and chest. The mane is typically brownish and tinged with yellow, rust and black hairs. The tail ends in a dark, hairy tuft that in some lions conceals an approximately 5 mm (0.20 in)-long, hard "spine" or "spur" that is formed from the final, fused sections of tail bone. The functions of the spur are unknown. The tuft is absent at birth and develops at around 5 1⁄2 months of age and is readily identifiable by the age of seven months.
Of the living felid species, the lion is rivaled only by the tiger in length, weight and height at the shoulder. Its skull is very similar to that of the tiger, although the frontal region is usually more depressed and flattened, and has a slightly shorter postorbital region and broader nasal openings than those of the tiger. Due to the amount of skull variation in the two species, usually only the structure of the lower jaw can be used as a reliable indicator of species. The size and weight of adult lions varies across global range and habitats. Accounts of a few individuals that were larger than average exist from Africa and India.
|Average||Female lions||Male lions|
|Head-and-body length||160–184 cm (63–72 in)||184–208 cm (72–82 in)|
|Tail length||72–89.5 cm (28.3–35.2 in)||82.5–93.5 cm (32.5–36.8 in)|
|Weight||90.5–138 kg (200–304 lb),
124.2–139.8 kg (274–308 lb) in Southern Africa,
119.5 kg (263 lb) in East Africa,
110–120 kg (240–260 lb) in India
|155–169 kg (342–373 lb),|
187.5–193.3 kg (413–426 lb) in Southern Africa,
174.9 kg (386 lb) in East Africa,
160–190 kg (350–420 lb) in India
The lion's mane is the most recognisable feature of the species. It starts growing when lions are about a year old. Mane colour varies and darkens with age; research shows its colour and size are influenced by environmental factors such as average ambient temperature. Mane length apparently signals fighting success in male–male relationships; darker-maned individuals may have longer reproductive lives and higher offspring survival, although they suffer in the hottest months of the year. The presence, absence, colour and size of the mane are associated with genetic precondition, sexual maturity, climate and testosterone production; the rule of thumb is that a darker, fuller mane indicates a healthier animal. In Serengeti National Park, female lions favour males with dense, dark manes as mates. The main purpose of the mane is thought be the protection of the neck and throat in territorial fights with rivals. Cool ambient temperature in European and North American zoos may result in a heavier mane. Asiatic lions usually have sparser manes than average African lions.
Almost all male lions in Pendjari National Park are either maneless or have very short manes. Maneless lions have also been reported in Senegal, in Sudan's Dinder National Park and in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya. The original male white lion from Timbavati was also maneless. The hormone testosterone has been linked to mane growth; castrated lions often have little to no mane because the removal of the gonads inhibits testosterone production. Increased testosterone may be the cause of maned lionesses reported in northern Botswana.
Cave paintings of extinct European cave lions almost exclusively show hunting animals without a mane; some suggest that this is evidence they were indeed maneless. Because the hunting usually involved groups of lionesses, however, this presumption remains unproven. In the Chauvet Cave is a sketchy drawing of two maneless lions. One lion is mostly obscured by the other; the obscuring lion is larger than the obscured one and is depicted with a scrotum.
The white lion is a rare morph with a genetic condition called leucism that is caused by a double recessive allele. It is not albino; it has normal pigmentation in the eyes and skin. White lions have occasionally been encountered in and around Kruger National Park and the adjacent Timbavati Private Game Reserve in eastern South Africa. They were removed from the wild in the 1970s, thus decreasing the white lion gene pool. Nevertheless, 17 births have been recorded in five prides between 2007 and 2015. White lions are selected for breeding in captivity. They have reportedly been bred in camps in South Africa for use as trophies to be killed during canned hunts.
Lions spend much of their time resting; they are inactive for about 20 hours per day. Although lions can be active at any time, their activity generally peaks after dusk with a period of socialising, grooming and defecating. Intermittent bursts of activity continue until dawn, when hunting most often takes place. They spend an average of two hours a day walking and 50 minutes eating.
The lion is the most social of all wild cat species, living in groups of related individuals with their offspring. Such a group is called a "pride". Groups of male lions are called "coalitions". Females form the stable social unit in a pride and do not tolerate outside females. Membership only changes with the births and deaths of lionesses, although some females leave and become nomadic. The average pride consists of around 15 lions, including several adult females and up to four males and their cubs of both sexes. Large prides, consisting of up to 30 individuals, have been observed. The sole exception to this pattern is the Tsavo lion pride that always has just one adult male. Male cubs are excluded from their maternal pride when they reach maturity at around two or three years of age.
Some lions are "nomads" that range widely and move around sporadically, either in pairs or alone. Pairs are more frequent among related males who have been excluded from their birth pride. A lion may switch lifestyles; nomads can become residents and vice versa. Interactions between prides and nomads tend to be hostile, although pride females in estrus allow nomadic males to approach them. Males spend years in a nomadic phase before gaining residence in a pride. A study undertaken in the Serengeti National Park revealed that nomadic coalitions gain residency at between 3.5 and 7.3 years of age. In Kruger National Park, dispersing male lions move more than 25 km (16 mi) away from their natal pride in search of their own territory. Females lions stay closer to their natal pride. Therefore, female lions in an area are more closely related to each other than male lions in the same area.
The area occupied by a pride is called a "pride area" whereas that occupied by a nomad is a "range". Males associated with a pride tend to stay on the fringes, patrolling their territory. The reasons for the development of sociality in lionesses – the most pronounced in any cat species – are the subject of much debate. Increased hunting success appears to be an obvious reason, but this is uncertain upon examination; coordinated hunting allows for more successful predation but also ensures non-hunting members reduce per capita calorific intake. Some females, however, take a role raising cubs that may be left alone for extended periods. Members of the pride tend to regularly play the same role in hunts and hone their skills. The health of the hunters is the primary need for the survival of the pride; hunters are the first to consume the prey at the site it is taken. Other benefits include possible kin selection – it is preferable to share food with a related lion than with a stranger – protection of the young, maintenance of territory and individual insurance against injury and hunger.
Both males and females defend the pride against intruders but the male lion is better-suited for this purpose due to its stockier, more powerful build. Some individuals consistently lead the defence against intruders, while others lag behind. Lions tend to assume specific roles in the pride; slower-moving individuals may provide other valuable services to the group. Alternatively, there may be rewards associated with being a leader that fends off intruders; the rank of lionesses in the pride is reflected in these responses. The male or males associated with the pride must defend their relationship with the pride from outside males who may attempt to usurp them.
Asiatic lion prides differ from African prides in group composition. Male Asiatic lions are solitary or associate with up to three males, forming a loose pride. Pairs of males rest and feed together, and display marking behaviour at the same sites. Females associate with up to 12 other females, forming a stronger pride together with their cubs. They share large carcasses with each other but seldom share food with males. Female and male lions associate only when mating. Coalitions of males hold territory for a longer time than single lions. Males in coalitions of three or four individuals exhibit a pronounced hierarchy, in which one male dominates the others. Dominant males mate more frequently than their coalition partners; during a study carried out between December 2012 and December 2016, three females were observed switching mating partners in favour of the dominant male.
The lion is a generalist hypercarnivore and is considered to be both an apex and keystone predator due to its wide prey spectrum. Its prey consists mainly of mammals – particularly ungulates – weighing 190–550 kg (420–1,210 lb) with a preference for blue wildebeest, plains zebra, African buffalo, gemsbok and giraffe. They usually avoid fully grown adult elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotamus, as well as small prey like dik-dik, hyrax, hare and vervet monkey. Lions do hunt common warthog depending on availability, although the species is below the preferred weight range. Lions also attack domestic livestock that, in India, contribute significantly to their diet. Unusual prey items include porcupines and small reptiles. Lions kill other predators such as leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena but seldom consume them.
