African lions (Panthera leo) are apex predators that live in the barren savanna grasslands of most parts of sub-Saharan Africa, blending in well with the surroundings because of their golden fur. They feed on large herbivores such as wildebeest, zebras, buffalo, warthogs and gazelles, as well as smaller rodents. Lions are the only cats that live together in groups, called prides, which may consist of up to three males, ten lionesses and their young. They rest for most of the day, but are generally active at dusk and during the night. Male lions are known for their long manes and defend the territory of the pride against rivals, while the lionesses are the main hunters and stalk their prey in groups before closing in for a kill. As they grow, young males leave the pride to establish their own, while females often stay behind. Historically, the lion has been regarded as the king of beasts and is therefore still used as a symbol of courage, strength and royalty.
Information sources: National Geographic, WWF
Image: African lions feeding on a buffalo carcass in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Source: Luca Galuzzi, Wikimedia Commons.