Many thousands of years ago, lions roamed over the whole of the African continent as well as throughout
southern Europe, southern Asia, eastern and central India. With the exception of some 300 highly protected
animals in the Gir National Park of India, today the only naturally occuring lions are found in Africa and
have been virtually eradicated in the north. Lions do not live in heavy forests and jungles, rather the grasslands,
acacia thickets and savannas. Lions do not inhabit desert areas, probably because of the scarcity of game.

Lions are the only big cats found living in large family groups, called prides. A typical pride consists of two
males and seven females and several cubs, every pride differs in size and formation. Females are typically sisters
and/or cousins which have been raised together and are usually the hunters of the pride. Hunting is done as an ambush, females
chase the prey into the grasps of hiding males. Females are better suited to the chase, and males with the larger bodies have
the ability to knock down large prey such as the wildebeast. Lions are more likely to fail than succeed in their attempts to kill.

Although very few lions ever become man-eaters, some gain great notoriety by
preying on humans. The film "The Ghost and the Darkness" was actually based on the true story of
man-eating lions who preyed on immigrant rail workers who were building the Mombasa to Kampala
railroad in 1898. These lions known as the "man-eaters of Tsavo" killed 40 people before being shot by
J.H Patterson - the engineer in charge of that section of the railroad.

To the Big Cats