There are local differences in prey selection, and in many areas a small number of species comprise a majority of the lion's diet. In Serengeti National Park, wildebeest, zebra and Thompson's gazelle form the majority of lion prey. In Kruger National Park, giraffe, zebra and buffalo are the most commonly hunted. In Manyara Park, buffalo was estimated to constitute about 62% of the lion's meat consumption. In Gir Forest National Park in India, sambar deer and chital are the most commonly recorded wild prey. In the Okavango Delta, potential prey migrate seasonally. Up to eight species comprise three quarters of a lion's diet. The size and aquatic nature of hippopotamus means it is normally unavailable as prey but lions in Virunga National Park occasionally hunt hippopotamus calves, and in Gorongosa National Park they also take adult specimens. In the Savuti marsh in Botswana's Chobe National Park, lions have been observed hunting juvenile and sub-adult African bush elephants during the dry season, and occasionally adults, when ungulates migrate away from the area. In October 2005, a pride of up to 30 lions killed and consumed eight African bush elephants that were between four and eleven years old. The prey-to-predator weight ratio of 10–15:1 between elephants and lions is the highest ratio known among terrestrial mammals.
Young lions first display stalking behaviour at around three months of age, although they do not participate in hunting until they are almost a year old and begin to hunt effectively when nearing the age of two. Single lions are capable of bringing down prey twice their size, such as zebra and wildebeest, while hunting larger prey like giraffes and buffalo alone is too risky. Cooperatively hunting lions are usually successful. In prides, lionesses do most of the hunting. In typical hunts, each lioness has a favoured position in the group, either stalking prey on the "wing" then attacking or moving a smaller distance in the centre of the group and capturing prey fleeing from other lionesses. Males attached to prides do not usually participate in group hunting. Some evidence suggests, however, that males are just as successful as females; they are typically solo hunters who ambush prey in small bushland. Lions are not particularly known for their stamina – for instance, a lioness' heart comprises only 0.57% of her body weight and a male's is about 0.45% of his body weight, whereas a hyena's heart comprises almost 1% of its body weight. Thus, lions only run quickly in short bursts and need to be close to their prey before starting the attack. They take advantage of factors that reduce visibility; many kills take place near some form of cover or at night. Because lions are ambush hunters, human farmers have recently found that lions are easily discouraged if they think their prey has seen them. To protect their cattle from such attacks with that knowledge in mind, farmers have found it effective to paint eyes on the hindquarters of each cow, which is usually enough to make hunting lions think they have been seen and select easier prey.
The lion's attack is short and powerful; they attempt to catch prey with a fast rush and final leap, and usually kill prey by strangulation, which can cause cerebral ischemia or asphyxia and results in hypoxaemia or hypoxia. They also kill prey by enclosing its mouth and nostrils in their jaws, which also results in asphyxia. Lions typically consume prey at the location of the hunt but sometimes drag large prey into cover. They tend to squabble over kills, particularly the males. Cubs suffer most when food is scarce but otherwise all pride members eat their fill, including old and crippled lions, which can live on leftovers. Large kills are shared more widely among pride members. An adult lioness requires an average of about 5 kg (11 lb) of meat per day while males require about 7 kg (15 lb). Lions gorge themselves and eat up to 30 kg (66 lb) in one session; if it is unable to consume all of the kill, it rests for a few hours before continuing to eat. On hot days, the pride retreats to shade with one or two males standing guard. Lions defend their kills from scavengers such as vultures and hyenas.
Lions scavenge on carrion when the opportunity arises; they scavenge animals dead from natural causes such as disease or those that were killed by other predators. Scavenging lions keep a constant lookout for circling vultures, which indicate the death or distress of an animal. Most carrion on which both hyenas and lions feed upon are killed by hyenas rather than lions. Carrion is thought to provide a large part of lion diet.
Lions and spotted hyenas occupy a similar ecological niche and where they coexist they compete for prey and carrion; a review of data across several studies indicates a dietary overlap of 58.6%. Lions typically ignore spotted hyenas unless the lions are on a kill or are being harassed by the hyenas, while the latter tend to visibly react to the presence of lions, with or without the presence of food. Lions seize the kills of spotted hyenas; in the Ngorongoro crater it is common for lions to subsist largely on kills stolen from hyenas, causing the hyenas to increase their kill rate. In Botswana's Chobe National Park, the situation is reversed; hyenas frequently challenge lions and steal their kills, obtaining food from 63% of all lion kills. When confronted on a kill by lions, spotted hyenas may either leave or wait patiently at a distance of 30–100 m (100–330 ft) until the lions have finished. Hyenas are bold enough to feed alongside lions and to force the lions off a kill. The two species attack one another even when there is no food involved for no apparent reason. Lion predation can account for up to 71% of hyena deaths in Etosha National Park. Spotted hyenas have adapted by frequently mobbing lions that enter their territories. When the lion population in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve declined, the spotted hyena population increased rapidly. Experiments on captive spotted hyenas show that specimens without prior experience with lions act indifferently to the sight of them, but will react fearfully to lion scent. The size of male lions allows them to occasionally confront hyenas in otherwise evenly matched brawls and decide the balance in favour of the lions.
Lions tend to dominate smaller felids such as cheetahs and leopards where they coexist; lions steal the kills and kill the cubs – and even adults when given the chance. The cheetah in particular has a 50% chance of losing its kills to lions or other predators. Lions are major killers of cheetah cubs, in one study accounting for up to 78.2% of predator-killed juveniles. Cheetahs avoid their competitors by using different temporal (time) and spatial (habitat) niches. Leopards are able to take refuge in trees; lionesses, however, will occasionally be successful in climbing to retrieve leopard kills. Lions similarly dominate African wild dogs, taking their kills and preying on young and rarely adult dogs. Population densities of wild dogs are low in areas where lions are more abundant. However, there are a few reported cases of old and wounded lions falling prey to wild dogs. Lions may also conflict with Nile crocodiles; depending on the sizes of the crocodile and the lion, either can lose kills or carrion to the other. Lions have been known to kill crocodiles venturing onto land, while the reverse is true for lions entering waterways, evidenced by the occasional lion claw found in crocodile stomachs.
Most lionesses reproduce by the time they are four years of age. Lions do not mate at a specific time of year and the females are polyestrous. Like those of other cats, the male lion's penis has spines that point backward. During withdrawal of the penis, the spines rake the walls of the female's vagina, which may cause ovulation. A lioness may mate with more than one male when she is in heat.
Generation length of the lion is about seven years. The average gestation period is around 110 days; the female gives birth to a litter of between one and four cubs in a secluded den, which may be a thicket, a reed-bed, a cave, or some other sheltered area, usually away from the pride. She will often hunt alone while the cubs are still helpless, staying relatively close to the den. Lion cubs are born blind – their eyes open around seven days after birth. They weigh 1.2–2.1 kg (2.6–4.6 lb) at birth and are almost helpless, beginning to crawl a day or two after birth and walking around three weeks of age. To avoid a buildup of scent attracting the attention of predators, the lioness moves her cubs to a new den site several times a month, carrying them one-by-one by the nape of the neck.
Usually, the mother does not integrate herself and her cubs back into the pride until the cubs are six to eight weeks old. Sometimes this introduction to pride life occurs earlier, particularly if other lionesses have given birth at about the same time. Pride lionesses often synchronise their reproductive cycles and communal rearing and suckling of the young, which suckle indiscriminately from any or all of the nursing females in the pride. The synchronization of births is advantageous because the cubs grow to being roughly the same size and have an equal chance of survival, and sucklings are not dominated by older cubs.
When first introduced to the rest of the pride, lion cubs lack confidence when confronted with adults other than their mother. They soon begin to immerse themselves in the pride life, however, playing among themselves or attempting to initiate play with the adults. Lionesses with cubs of their own are more likely to be tolerant of another lioness's cubs than lionesses without cubs. Male tolerance of the cubs varies – sometimes a male will patiently let the cubs play with his tail or his mane, whereas another may snarl and bat the cubs away.
