Cain the lion and his pride reside in this outdoor African lion habitat across from Lake Chabot. In the Lion’s Lair, the impressive male with his massive mane truly exemplifies the term. As the second largest big cat after the tiger, they are the only members of the cat family where the males and females look distinctively different.
Lions are the only cats that are social, living in groups, called a pride. At the park, you can often see the young male cubs Cain, Tau and Tsavo as well as the adult female Jendaya lounging on the top of the rocky overlook or kopje, lying on their backs – just as you’ve seen your own domestic cat do – after all, male lions are known to sleep up to 20 hours a day! In their native range, now mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, the females of the pride do all of the hunting while the male wards off intruders into their pride area. Guests may hear them roar in a thunderous manner that can be heard throughout the park. African lions are known to reach an age of over 20 under human care, and from 10-14 years in the wild.
Observe closely as the lions walk around, and you will notice that their heels don’t touch the ground. Another behavior you might witness is a soft rumbling or purring sound, which is how the lions communicate contentment.
Fun Fact: Lion socialization includes head rubbing or nuzzling and social licking. A few of our big cat trainers that raised the lions since they were cubs are often greeted with some large-scale nuzzling and behaviors that revert back when they were small cubs. In turn, they are given milk as a treat.
Conservation Status: Vulnerable. African lion numbers are rapidly decreasing due to disease, habitat loss and human interference.