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The (lion) pride of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

You probably know them as the kings of the jungle, but at the Zoo we know them as ambassadors for their species in the wild. Doc, Serena and Nala play a vital role in representing lions in the wild each day. With World Lion Day coming up on August 10, it’s important to take a closer look at these animals and what we can do to help.


10 quick facts about lions

  • A lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away. Their roar is a sign of dominance and is used to scare off predators.
  • Lion cubs are born with blue eyes. The blues eyes change to brown or amber once the cub is two or three months old.
  • Sleeping 15 to 20 hours a day, lions are most commonly seen lounging and relaxing during the day, becoming more active and hunting around dusk.
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  • Lions live in groups of 10 to 15 individuals called prides with one or two males, multiple lionesses and the cubs. Unlike males, females mostly stay in the same pride for life.
  • Female lions do 85-90% of the hunting, while the males patrol the perimeter and keep the pride safe.
  • Often known as “the King of the Jungle,” most lions actually live in the savannah or grasslands in Africa.


  • You can tell the age range of a lion by the color of its mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion.
  • Lions can eat up to 18 pounds of meat in one day. That is the equivalent of a human eating 70 hamburger!.
  • A male lion can weigh up to 500 pounds. (Maybe it’s all those hamburgers he’s eating every day.)
  • Just a century ago, there were over 200,000 lions living in Africa. Today there are only 15,000-32,000 remaining. They are considered critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, with multiple threats facing them.

What is the Zoo doing to help?

Lion and cheetah are the majestic symbols of wild Africa, but populations are in dramatic decline due to loss of habitat and conflict with humans. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo was an early funder of Dr. Amy Dickman's Ruaha Carnivore Project in Tanzania.

The Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) develops effective conservation strategies for large carnivore in Tanzania's remote Ruaha landscape, a globally important region for carnivore conservation. RCP reduced lion killing in the region by 80% by engaging local communities, using GPS collars and camera traps to study carnivore populations, and making benefits like livestock guarding dogs, school fees and meals, and health care available to local communities.


RCP and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Future for Willdlife program work together to protect lion and cheetah by:

  • Studying and monitoring large carnivores (lion, hyena, leopard, painted dog, cheetah) in and around Ruaha National Park to inform conservation efforts.
  • Addressing human-carnivore conflicts to help local communities and carnivores coexist.
  • Making important conservation-related benefits available to local communities.

Celebrate World Lion Day and learn more about this amazing animal at the Zoo on August 10! There will be fun activities and opportunities to learn even more.

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