Weaning occurs after six or seven months. Male lions reach maturity at about three years of age and at four to five years are capable of challenging and displacing adult males associated with another pride. They begin to age and weaken at between 10 and 15 years of age at the latest. When one or more new males oust the previous males associated with a pride, the victors often kill any existing young cubs, perhaps because females do not become fertile and receptive until their cubs mature or die. Females often fiercely defend their cubs from a usurping male but are rarely successful unless a group of three or four mothers within a pride join forces against the male. Cubs also die from starvation and abandonment, and predation by leopards, hyenas and wild dogs. Up to 80% of lion cubs will die before the age of two.
Both male and female lions may be ousted from prides to become nomads, although most females usually remain with their birth pride. When a pride becomes too large, however, the youngest generation of female cubs may be forced to leave to find their own territory. When a new male lion takes over a pride, adolescent lions – both male and female – may be evicted.
Lions of both sexes may interact homosexually. Lions are shown to be involved in group homosexual and courtship activities; males will also head-rub and roll around with each other before simulating sex together.
Although adult lions have no natural predators, evidence suggests most die violently from attacks by humans or other lions. Lions often inflict serious injuries on members of other prides they encounter in territorial disputes or members of the home pride when fighting at a kill. Crippled lions and cubs may fall victim to hyenas and leopards or be trampled by buffalo or elephants. Careless lions may be maimed when hunting prey.
Ticks commonly infest the ears, neck and groin regions of lions. Adult forms of several species of the tapeworm genus Taenia have been isolated from lion intestines, having been ingested as larvae in antelope meat. Lions in the Ngorongoro Crater were afflicted by an outbreak of stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) in 1962; this resulted in lions becoming emaciated and covered in bloody, bare patches. Lions sought unsuccessfully to evade the biting flies by climbing trees or crawling into hyena burrows; many perished or migrated and the local population dropped from 70 to 15 individuals. A more recent outbreak in 2001 killed six lions.
Lions, especially those in captivity, are vulnerable to the canine distemper virus (CDV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). CDV is spread by domestic dogs and other carnivores; a 1994 outbreak in Serengeti National Park resulted in many lions developing neurological symptoms such as seizures. During the outbreak, several lions died from pneumonia and encephalitis. FIV, which is similar to HIV – while not known to adversely affect lions – is worrisome enough in its effect in domestic cats that the Species Survival Plan recommends systematic testing in captive lions. The virus occurs with high-to-endemic frequency in several wild lion populations but is mostly absent from Asiatic and Namibian lions.
When resting, lion socialisation occurs through a number of behaviours; the animal's expressive movements are highly developed. The most common peaceful, tactile gestures are head rubbing and social licking, which have been compared with grooming in primates. Head rubbing – the nuzzling of the forehead, face and neck against another lion – appears to be a form of greeting and is seen often after an animal has been apart from others or after a fight or confrontation. Males tend to rub other males, while cubs and females rub females. Social licking often occurs in tandem with head rubbing; it is generally mutual and the recipient appears to express pleasure. The head and neck are the most common parts of the body licked; this behaviour may have arisen out of utility because lions cannot lick these areas themselves.
A captive lion in India roaring
Lions have an array of facial expressions and body postures that serve as visual gestures. A common facial expression is the "grimace face" or flehmen response, which a lion makes when sniffing chemical signals and involves an open mouth with bared teeth, raised muzzle, wrinkled nose closed eyes and relaxed ears. Lions also use chemical and visual marking; males will spray and scrape plots of ground and objects within the territory.
The repertoire of vocalisations is also large; rather than discrete signals, variations in intensity and pitch appear to be central to communication. Most lion vocalisations are variations of growling, snarling, miaowing and roaring. Other sounds produced include purring, puffing, bleating and humming. Lions tend to roar in a very characteristic manner starting with a few deep, long roars that subside into a series of shorter ones. They most often roar at night; the sound, which can be heard from a distance of 8 kilometres (5.0 mi), is used to advertise the animal's presence.
The lion prefers grassy plains and savannahs, scrub bordering rivers and open woodlands with bushes. It is absent from rainforest and rarely enters closed forest. On Mount Elgon, the lion has been recorded up to an elevation of 3,600 m (11,800 ft) and close to the snow line on Mount Kenya. Lions occur in savannah grasslands with scattered Acacia trees, which serve as shade.
In Africa, the range of the lion originally spanned most of the central rainforest zone and the Sahara desert. In the 1960s, it became extinct in North Africa, except in the southern part of Sudan.
In Eurasia, the lion once ranged from Greece to India; Herodotus reported that lions had been common in Greece in 480 BC; they attacked the baggage camels of the Persian king Xerxes on his march through the country. Aristotle considered them rare by 300 BC, and by 100 AD, they had been extirpated. Until the 10th century, lions survived in the Caucasus, their last European outpost. The species was eradicated in Palestine by the Middle Ages, and from most of the rest of Asia after the arrival of readily available firearms in the 18th century. Between the late 19th and late 20th centuries, it became extinct in Southwest Asia. By the late 19th century, the lion had been extirpated in most of northern India and Turkey. The last live lion in Iran was sighted in 1942, about 65 km (40 mi) northwest of Dezful. The corpse of a lioness was found on the banks of the Karun river, Khūzestān Province, in 1944. There are no subsequent reliable reports from Iran.
Most lions now live in East and Southern Africa; their numbers are rapidly decreasing, and fell by an estimated 30–50% each 20 years in the late half of the 20th century. The species is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. In 1975, it was estimated that since the 1950s, lion numbers decreased by half to 200,000 or fewer. Estimates of the African lion population range between 16,500 and 47,000 living in the wild in 2002–2004. Primary causes of the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered to be the most significant threats to the species.
The Ewaso Lions Project protects lions in the Samburu National Reserve, Buffalo Springs National Reserve and Shaba National Reserve of the Ewaso Ng'iro ecosystem in northern Kenya. Outside these areas, the problems arising from lions' interaction with humans and their livestock usually results in the killing of the lions.
Zambia's Kafue National Park is a key refuge for lions where frequent, uncontrolled bushfires combined with hunting of lions and prey species limits the ability of the lion population to recover. When favourable habitat is inundated in the wet season, lions expand home ranges and travel greater distances, and cub mortality is high.
The West African lion population is isolated from the one in Central Africa, with little or no exchange of breeding individuals. In 2015, it was estimated that this population consists of about 400 animals, including fewer than 250 mature individuals. They persist in three protected areas in the region, mostly in one population in the WAP protected area complex, shared by Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. This population is listed as Critically Endangered. Field surveys in the WAP ecosystem revealed that lion occupancy is lowest in the W National Park, and higher in areas with permanent staff and thus better protection. A population occurs in Cameroon's Waza National Park, where between approximately 14 and 21 animals persisted as of 2009. In addition, 50 to 150 lions in are estimated to be present in Burkina Faso's Arly-Singou ecosystem. In 2015, an adult male lion and a female lion were sighted in Ghana's Mole National Park. These were the first sightings of lions in the country in 39 years.
In Gabon's Batéké Plateau National Park, a single male lion was repeatedly recorded by camera-traps between January 2015 and September 2017. Five hair samples from this lion were collected and compared with samples from museum specimens that had been shot in the area in 1959. Genetic analysis showed the Batéké lion is closely related to lions killed in this region in the past. The samples grouped it with lion samples from Namibia and Botswana, raising the possibility that the Batéké lion either dispersed from a Southern African lion population or is a survivor of the ancestral Batéké population that was considered to be extinct since the late 1990s.
In the Republic of the Congo, Odzala-Kokoua National Park was considered a lion stronghold in the 1990s. By 2014, no lions were recorded in the protected area so the population is considered locally extinct. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are about 150 lions in Garamba National Park, and 90 in Virunga National Park; he latter form a contiguous population with lions in Uganda. In 2010, the lion population in Uganda was estimated at 408 ± 46 individuals in three protected areas including Queen Elizabeth National Park. Little is known about lion distribution and population sizes in adjacent South Sudan. In Sudan, lions were reported in Southern Darfur and Southern Kordofan provinces in the 1980s.
