Photographer's Note

Thousands of years ago, lions were common throughout southern Europe, southern Asia, eastern and central India and over the whole of the African continent. Today, with the exception of some 300 highly protected animals in the Gir National Park of India, the only naturally-occuring lions are found in Africa.

Lions are the only cats that live in large family groups. When the pride hunts as a group they employ an ambush that forces large prey into the waiting paws of the males. Females have the speed but lack the body weight to knock down large "family size" prey such as the wildebeast.

As a result of widespread persecution, cats in the wild have become one of the most threatened major groups of land animals. African lions are now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

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Additional Photos by Shannon Hayes (shayes) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 81 W: 4 N: 146] (499)
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