The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the five big cats that are admired not only for their beauty but also for the harm they do to the wildlife populations. Lions are often seen taking down a zebra or chasing a gazelle in the Serengeti National Park in east Africa. The park is an ideal habitat for lions where they could hunt in open woodlands or plains. In the wild, they are found in Asia and Africa. Let’s find out how many different types of lions are there—living and extinct both!
Different Types of Lions
We are going to discuss habitat, diet, distribution and physical description of each of the lion species so better stick to the end.
Barbary Lion (Panthera leo leo)
The Barbary lion once lived in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. The lion was long thought to be the biggest lion species. However it is now extinct in the wild. The length measures up to 2.35 to 2.8 m (7 ft 9 in to 9 ft 2 in) while the weight is about 270 to 300 kilograms (600 to 660 lb).
They used to prey on gazelles and Barbary stags but once these animals went scarce, lions rely on herds of livestock. Other prey animals include red deer and wild boar.
Barbary lions are bred in captivity in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica)
The Asiatic lion is found in Gujarat, India. It weighs up to 160 to 190 kg (350 to 420 lb) in males with the shoulder height measuring at 3.5 ft (110 cm). The lion is endangered.
The only habitat of Asiatic lions is Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Gujarat. Asiatic lions prefer to live in dry deciduous forest, savanna, and thorny forest.
It is thought to prey on chital that makes up 45% of the lion’s diet.
West African Lion (Panthera leo senegalensis)
The western African lion is listed as critically endangered species by IUCN. There are no more than 1,800 lions remaining in West and Central Africa. In western Africa, they are found in Saharan and Senegal.
The diet is yet to be known.
Masai Lion (Panthera leo nubica)
The Masai lion is distributed all over the Eastern Africa. We do not know about the conservation status of Masai lion.
The length of the lion is 2.5–3.0 metres (8.2–9.8 feet) while the weight measures around 145–205 kg (320–452 pounds) in males.
Masai lions seem to prefer warmer lowlands and humid lands of eastern and northern Kenya. They live in habitats above 800 m (2,600 ft).
Congo Lion (Panthera leo azandica)
The Congo lion is thought to live in the Congo River basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lion is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
At present it is extinct in Rwanda.
Transvaal Lion (Panthera leo krugeri)
The lion is found in the southern Africa in Kruger National Park as well as in Kalahari Region. They are 2.6–3.20 long and weighs up to 150 – 200 kg.
The habitat of Transvaal lion includes savannah, grasslands and semi-arid regions.
They are thought to prey on African buffalo, warthogs, blesboks, zebras, and wildebeests. Sometimes Transvaal lions also kill South African giraffes and ostriches, along with southern white rhinos.
They are also called Kalahari Lion.