The last refuge of the Asiatic lion population is the 1,412 km2 (545 sq mi) Gir Forest National Park and surrounding areas in the region of Saurashtra or Kathiawar Peninsula in Gujarat State, India. The population has risen from approximately 180 lions in 1974 to about 400 in 2010. It is geographically isolated, which can lead to inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity. Since 2008, the Asiatic lion has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. By 2015, the population had grown to 523 individuals inhabiting an area of 7,000 km2 (2,700 sq mi) in Saurashtra. The Asiatic Lion Census conducted in 2017 recorded about 650 individuals.
The presence of numerous human habitations close to the National Park results in conflict between lions, local people and their livestock. Some consider the presence of lions a benefit, as they keep populations of crop damaging herbivores in check. The establishment of a second, independent Asiatic lion population in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Madhya Pradesh was planned but in 2017, the Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project seemed unlikely to be implemented.
Lions are included in the Species Survival Plan, a coordinated attempt by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to increase its chances of survival. The plan was started in 1982 for the Asiatic lion, but was suspended when it was found that most Asiatic lions in North American zoos were not genetically pure, having been hybridised with African lions. The African lion plan started in 1993, and focused on the South African population, although there are difficulties in assessing the genetic diversity of captive lions because most individuals are of unknown origin, making the maintenance of genetic diversity a problem. Breeding programs need to note origins to avoid breeding different subspecies and thus reducing their conservation value. Several Asiatic-African lion crosses, however, have been bred.
The former popularity of the Barbary lion as a zoo animal means captive lions are likely descended from Barbary lion stock. This includes lions at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England, that allegedly descended from animals owned by the King of Morocco. Another eleven animals thought to be Barbary lions kept in Addis Ababa Zoo are descendants of animals owned by Emperor Haile Selassie. WildLink International in collaboration with Oxford University launched an ambitious International Barbary Lion Project with the aim of identifying and breeding Barbary lions in captivity for eventual reintroduction into a national park in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
Approximately 77% of the captive lions registered in the International Species Information System in 2006 were of unknown origin; these animals might have carried genes that are extinct in the wild and may therefore be important to the maintenance of the overall genetic variability of the lion. Lions imported to Europe before the middle of the 19th century were possibly foremost Barbary lions from North Africa, or Cape lions from Southern Africa.
Lions are part of a group of exotic animals that have been central to zoo exhibits since the late 18th century; members of this group are invariably large vertebrates and include elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, large primates and other big cats; zoos sought to gather as many of these species as possible. Although many modern zoos are more selective about their exhibits, there are more than 1,000 African and 100 Asiatic lions in zoos and wildlife parks around the world. They are considered an ambassador species and are kept for tourism, education and conservation purposes. Lions can reach an age of over 20 years in captivity; Apollo, a resident lion of Honolulu Zoo in Honolulu, Hawaii, died at age 22 in August 2007. His two sisters, born in 1986, were still alive in August 2007.
At the ancient Egyptian cities of Taremu and Per-Bast were temples dedicated to the lion goddesses of Egypt, Sekhmet and Bast, and at Taremu there was a temple dedicated to the son of the deity Maahes the lion prince, where lions were kept and allowed to roam within the temple. The Greeks called the city Leontopolis ("City of Lions") and documented that practice. Lions were kept and bred by Assyrian kings as early as 850 BC, and Alexander the Great was said to have been presented with tame lions by the Malhi of northern India. In Ancient Rome, lions were kept by emperors to take part in the gladiator arenas or were used for executions (see bestiarii, damnatio ad bestias, and venatio). Roman notables including Sulla, Pompey and Julius Caesar often ordered the mass slaughter of hundreds of lions at a time. In India, lions were tamed by Indian princes. Marco Polo reported that Kublai Khan kept lions.
The first European "zoos" spread among noble and royal families in the 13th century, and until the 17th century were called seraglios; at that time they came to be called menageries, an extension of the cabinet of curiosities. They spread from France and Italy during the Renaissance to the rest of Europe. In England, although the seraglio tradition was less developed, lions were kept at the Tower of London in a seraglio established by King John in the 13th century; this was probably stocked with animals from an earlier menagerie started in 1125 by Henry I at his hunting lodge in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, where according to William of Malmesbury lions had been stocked.
Seraglios served as expressions of the nobility's power and wealth; animals – particularly big cats and elephants – symbolised power and were pitted against each other or domesticated animals in fights. By extension, menageries and seraglios served as demonstrations of the dominance of humanity over nature; the defeat of such natural "lords" by a cow in 1682 astonished spectators and the flight of an elephant before a rhinoceros drew jeers. The frequency of such fights slowly declined in the 17th century with the spread of menageries and their appropriation by commoners. The tradition of keeping big cats as pets lasted into the 19th century, at which time it was seen as highly eccentric.
The presence of lions at the Tower of London was intermittent, being restocked when a monarch or his consort, such as Margaret of Anjou the wife of Henry VI, either sought or were given animals. Records indicate animals in the Tower of London were kept in poor conditions in the 17th century, in contrast to more open conditions in Florence at the time. The menagerie was open to the public by the 18th century; admission was a sum of three half-pence or the supply of a cat or dog for feeding to the lions. A rival menagerie at the Exeter Exchange also exhibited lions until the early 19th century. The Tower menagerie was closed by William IV, and the animals were transferred to London Zoo, which opened to the public on 27 April 1828.
The trade in wild animals flourished alongside improved colonial trade of the 19th century; lions were considered fairly common and inexpensive. Although they would barter higher than tigers, they were less costly than larger or more difficult-to-transport animals such as the giraffe and hippopotamus, and much less than giant pandas. Like other animals, lions were seen as little more than a natural, boundless commodity that was mercilessly exploited with terrible losses in capture and transportation.
Lions were kept in cramped and squalid conditions at London Zoo until a larger lion house with roomier cages was built in the 1870s. Further changes took place in the early 20th century when Carl Hagenbeck designed enclosures with concrete "rocks", more open space and a moat instead of bars, more closely resembling a natural habitat. Hagenbeck designed lion enclosures for both Melbourne Zoo and Sydney's Taronga Zoo; although his designs were popular, the use of bars and caged enclosures prevailed in many zoos until the 1960s. In the late 20th century, larger, more natural enclosures and the use of wire mesh or laminated glass instead of lowered dens allowed visitors to come closer than ever to the animals; some attractions such as the Cat Forest/Lion Overlook of Oklahoma City Zoological Park placed the den on ground level, higher than visitors.
Lion hunting has occurred since ancient times and was often a royal pastime. The earliest surviving record of lion hunting is an ancient Egyptian inscription dated circa 1380 BC that mentions Pharaoh Amenhotep III killing 102 lions "with his own arrows" during the first ten years of his rule. The Assyrians would release captive lions in a reserved space for the king to hunt; this event would be watched by spectators as the king and his men, on horseback or chariots, killed the lions with arrows and spears. Lions were also hunted during the Mughal Empire, where Emperor Jahangir is said to have excelled at it. Royal hunting of lions was intended to demonstrate the power of the king over nature.
The Maasai people have traditionally viewed the killing of lions as a rite of passage. Historically, lions were hunted by individuals, however, due to reduced lion populations, elders discourage solo lion hunts. During the European colonisation of Africa in the 19th century, the hunting of lions was encouraged because they were considered as vermin and lion hides fetched £1 each. The widely reproduced imagery of the heroic hunter chasing lions would dominate a large part of the century. Explorers and hunters exploited a popular Manichean division of animals into "good" and "evil" to add thrilling value to their adventures, casting themselves as heroic figures. This resulted in big cats being always suspected of being man-eaters, representing "both the fear of nature and the satisfaction of having overcome it". Trophy hunting of lions in recent years has been met with controversy; the killing of Cecil the lion in mid-2015 by an American tourist created a significant international backlash against the hunter and of the practice of hunting lions.
Lion-baiting is a blood sport involving the baiting of lions in combat with other animals, usually dogs. Records of it exist in ancient times through until the seventeenth century. It was finally banned in Vienna by 1800 and England in 1835.
