Template:Featurt airticle/November 2015

Male lion

The lion (Panthera leo) is ane o the five big cats in the genus Panthera an a memmer o the faimily Felidae. Wi some males exceedin 250 kg (550 lb) in wicht, it is the seicont-lairgest livin cat efter the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in sub-Saharan Africae an in Asie, wi an endangered remnant population in Gir Forest Naitional Pairk in Indie, haein disappeared frae North Africae an Soothwast Asie in heestoric times. Till the late Pleistocene, aboot 10,000 years ago, the lion wis the maist widespread lairge laund mammal efter humans. Thay wur foond in maist o Africae, athort Eurasie frae wastren Europe tae Indie, an in the Americas frae the Yukon tae Peru. The lion is a vulnerable species, haein seen a major population decline o 30–50% ower the past seicont hauf o the 20t century. Lion populations are untenable ootside designatit reserves an naitional pairks. Awtho the cause o the decline is no fully unnerstuid, habitat loss an conflicts wi humans are currently the greatest causes o concern. Athin Africae, the Wast African lion population is pairticularly endangered.

Lions live for 10–14 years in the wild, awtho in captivity thay can live mair nor 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live langer than 10 years, as injuries sustained frae continual fechtin wi rival males greatly reduce thair longevity. Thay teepically inhabit savanna an grassland, awtho thay mey tak tae bush an forest. Lions are unuisually social compared tae ither cats. A pride o lions consists o relatit females an affspring an a smaw nummer o adult males. Groups o female lions teepically hunt thegither, preying maistly on lairge ungulates. Lions are apex an keystone predators, awtho thay are an aa expert scavengers obtainin ower 50 percent o thair fuid bi scavengin as opportunity allows. While lions dae nae teepically hunt humans, some hae been kent tae dae sae. Sleeping mainly during the day, lions are primarily nocturnal, awtho bordering on crepuscular in naitur.

Heichly distinctive, the male lion is easily recognised bi its mane, an its face is ane o the maist widely recognised ainimal seembols in human cultur. Depictions hae existit frae the Upper Paleolithic period, wi carvins an pentins frae the Lascaux an Chauvet Caves, throu virtually aw auncient an medieval culturs whaur thay ance occurred. It haes been extensively depicted in sculpturs, in pentins, on naitional banners, an in contemporary films an leeteratur. Lions hae been kept in menageries syne the time o the Roman Empire, an hae been a key species sought for exhibeetion in zoos ower the warld syne the late aichteent century. Zoos are cooperatin warldwide in breedin programs for the endangered Asiatic subspecies.