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Lions in a pride.

A young male lion stands near an adult male lion

Lions are the only cats that live in large, social groups called prides. A pride is made up of lionesses (mothers, sisters, and cousins), and their cubs, along with a few unrelated adult males. The unrelated males stay a few months or a few years, but the older lionesses stay together for life.

 

 

Shrinking Spaces

Trophy hunting has taken its toll on the top predator of the savanna. Destruction of wild habitats also means less space for lions, and more likelihood that humans and lions cross paths, leading to conflict. Lions are sometimes killed to protect herds of livestock or to keep them out of human-populated areas.

 

 

A lioness chases a zebra

While it may look like the lionesses do all the work in the pride, the males play an important role. Though they eat more than the lionesses and bring in far less food (they hunt less than 10 percent of the time), males patrol, mark, and guard the pride’s territory. Males also protect the cubs while the lionesses are hunting, and make sure the young pride members get enough food.

33 m.p.h.

Speed of a sprinting female lion.

Fierce Competition

Lions are Africa’s largest and most important carnivore. They keep other animal populations in check, ensuring a healthy ecosystem.

But humans and lions compete for food sources: bushmeat (wild game) is an important source of protein and income for some communities. Hunting bushmeat means that lions and humans encounter each other. Under these circumstances, lions often starve or are killed—sometimes accidentally, sometimes on purpose.

140

Pounds of food a lion can eat at one time.

A lioness watches over four cubs as they move across a grassy area

A lioness gives birth to her cubs in a secluded location, away from the pride. Cubs remain hidden for up to six weeks as they gain strength, learn to walk, and play. Females in a pride often give birth around the same time.

 

 

Male lion and female lion press their heads against together as they walk on dry savanna grass

Together, we can
turn things around.

 

 

Left: Masai cattle grazing on the Kenyan savanna. RIght: Samburu tribeswomen.

Left: Domesticated cattle are an important part of Masai and Samburu livelihoods. It's essential to help local people protect their animals and eliminate livestock as a lion food source. Right: Samburu tribeswomen.

 

 

Working Together

The problems lions face are serious, but there is hope. Conservation is cultural, so we partner with local communities to find solutions that work for people and wildlife. With our partners, we are helping change deeply ingrained, often negative, cultural views of lions. In fact, some of the people who used to hunt lions are now the very rangers protecting them. We also "plant seeds for the future" by supporting local schools that educate children about and connect them with wildlife.

 

 

Three lion cubs playing in the sun

Cubs born in a pride are twice as likely to survive as those born to a lioness that is on her own.

 

 

Your support can provide dedicated anti-poaching patrols, implement solutions that eliminate livestock as a lion food source, and ensure that the habitats humans and lions share are used in the safest, most efficient ways possible, so everyone wins. We can’t do it without your help.

A lioness lays on a dirt mound and surveys the savanna