what eats a lion

Threats to the African lion are habitat loss and fragmentation, prey base depletion, vegetation alteration resulting in more grasslands that favor smaller predators over lions, killing by local people in defense of life and livestock, political conflicts, prey base depletion due to over-hunting for trophies. Lions are also threatened by environmental consequences associated with global warming.

Lions are more social than most other cats. Males associate in groups called coalitions. Females are less selective when choosing their mating partners, and males’ large territories overlap several female ranges. Young male lions seeking to establish themselves away from their pride will sometimes form bachelor groups which serve as a rite of passage before they are accepted by the pride.

One study found that male lions would spend much of their time near the pride’s outskirts, patrolling the territory and looking for opportunities to mate with females. Only 30% of adult male lions in a survey were found to live solitarily which suggests they need to leave and find another group rather than stay as subordinates within their natal pride. Female lions seek affection from cubs and go out hunting with their young, coordinating hunts by giving vocal signals to each other. They are also known to nurse each other’s cubs in addition to their own.

Lions are ambush hunters, primarily taking down prey via suffocation.[5] The species typically avoids large prey when possible although lion predation can regularly include large prey such as giraffe. Lions are not particularly known for being good runners so most ambushes are successful although they regularly lose kills to other predators.

Lions have an array of facial expressions and body postures that serve as visual gestures.

The lion’s roar can be heard from 5 kilometers away, and they may roar when sensing danger, during courting, to proclaim food ownership, or when disturbed by other lions while feeding. Lions tend to roar in a very characteristic manner starting with a few deep, long roars that trail off into a series of shorter ones. They most often roar at night and their sound can carry for more than 8 kilometers.

Lions tend to avoid confrontation with large animals like buffalo and giraffes due to their dangerous horns, hooves and size. Leopards and spotted hyenas are regular predators of young cubs; lions kill these competitors whenever possible. Spotted hyenas are one of the only animals that commonly prey on lion cubs, but they will occasionally be dominated in confrontations with smaller or ill animals.

Females do 85% of the cub rearing. Male lions may take an interest in the young and allow them to suckle from a number of females. If there is more than one male in the pride then all the males may participate in raising the cubs, but when there is only one male he will usually ignore his offspring.

Key threats to lion populations are habitat depletion, prey base decline resulting from overhunting for trophies and subsistence, loss of access to protected areas due to human encroachment, killings by humans outside of protected areas, and human retaliation for livestock predation.

Lions are included in the IUCN Red List of threatened species; National Geographic rates them as vulnerable and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service lists them as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Their population has declined from an estimated 200,000 to 30,000 in 50 years due to habitat loss and fragmentation, conflict with humans, persecution (hunting and poisoning), and depletion of prey.

Since 1994, the African lion population has been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The West African lion population is particularly endangered.

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 habitat loss and conflicts with humans. Habitat loss and prey base depletion have been implicated in a further 30% of the total lion population decline. Approximately 1,200 lions are held in captivity inside South Africa , but remain listed on the IUCN Red List.

Lions are included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), for which it is classified as Appendix II. Therefore, trade in lion parts is theoretically controlled and their trade is supposedly restricted to a small number of captive bred individuals. The African Lion and Endangered Species Act (AFESA) was passed to aid in the recovery of the lion. As of 2002, however, illegal trade in lions and lion parts continued.

The “Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act” stipulates a fine of $25,000 or one year imprisonment for those convicted of importing tigers or lion parts.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is the federal agency responsible for the protection and conservation of most large wild cats and their habitats in the U.S., including all four currently recognized panther subspecies (Florida, Louisiana, Texas and North Carolina).

By 2005, only 400 South African lions were left in the wild, occupying less than 7% of their original range.

Most lions now live in Eastern and Southern Africa. They are considered regionally extinct in North Africa, the Middle East, Western Asia, Central Asia and India. However small numbers have been sighted in some places outside their original habitats such as Bhutan-India border area near Royal Manas National Park.

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