Lion taming refers to the practice of taming lions for entertainment, either as part of an established circus or as an individual act such as Siegfried & Roy. The term is also often used for the taming and display of other big cats such as tigers, leopards and cougars. The practice began in the early 19th century by Frenchman Henri Martin and American Isaac Van Amburgh, who both toured widely and whose techniques were copied by a number of followers. Van Amburgh performed before Queen Victoria in 1838 when he toured Great Britain. Martin composed a pantomime titled Les Lions de Mysore ("the lions of Mysore"), an idea that Amburgh quickly borrowed. These acts eclipsed equestrianism acts as the central display of circus shows and entered public consciousness in the early 20th century with cinema. In demonstrating the superiority of human over animal, lion taming served a purpose similar to animal fights of previous centuries. The ultimate proof of a tamer's dominance and control over a lion is demonstrated by the placing of the tamer's head in the lion's mouth. The now-iconic lion tamer's chair was possibly first used by American Clyde Beatty (1903–1965).
Lions do not usually hunt humans but some – usually males – seem to seek them out. One well-publicised case is the Tsavo maneaters; in 1898, 28 officially recorded railway workers building the Kenya-Uganda Railway were taken by lions over nine months during the construction of a bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya. The hunter who killed the lions wrote a book detailing the animals' predatory behaviour; they were larger than normal and lacked manes, and one seemed to suffer from tooth decay. The infirmity theory, including tooth decay, is not favoured by all researchers; an analysis of teeth and jaws of man-eating lions in museum collections suggests that while tooth decay may explain some incidents, prey depletion in human-dominated areas is a more likely cause of lion predation on humans.
In their analysis of man-eating – including the Tsavo incident – Kerbis Peterhans and Gnoske acknowledge that sick or injured animals may be more prone to man-eating but that the behaviour is "not unusual, nor necessarily 'aberrant'" where the opportunity exists; if inducements such as access to livestock or human corpses are present, lions will regularly prey upon human beings. The authors note the relationship is well-attested among other pantherines and primates in the fossil record.
The lion's proclivity for man-eating has been systematically examined. American and Tanzanian scientists report that man-eating behaviour in rural areas of Tanzania increased greatly from 1990 to 2005. At least 563 villagers were attacked and many eaten over this period – a number far exceeding the Tsavo attacks. The incidents occurred near Selous National Park in Rufiji District and in Lindi Province near the Mozambican border. While the expansion of villages into bush country is one concern, the authors argue conservation policy must mitigate the danger because in this case, conservation contributes directly to human deaths. Cases in Lindi in which lions seize humans from the centres of substantial villages have been documented. Another study of 1,000 people attacked by lions in southern Tanzania between 1988 and 2009 found that the weeks following the full moon, when there was less moonlight, were a strong indicator of increased night-time attacks on people.
According to Robert R. Frump, Mozambican refugees regularly crossing Kruger National Park, South Africa, at night are attacked and eaten by lions; park officials have said man-eating is a problem there. Frump said thousands may have been killed in the decades after apartheid sealed the park and forced refugees to cross the park at night. For nearly a century before the border was sealed, Mozambicans had regularly crossed the park in daytime with little harm.
Packer estimates between 200 and 400 Tanzanians are killed each year by wild animals and that lions are thought to kill at least 70 of these. According to Packer between 1990 and 2004, lions attacked 815 people in Tanzania and killed 563. Packer and Ikanda are among the few conservationists who believe western conservation efforts must take account of these matters because of ethical concerns about human life and the long-term success of conservation efforts and lion preservation.
A man-eating lion was killed by game scouts in Southern Tanzania in April 2004. It is believed to have killed and eaten at least 35 people in a series of incidents covering several villages in the coastal Rufiji Delta region. Dr Rolf D. Baldus, the GTZ wildlife programme coordinator, said it was likely that the lion preyed on humans because it had a large abscess beneath a cracked molar and wrote, "This lion probably experienced a lot of pain, particularly when it was chewing". As in other cases this lion was large, lacked a mane, and had a tooth problem.
The "All-Africa" record of man-eating generally is considered to be a collection of incidents between the early 1930s and the late 1940s in modern-day Tanzania inflicted by a pride known as the "Njombe lions". Game warden and hunter George Rushby eventually dispatched the pride, which over three generations is thought to have killed and eaten 1,500 to 2,000 people in Njombe district.
Sometimes, Asiatic lions may become man-eaters. The area of the Gir sanctuary is now insufficient to sustain their large number and lions have moved outside it, making them a potential threat to people in and around the park. Two attacks on humans were reported in 2012 in an area about 50–60 km (31–37 mi) from the sanctuary.
The lion is one of the most widely recognised animal symbols in human culture. It has been extensively depicted in sculptures and paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature. It appeared as a symbol for strength and nobility in cultures across Europe, Asia and Africa, despite incidents of attacks on people. The lion has been depicted as "king of the jungle" and "king of beasts", and thus became a popular symbol for royalty and stateliness.
Depictions of lions are known from the Upper Paleolithic period. Carvings and paintings of lions discovered in the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves in France have been dated to 15,000 to 17,000 years old. A lioness-headed ivory carving found in Vogelherd cave in the Swabian Alb, south-west Germany, is dubbed Löwenmensch (lion-human) in German. The sculpture has been dated to least 32,000 years old – and as early as 40,000 years ago –  and originated from the Aurignacian culture.
The ancient Egyptians portrayed several of their war deities as lionesses, which they revered as fierce hunters. Egyptian deities associated with lions include: Bast, Mafdet, Menhit, Pakhet, Sekhmet, Tefnut and the Sphinx. In Egypt, the avenging goddess Sekhmet, represented as a lioness, symbolized the heat of the sun. The lion was also believed to act as a guide to the underworld, through which the sun was believed to pass each night. The presence of lion-footed tombs found in Egypt and images of mummies carried on the backs of lions suggests this close association of the lions with the underworld. Partly mummified lions were excavated at the necropolis Umm El Qa'ab in a tomb of Hor-Aha, and at Saqqara in the tomb of Maïa.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, cultural views of the lion have varied by region. In some cultures, the lion symbolises power and royalty, and some rulers had the word "lion" in their nickname. For example, Marijata of the Mali Empire was given the name "Lion of Mali". Njaay, the founder of the Waalo kingdom, is said to have been raised by lions and returned to his people part-lion to unite them using the knowledge he learned from the lions. In parts of West Africa, to be compared with a lion was considered to be a great compliment. Lions were considered the top class in these cultures' social hierarchies. In more heavily forested areas where lions were rare, the leopard represented the top of the hierarchy. In Swahili, the lion is known as simba which also means "aggressive", "king" and "strong".
In parts of West and East Africa, the lion is associated with healing and is regarded as the link between seers and the supernatural. In other East African traditions, the lion is the symbol of laziness. In many folktales, lions are portrayed as having low intelligence and are easily tricked by other animals. Although lions were commonly used in stories, proverbs and dances, they rarely featured in visual arts.
The lion was a prominent symbol in ancient Mesopotamia from Sumer up to Assyrian and Babylonian times, where it was strongly associated with kingship. Lions were among the major symbols of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar. The Lion of Babylon was the foremost symbol of the Babylonian Empire. The Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal is a famous sequence of Assyrian palace reliefs from c. 640 BC, now in the British Museum. In Meopotamia, the lion was linked with the fertility goddess Ishtar and the supreme Mesopotamian god Marduk. The theme of the royal lion hunt, a common motif in the early iconography in West Asia, symbolized death and resurrection; the continuation of life was ensured by the killing of a god-like animal. In some stone reliefs depicting the Royal hunt of lions, the lion's divinity and courage are equated with the divinity and courage of the king.
