Do Lions Live In The Jungle? 🦁

No, Lions tend to live in wide open spaces – usually hunting their prey over great distances. This style of predation is not suited to jungle living at all.

No, Lions tend to live in wide open spaces – usually hunting their prey over great distances. This style of predation is not suited to jungle living at all.

Do Lions Live In The Jungle Or On The Savanna?

Lions (Panthera leo) living in pockets all across Africa are found on – and greatly prefer – open grassland and savanna. They are almost never found in closed forests or jungle environments. They will tolerate a small amount of vegetation in the landscape to shelter from the sun and to sleep under during the heat of the day.

Lions feed mainly on ungulates (hoofed mammals) – their favorites being zebra, buffalo, and gemsbok. These herd-dwelling animals all live out on the grasslands and savannas of Africa too – another reason why you don’t find lions in the jungle.

Lions need to be near their prey. Although they sleep for around 20 hours a day – they stay out in the open to watch for any opportunities where they can get a meal for free (or much easier than a chase) such as an injured animal, a straggler left behind, or other such lucky breaks.

Chasing prey isn’t easy and needs great teamwork. Watching the other individuals during the chase and picking up signals from each other is integral to a successful lion chase. Something that would be near impossible in a dense jungle or forested landscape.

Are There Different Types Of Lions?

There are only two living subspecies of lion identified – The Northern Lion (Panthera leo leo), which includes the famous Barbary Lion and the extremely endangered Asiatic Lion ecotypes; and the Southern Lion (Panthera leo melanochaita) which includes the often-white Kruger Lions.

Some scientists have listed as many as 9 different ecotypes (versions of the same animal that look slightly different). Others call them subspecies – even allocating them subspecies names – likeΒ Panthera leo persicaΒ (for the Asiatic Lion). However, the IUCN sticks to just the same two as listed above as a way of studying and protecting these two species – whatever they look like and wherever they live.

Needless to say, these different appearances can be used in breeding programs to enhance those features (and behaviors) that suit whichever projects are being worked on. White lions are very popular in zoos and private collections and so this particular ecotype is very popular. Manes are another key feature of lion ownership (and trophy hunting) and so populations with these features are often targeted.

Where Do Lions Live?

Lions can be found across virtually all of sub-Saharan Africa – including Namibia, Ethiopia, Chad, and Zimbabwe. Preferring open grasslands with ample prey and hardly any humans is ideal, but these areas are getting smaller and smaller every year.

They are often seen in online clips sleeping under acacia trees in the open – and chasing down large prey including elephants and giraffes – by jumping on their backs and pulling them down to the ground using their sheer weight (around 200kg (440lb)).

Lions have become extinct recently in many countries throughout North Africa and patches in central and southern Africa due to poaching and ongoing wars. Further back in time though, they used to live across the Middle East and Northern Mediterranean including Greece and Turkey. They once also extended all the way across the Indian continent but are now only found in one small reserve in India itself – the Gir National Park.

Lions used to also live in North America (possibly South America too). During the early Holocene this large cave lion – Panthera atrox – was up to 25% larger than modern lions making it one of the largest felids to walk the earth.

Are Lions Endangered?

Unfortunately yes, like most large felines – lions are declared as β€˜Vulnerable’ by the IUCN on their Red List. With numbers apparently decreasing in all areas, there have been several (suspected) recent extinctions in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, and Rwanda.

Estimates put the total population of lions at less than 40,000 breeding adults across their entire range from South Africa to India.

Conservation plans not only include improvements to habitats and increasing landscape-scale ecosystem repair – the main focus is to improve human conflict. Many populations reliant on livestock often retaliate by killing local lions when suffering from stock losses. Conservation efforts have been focused on a compensation scheme as well as more suitable livestock practices for residents – or even changes in farming practices.

There is still hope yet.

Also, Remember to Read Our Other Articles On Lions