African Lion

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Panthera leo

Habitat: African Lions are found scattered across the plains and savannahs of Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Diet: African Lions are carnivores and eat whatever meat that they can get from small animals like hares, mice, and wild hogs to medium sized animals like cheetahs, leopards, and antelopes to large animals like baby elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, and giraffes. 

Size: 3 to 3.9 feet tall / 8 to 13 feet long

Weight: 270 to 580 pounds

Lifespan: 16.9 years according to AZA Species Survival Statistics

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Vulnerable – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to possess a high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 30 to more than 50 percent over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 1,000 individuals, or other factors.

Our African Lions:

Donovan (Male) – Born May 11, 2011

Murphy (Male) – Born June 6, 2012

Coky (Female) – Born June 6, 2012


About African Lions:

Though lions used to live in most parts of Africa, they are now found only in the south Sahara desert and in parts of southern and eastern Africa. The lion population in Africa has been reduced by half since the early 1950s. Today, fewer than 21,000 remain in all of Africa.

Did You Know?!

  • An African lion’s roar can be heard as far as 5 miles away!
  • Lions are the most social of the big cats. Lion prides can have up to 30 individuals. Prides consist of related females and their cubs, plus one or more males. Females stay with their mother’s pride for life while males are usually driven out when they become large enough to compete with the dominant males of the pride.
  • Male lions are usually larger than females and can be easily identified because of their manes. These manes help to protect male lions when fighting off other males.
  • Although lions readily drink water when available, they are capable of obtaining all their moisture needs from their prey and even from plants.
  • All three of our African lions were born at the Utica Zoo and have each been sponsored and named by local families. These families help to provide funding every year to support the lions’ care!

Due to needing time to set up for our Wine in the Wilderness Event, on June 3rd the zoo will be closing to the public at 1pm! We will reopen our doors at 6pm for the event! Event tickets will still be purchasable at our gift shop during this time!