The Lion of Judah is the biblical emblem of the tribe of Judah and the later Kingdom of Judah. Lions are frequently mentioned in the Bible; notably in the Book of Daniel in which the eponymous hero refuses to worship King Darius and is forced to sleep in the lions' den where he is miraculously unharmed (Dan 6). In the Book of Judges, Samson kills a lion as he travels to visit a Philistine woman.(Judg 14). The power and ferocity of the lion is invoked when describing the anger of God (Amos 3:4–8, Lam 3:10) and the menace of Israel's enemies (Psm 17:12, Jer 2:30) and Satan (1 Pet 5:8). The book of Isaiah uses the imagery of a lion laying with a calf and child, and eating straw to portray the harmony of creation (Isa 11:6–7). In the Book of Revelation, a lion, an ox, a man and an eagle are seen on a heavenly throne in John's vision;(Rev 4:7) the early Christian Church used this image to symbolise the four gospels, the lion symbolising the Gospel of Mark.
In the Puranic texts of Hinduism, Narasimha ("man-lion") a half-lion, half-man incarnation or avatar of Vishnu, is worshipped by his devotees and saved the child devotee Prahlada from his father, the evil demon king Hiranyakashipu; Vishnu takes the form of half-man, half-lion] creature in Narasimha, where he has a human torso and lower body, and a lion-like face and claws. Singh is an ancient Indian vedic name meaning "lion", dating back over 2,000 years in ancient India. It was originally used only by Rajputs, a Hindu Kshatriya or military caste. After the birth of the Khalsa brotherhood in 1699, the Sikhs also adopted the name "Singh" due to the wishes of Guru Gobind Singh. Along with millions of Hindu Rajputs today, it is also used by over 20 million Sikhs worldwide.
The Asiatic lion is found as an emblem on numerous flags and coats of arms across Asia, including on the National Emblem of India. The Asiatic lion is also symbolic for the Sinhalese, Sri Lanka's ethnic majority; the term derived from the Indo-Aryan Sinhala, meaning the "lion people" or "people with lion blood", while a sword-wielding lion is the central figure on the national flag of Sri Lanka.
The Asiatic lion is a common motif in Chinese art; it was first used in art during the late Spring and Autumn period (fifth or sixth century BC) and became more popular during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) when imperial guardian lions started to be placed in front of imperial palaces for protection. Because lions have never been native to China, early depictions were somewhat unrealistic; after the introduction of Buddhist art to China in the Tang Dynasty after the sixth century AD, lions were usually depicted wingless with shorter, thicker bodies and curly manes. The lion dance is a traditional dance in Chinese culture in which performers in lion costumes mimic a lion's movements, often with musical accompaniment from cymbals, drums and gongs. They are performed at Chinese New Year, the August Moon Festival and other celebratory occasions for good luck.
Singapore derives its name from the Malay words singa (lion) and pora (city/fortress), which in turn is from the Tamil-Sanskrit சிங்க singa सिंह siṃha and पुर புர pura, which is cognate to the Greek πόλις, pólis. According to the Malay Annals, this name was given by a fourteenth-century Sumatran Malay prince Sang Nila Utama, who, on alighting the island after a thunderstorm, spotted an auspicious beast that appeared to be a lion on the shore.
Lion-headed figures and amulets were excavated in tombs in the Greek islands of Crete, Euboea, Rhodes, Paros and Chios. They are associated with the Egyptian deity Sekhmet and date to the early Iron Age between the 9th and 6th centuries BC.
The lion is featured in several of Aesop's fables, which were written in the sixth century BC. The Nemean lion was symbolic in ancient Greece and Rome, represented as the constellation and zodiac sign Leo, and described in mythology, where its skin was borne by the hero Heracles. Myths which have a hero killing a lion, such as the one in which Herakles slays the Nemean lion, symbolize victory over death. Similarly the wearing of lion skin such as the lion skin worn by Herackles also symbolizes victory over death.
"Lion" was the nickname of several medieval warrior-rulers with a reputation for bravery, such as the English King Richard the Lionheart, Henry the Lion, (German: Heinrich der Löwe), Duke of Saxony, William the Lion, King of Scotland, and Robert III of Flanders was nicknamed "The Lion of Flanders" – a major Flemish national icon.
Lions are frequently depicted on coats of arms, either as a device on shields or as supporters, but the lioness is used much less frequently. The formal language of heraldry, called blazon, employs French terms to describe the images precisely. Such descriptions specify whether lions or other creatures are "rampant" (rearing) or "passant" (crouching).
The lion is used as a symbol of sporting teams, from national association football teams such as England, Scotland and Singapore to famous clubs such as the Detroit Lions of the NFL, Chelsea and Aston Villa, a team of the English Premier League, and by the Premiership itself, Eintracht Braunschweig of the Bundesliga, and many smaller clubs around the world.
Lions continue to appear in modern literature as characters including the messianic Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and following books from The Chronicles of Narnia series written by C. S. Lewis, and the comedic Cowardly Lion in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Lion symbolism was used from the advent of cinema; one of the most iconic and widely recognised lions is Leo, which has been the mascot for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studios since the 1920s. The 1960s saw the appearance of the Kenyan lioness Elsa in the movie Born Free, which is based on the factual book of the same title. The lion's role as king of the beasts has been used in cartoons, such as the 1994 Disney animated feature film The Lion King.
Furthermore, when Asiatic lions were inadvertently bred to African lion subspecies in North America, the fecundity, reproductive success, and spermatozoal development improved dramatically (Box 3.3; O'Brien et al., 1987b).
In the fourteenth incarnation, the Lord appeared as Nrisimha and bifurcated the strong body of the atheist Hiranyakasipu with His nails, just as a carpenter pierces cane.
The Asiatic lion is a Panthera leo leo population in India. Its range is restricted to the Gir National Park and environs in the Indian state of Gujarat. On the IUCN Red List it is listed under its former scientific name Panthera leo persica as Endangered because of its small size and area of occupancy.The Asiatic lion was first described in 1826 by the Austrian zoologist Johann N. Meyer who named it Felis leo persicus. Until the 19th century, it occurred in eastern Turkey, Iran, Mesopotamia, and from east of the Indus River to Bengal and Narmada River in Central India.
Since the turn of the 20th century, it is restricted to the Gir Forest National Park and surrounding areas.
This lion population has steadily increased since 2010. In May 2015, the 14th Asiatic Lion Census was conducted over an area of about 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi); the lion population was estimated at 523 individuals, comprising 109 adult males, 201 adult females and 213 cubs. In August 2017, a similar census revealed 650 wild individuals.The lion is one of five pantherine cats inhabiting India, along with the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, snow leopard and clouded leopard. It was also known as "Indian lion" and "Persian lion".Barbary lion
The Barbary lion was a Panthera leo leo population in North Africa that is regionally extinct today. This population occurred in Barbary Coastal regions of Maghreb from the Atlas Mountains to Egypt and was eradicated following the spreading of firearms and bounties for shooting lions. A comprehensive review of hunting and sighting records revealed that small groups of lions may have survived in Algeria until the early 1960s, and in Morocco until the mid-1960s.Until 2017, the Barbary lion was considered a distinct lion subspecies.
Results of morphological and genetic analyses of lion samples from North Africa showed that the Barbary lion does not differ significantly from lion samples collected in West and northern parts of Central Africa. It falls into the same phylogeographic group as the Asiatic lion.The Barbary lion was also called 'North African lion', 'Berber lion', 'Atlas lion', and 'Egyptian lion'.Cougar
The cougar (Puma concolor), also commonly known as the puma, mountain lion, panther or catamount, is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae native to the Americas. Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the widest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types. It is the biggest cat in North America, and the second-heaviest cat in the New World after the jaguar. Secretive and largely solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although daytime sightings do occur. The cougar is more closely related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat (subfamily Felinae), than to any species of subfamily Pantherinae, of which only the jaguar is native to the Americas.
