African Lions are a species of lion native to western Africa. Recent genetic research indicates that the Western and Central African lions form a different clade of lions and are perhaps more related to Asian lions than to lions from southern or eastern Africa. The genetic distinctiveness is particular of interest, since lions are regionally endangered in western Africa. With a total population of perhaps only 400 individuals in all of West and Central Africa and no captive population, the West African lion is one of the most endangered subspecies of big cats.
The lion is the tallest (at the shoulder) of all living cats, averaging approximately 5 cm (2.0 in) taller than the tiger. Behind only the tiger, the lion is the second largest living felid in length and weight. Its skull is very similar to that of the tiger, although the frontal region is usually more depressed and flattened, with a slightly shorter postorbital region. The lion's skull has broader nasal openings than the tiger, however, 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. Lion coloration varies from light buff to yellowish, reddish, or dark ochraceous brown. The underparts are generally lighter and the tail tuft is black. Lion cubs are born with brown rosettes (spots) on their body, rather like those of a leopard. Although these fade as lions reach adulthood, faint spots often may still be seen on the legs and underparts, particularly on lionesses.
In Africa, lions can be found in savanna grasslands with scattered Acacia trees which serve as shade; their habitat in India is a mixture of dry savanna forest and very dry deciduous scrub forest. The habitat of lions originally spanned the southern parts of Eurasia, ranging from Greece to India, and most of Africa except the central rainforest-zone and the Sahara desert.
Lions are the most socially inclined of all wild felids, most of which remain quite solitary in nature. The lion is a predatory carnivore with two types of social organization. Some lions are residents, living in groups centering around related lionesses, called prides. The pride usually consists of five or six females, their cubs of both sexes, and one or two males (known as a coalition if more than one) who mate with the adult females (although extremely large prides, consisting of up to 30 individuals, have been observed). They greatly enjoy hunting for their food, so the use of live prey is recommended. They also enjoy sunning themselves, so a Big Cat Rock is also recommended.
- In-game, it is possible for the African Lion to mate with a Bengal Tiger/Siberian Tiger, creating a Liger or Tigon (a Liger is a male lion and a female tiger, and a Tigon is vice-versa). In addition, a male lion can mate with a female liger to create a Liliger.