The cougar is an ambush predator that pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources are ungulates, particularly deer. It also hunts species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding to the jaguar, gray wolf, American black bear, and grizzly bear. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people. Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have recently been increasing in North America as more people enter cougar territories.Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the ongoing human development of cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the North American cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for the isolated Florida panther subpopulation. Transient males have been verified in Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois (where a cougar was shot in the city limits of Chicago), and in at least one instance, observed as far east as coastal Connecticut. Reports of eastern cougars (P. c. cougar) still surface, although it was declared extirpated in 2011.Leo (astrology)
Leo (♌) (Greek: Λέων, Leōn), is the fifth astrological sign of the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Leo. It comes after Cancer and before Virgo. The traditional Western zodiac associates Leo with the period between July 23 and August 22, and the sign spans the 120th to 150th degree of celestial longitude.
Leo is a fixed sign along with Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between July 23 and August 22 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the Sun currently transits this area from approximately August 16 to September 15. The symbol of the lion is based on the Nemean lion, a lion with an impenetrable hide. It is a northern sign and its opposite southern sign is Aquarius.Lion (2016 film)
Lion is a 2016 biographical drama film directed by Garth Davis (in his feature debut) and written by Luke Davies, based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman, as well as Abhishek Bharate, Divian Ladwa, Priyanka Bose, Deepti Naval, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sunny Pawar, and tells the true story of how Brierley, 25 years after being separated from his family in Burhanpur, sets out to find them.
The film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 10 September 2016, was given a limited release in the United States on 25 November 2016, by the Weinstein Company before opening generally on 6 January 2017. It was released in Australia on 19 January 2017 and in the United Kingdom on 20 January 2017.
Lion received six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Patel), Best Supporting Actress (Kidman) and Best Adapted Screenplay. It won two BAFTA Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Patel) and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was also commercially successful making $140 million worldwide, becoming one of the highest-grossing Australian films of all time.List of The Lion King characters
Disney's The Lion King franchise is a series of animated feature films and cartoon spin-offs, centred around the adventures of Simba, a young lion cub, as he grows up in the Pride Lands, exploring and getting into trouble with his friends. During the course of the franchise, Simba grows and matures and later takes his fathers place as King. As the series continued, an extensive cast of characters was introduced, including a new generation of the family of Pride Rock.MacOS
macOS (; previously Mac OS X and later OS X, Roman numeral "X" pronounced "ten") is a series of graphical operating systems developed and marketed by Apple Inc. since 2001. It is the primary operating system for Apple's Mac family of computers. Within the market of desktop, laptop and home computers, and by web usage, it is the second most widely used desktop OS, after Microsoft Windows.macOS is the second major series of Macintosh operating systems. The first is colloquially called the "classic" Mac OS, which was introduced in 1984, and the final release of which was Mac OS 9 in 1999. The first desktop version, Mac OS X 10.0, was released in March 2001, with its first update, 10.1, arriving later that year. After this, Apple began naming its releases after big cats, which lasted until OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Since OS X 10.9 Mavericks, releases have been named after locations in California. Apple shortened the name to "OS X" in 2012 and then changed it to "macOS" in 2016, adopting the nomenclature that they were using for their other operating systems, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The latest version is macOS Mojave, which was publicly released in September 2018.
Between 1999 and 2009, Apple sold a separate series of operating systems called Mac OS X Server. The initial version, Mac OS X Server 1.0, was released in 1999 with a user interface similar to Mac OS 8.5. After this, new versions were introduced concurrently with the desktop version of Mac OS X. Beginning with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the server functions were made available as a separate package on the Mac App Store.macOS is based on technologies developed between 1985 and 1997 at NeXT, a company that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs created after leaving the company. The "X" in Mac OS X and OS X is the Roman numeral for the number 10 and is pronounced as such. The X was a prominent part of the operating system's brand identity and marketing in its early years, but gradually receded in prominence since the release of Snow Leopard in 2009. UNIX 03 certification was achieved for the Intel version of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and all releases from Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard up to the current version also have UNIX 03 certification. macOS shares its Unix-based core, named Darwin, and many of its frameworks with iOS, tvOS and watchOS. A heavily modified version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was used for the first-generation Apple TV.
Releases of Mac OS X from 1999 to 2005 can run only on the PowerPC-based Macs from that time period. After Apple announced that they were switching to Intel CPUs from 2006 onwards, a separate version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was made and distributed exclusively with early Intel-based Macs; it included an emulator known as Rosetta, which allowed users to run most PowerPC applications on Intel-based Macs. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was the sole release to be built as a universal binary, meaning that the installer disc supported both Intel and PowerPC processors. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was the first release to be available exclusively for Intel-based Macs. In 2011, Apple released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which no longer supported 32-bit Intel processors and also did not include Rosetta. All versions of the system released since then run exclusively on 64-bit Intel CPUs and do not support PowerPC applications.Richard I of England
Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Anjou, Maine, and Nantes, and was overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period. He was the third of five sons of King Henry II of England and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine. He was known as Richard Cœur de Lion or Richard the Lionheart because of his reputation as a great military leader and warrior. He was also known in Occitan as Oc e No (Yes and No), because of his reputation for terseness.By the age of 16, Richard had taken command of his own army, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father. Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not retake Jerusalem from Saladin.Richard spoke both French and Occitan. He was born in England, where he spent his childhood; before becoming king, however, he lived most of his adult life in the Duchy of Aquitaine, in the southwest of France. Following his accession, he spent very little time, perhaps as little as six months, in England. Most of his life as king was spent on Crusade, in captivity, or actively defending his lands in France. Rather than regarding his kingdom as a responsibility requiring his presence as ruler, he has been perceived as preferring to use it merely as a source of revenue to support his armies. Nevertheless, he was seen as a pious hero by his subjects. He remains one of the few kings of England remembered by his epithet, rather than regnal number, and is an enduring iconic figure both in England and in France.Sea lion
Sea lions are sea mammals characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, short, thick hair, and a big chest and belly. Together with the fur seals, they comprise the family Otariidae, eared seals, which contains six extant and one extinct species (the Japanese sea lion) in five genera. Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the notable exception of the northern Atlantic Ocean. They have an average lifespan of 20–30 years. A male California sea lion weighs on average about 300 kg (660 lb) and is about 8 ft (2.4 m) long, while the female sea lion weighs 100 kg (220 lb) and is 6 ft (1.8 m) long. The largest sea lion is Steller's sea lion, which can weigh 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) and grow to a length of 10 ft (3.0 m). Sea lions consume large quantities of food at a time and are known to eat about 5–8% of their body weight (about 15–35 lb (6.8–15.9 kg)) at a single feeding. Sea lions can go around 16 knots in water and at their fastest they can go up to 30 knots. Three species, the Australian sea lion, the Galápagos sea lion and the New Zealand sea lion are listed as Endangered.Snoop Dogg
Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, singer, record producer, television personality, entrepreneur, and actor. His music career began in 1992 when he was discovered by Dr. Dre and featured on Dre's solo debut, "Deep Cover", and then on Dre's solo debut album, The Chronic. He has since sold over 23 million albums in the United States and 35 million albums worldwide.Snoop's debut album, Doggystyle, produced by Dr. Dre, was released in 1993 by Death Row Records. Bolstered by excitement driven by Snoop's featuring on The Chronic, the album debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Selling almost a million copies in the first week of its release, Doggystyle became certified quadruple platinum in 1994 and spawned several hit singles, including "What's My Name?" and "Gin & Juice". In 1994 Snoop released a soundtrack on Death Row Records for the short film Murder Was the Case, starring himself. His second album, Tha Doggfather (1996), also debuted at number one on both charts, with "Snoop's Upside Ya Head" as the lead single. The album was certified double platinum in 1997.
After leaving Death Row Records, Snoop signed with No Limit Records, where he recorded his next three albums, Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told (1998), No Limit Top Dogg (1999), and Tha Last Meal (2000). Snoop then signed with Priority/Capitol/EMI Records in 2002, where he released Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss. He then signed with Geffen Records in 2004 for his next three albums, R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, and Ego Trippin'. Malice 'n Wonderland (2009), and Doggumentary (2011) were released on Priority. Snoop Dogg has starred in motion pictures and hosted several television shows, including Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, Snoop Dogg's Father Hood, and Dogg After Dark. He also coaches a youth football league and high school football team. In September 2009 Snoop was hired by EMI as the chairman of a reactivated Priority Records.In 2012, after a trip to Jamaica, Snoop announced a conversion to Rastafarianism and a new alias, Snoop Lion. As Snoop Lion he released a reggae album, Reincarnated, and a documentary film of the same name, about his Jamaican experience, in early 2013. His 13th studio album, Bush, was released in May 2015 and marked a return of the Snoop Dogg name. His 14th solo studio album, Coolaid, was released in July 2016. Snoop has 17 Grammy nominations without a win. In March 2016, the night before WrestleMania 32 in Arlington, Texas, he was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame, having made several appearances for the company, including as Master of Ceremonies during a match at WrestleMania XXIV. In 2018, he released his first gospel album, Bible of Love. On November 19, 2018, Snoop Dogg was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Taraxacum
Taraxacum () is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, which consists of species commonly known as dandelions. They are native to Eurasia and North America, but the two commonplace species worldwide, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, were introduced from Europe and now propagate as wildflowers. Both species are edible in their entirety. The common name dandelion ( DAN-di-ly-ən, from French dent-de-lion, meaning "lion's tooth") is given to members of the genus. Like other members of the Asteraceae family, they have very small flowers collected together into a composite flower head. Each single flower in a head is called a floret. In part due to their abundance along with being a generalist species, dandelions are one of the most vital early spring nectar sources for a wide host of pollinators. Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, where the seeds are produced without pollination, resulting in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009), also called Teddy, was an American politician who served in the United States Senate from Massachusetts for almost 47 years, from 1962 until his death in 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the third-longest-continuously-serving senator in United States history. For four decades, Ted Kennedy was the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family, as well as its patriarch. He was also the last surviving, longest-living, and youngest son of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Kennedy. He was the youngest brother of John F. Kennedy—the 35th President of the United States—and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both victims of assassination, and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.
Ted Kennedy was 30 years old when he first entered the Senate following a November 1962 special election in Massachusetts to fill the vacant seat previously held by his brother, John, who had taken office as the president. He was elected to a full six-year term in 1964 and was later re-elected seven more times until his death. The Chappaquiddick incident in 1969 resulted in the death of his automobile passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident and later received a two-month suspended sentence. The incident and its aftermath hindered his chances of ever becoming president. His only attempt, in the 1980 election, resulted in a Democratic primary campaign loss to the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter, who was later defeated in the general election by Republican opponent Ronald Reagan.
Kennedy was known for his oratorical skills. His 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became recognized as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. Kennedy and his staff wrote more than 300 bills that were enacted into law. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government that emphasized economic and social justice, but he was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises among senators with disparate views. As such, Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the COBRA health insurance provision, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Mental Health Parity Act, the S-CHIP children's health program, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. During the 2000s, he led several unsuccessful immigration reform efforts. Over the course of his Senate career and continuing into the Barack Obama administration, Kennedy continued his efforts to enact universal health care, which he called the "cause of my life."
By the later years of his life, Kennedy had come to be viewed as a major figure and spokesman for American progressivism. In 2008, Kennedy was hospitalized after suffering a seizure and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, which limited his appearances in the Senate. He died of the disease at age 77 on August 25, 2009, at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and originally published in London between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film.
Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician's Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.
Inspiration for the series was taken from multiple sources; in addition to adapting numerous traditional Christian themes, Lewis freely borrowed characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales.
The books have profoundly influenced adult and children's fantasy literature since World War II. Lewis's exploration of themes not usually present in children's literature, such as religion, as well as the books' perceived treatment of issues including race and gender, has caused some controversy.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It is the first published and best known of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956). Among all the author's books it is also the most widely held in libraries. Although it was written as well as published first in the series, it is volume two in recent editions, which are sequenced by the stories' chronology (the first being The Magician's Nephew). Like the others, it was illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and her work has been retained in many later editions.Most of the novel is set in Narnia, a land of talking animals and mythical creatures that one White Witch has ruled for 100 years of deep winter. In the frame story, four English children are relocated to a large, old country house following a wartime evacuation. The youngest visits Narnia three times via the magic of a wardrobe in a spare room. All four children are together on her third visit, which verifies her fantastic claims and comprises the subsequent 12 of 17 chapters except for a brief conclusion. In Narnia, the siblings seem fit to fulfill an old prophecy and so are soon adventuring both to save Narnia and their lives. Lewis wrote the book for, and dedicated it to, his goddaughter Lucy Barfield. She was the daughter of Owen Barfield, Lewis's friend, teacher, adviser, and trustee.The Lion King
The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer. The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The Lion King tells the story of Simba (Swahili for lion), a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba's paternal uncle Scar murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile. Upon maturation living with two wastrels, Simba is given some valuable perspective from his childhood friend, Nala, and his shaman, Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny and take his place in the Circle of Life as the rightful King.
Development of The Lion King began in 1988 during a meeting between Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, and Peter Schneider while promoting Oliver & Company in Europe. Thomas Disch wrote a film treatment, and Woolverton developed the first scripts, while George Scribner was signed on as director, being later joined by Allers. Production began in 1991 concurrently with Pocahontas, which wound up attracting many of Disney's top animators. Some time after the staff traveled to Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya to research on the film's setting and animals, Scribner left production, disagreeing with the decision to turn the film into a musical, and was replaced by Minkoff. When Hahn joined the project, he was dissatisfied with the script and the story was promptly rewritten. Nearly 20 minutes of animation sequences were produced at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Florida. Computer animation was also used in several scenes, most notably in the wildebeest stampede sequence.
The Lion King was released on June 15, 1994, to a positive reaction from critics, who praised the film for its music, story, and animation. However, the film also drew controversy for its similarities to Osamu Tezuka's 1960s anime series Kimba the White Lion. With an initial worldwide gross of $766 million, it finished its theatrical run as the highest-grossing release of 1994 and the second-highest-grossing film of all time. It is also the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time, as well as the best-selling film on home video, having sold over 30 million VHS tapes. The Lion King garnered two Academy Awards for its achievement in music and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The film has led to many derived works, such as a Broadway adaptation; two direct-to-video follow-ups—the sequel, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998), and the prequel/parallel, The Lion King 1½ (2004); two television series, Timon and Pumbaa and The Lion Guard; and a 3D re-release, in 2011.
In 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". A CGI remake of the film directed by Jon Favreau is scheduled for a release in the United States on July 19, 2019.The Lion King (2019 film)
The Lion King is an upcoming American drama film directed by Jon Favreau and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a photorealistic computer animated remake of Disney's traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name. The film stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones.
Plans for a remake of The Lion King were confirmed in September 2016 following the success of Favreau's The Jungle Book. Much of the main cast signed in early 2017 and principal photography began in mid-2017 on a blue screen stage in Los Angeles. The film is scheduled to be released on July 19, 2019.The Lion King (musical)
The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated feature film of the same name with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, along with additional music and lyrics by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer. Directed by Taymor, the musical features actors in animal costumes as well as giant, hollow puppets. The show is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.The musical debuted on July 8, 1997 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Orpheum Theatre and was an instant success before premiering on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater on October 15, 1997 in many previews with the official opening on November 13, 1997. On June 13, 2006, the Broadway production moved to the Minskoff Theatre to make way for the musical version of Mary Poppins, where it is still running after more than 8,500 performances. It is Broadway's third longest-running show in history, and has grossed more than $1 billion, making it the highest grossing Broadway production of all time. Over 95 million people worldwide have seen the musical and it has earned numerous awards and honors, including six Tony Awards, one for Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical, making director Julie Taymor the first woman to earn such an honor.The show opened in the West End's Lyceum Theatre on October 19, 1999, and is still running after more than 7,500 performances. The cast of the West End production were invited to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in 1999 and 2008, in the presence of senior members of the British Royal Family.In September 2014, The Lion King became the top-earning title in box-office history for both stage productions and films, surpassing the record previously held by The Phantom of the Opera. The Lion King musical has grossed nearly $8.1 billion as of 2017.