Canada Lynx Facts

Canada Lynx Facts

Canada Lynx

Common Name: Canadian Lynx
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Lynx)
Species: canadensis

Misc: The debate continues whether or not the Canadian Lynx is in fact a separate species from the Eurasian (a.k.a. Siberian or Iberian) Lynx, or merely a sub-species. Experts are evenly divided on this subject, but for now, it remains a separate species based on its marked adaptive differences for prey capture. The name Lynx comes from the Greek word “to shine,” and may be in reference to the reflective ability of the cat’s eyes.

Sub-species: L.c. subsolanus – found in Newfoundland.

Size and Appearance: The Canadian Lynx is considerably smaller than its Eurasian counterpart, approximately half the size.  Its fur is usually white tipped, giving it a frosted appearance, and is only indistinctly spotted. The coat color ranges from a reddish-brown to gray, and also occurs in a rare “blue-lynx” which is the result of a genetic mutation. They have a flared facial ruff, black ear tufts, and long hind legs with a short tail. Their large, wide-spreading feet are covered in fur, which act like snowshoes, and are effective in supporting the cat’s weight on the snow. They are often confused with their smaller feline cousins the Bobcat, but can be easily distinguished by their tail tips. The tail of the Lynx looks as though it was dipped in an inkwell being black all the way around, whereas the Bobcat’s tail appears to have been painted black on top and white on the bottom.

Habitat: These Lynx are found in the broad boreal forest belt of North America.

Distribution: Canada, Alaska, and the northern contiguous United States

Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of approximately 63-70 days, females produce a litter of 1-8 kittens, with the average varying depending on the abundance of prey. They weigh 7-7.5 ounces at birth and will open their eyes at around 10-17 day, and begin to walk between 24-30 days. They are weaned between 3-5 months of age, and reach sexual maturity around 23 months. The number of offspring is directly related to the abundance of prey, as is the age of sexual maturity. When prey is very abundant, females will breed as early as 10 months.

In the wild, Canadian Lynx have lived up to 15 years, and in captivity, up to 21.

Social System and Communication: Solitary, except for females with offspring, or siblings who have just separated from their mothers who may travel and hunt together for several months before separating.

Hunting and Diet: Unlike any other cat – this Lynx depends solely and almost exclusively, on the snowshoe hare. No other predator has such a strong cyclic prey base to which it has become uniquely adapted – both behaviorally and physiologically. The snowshoe hare population peaks every 10 years, and with it, so does the lynx population. When the hare population decreases, so does the lynx population. While Lynx will change their prey base when hares are low to include small rodents, ground birds, and small ungulates, the overall Lynx population is still synchronous with the hare population.

Principal Threats: Trapping continues to be one of the greatest threats for the Lynx, and as Lynx are easily trapped, when done during times of low numbers it makes recovery of the population extremely difficult. As is with every other feline population, these too face habitat loss due to destruction by humans. However bleak this sounds, the outlook for the Canadian Lynx is better and more promising than it is for many of the other feline species. Human kill over 11 million rabbits each year according to statistics provided from hunting license sales and kill reports. The snow shoe hare is the primary staple of the Canadian Lynx but due to over hunting their food supply is diminished. Hunters only comprise 6% of our population, but they kill over 100 million animals each year for sport.

Status: CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: Not listed. Threatened as of 2000.

Felid TAG 2003 Recommendation:  Canadian lynx (Lynx canadensis). Common in Canada and Alaska, this species is included in the RCP because of its educational and exhibitory value, especially for North American themes. The continental USA population has been proposed for threatened or endangered status by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since the 1970’s but have been denied protection because it would interfere with road construction and logging in their territory. The present zoo population is considered too large, and the TAG recommends a reduction to a total of no more than 80 individuals. A regional studbook and a PMP management plan are recommended. The first stud book ever was published for this species in 2003.

How rare is this cat? The International Species Information Service lists 70 worldwide, with 34 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.

Meet some of our previous lynx friends who have now passed on:

Lynx of BCR

Leopard Cat Facts

Leopard Cat Facts

Leopard Cat


Common Name: Leopard Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Prionailurus) P.b. euptilura Amur Leopard Cat
Species: bengalensis
Misc: This cat has been the subject of long debate as to its taxonomic status. There are numerous subspecies that some feel should be classified as individual species in their own right and other species that are felt should be classified as a subspecies of the Leopard Cat.

 

Subspecies: P.b. bengalensis – India, southeast Asia, China Thailand
P.b. sumatranus – Sumatra
P.b. javanensis – Java and Bali
P.b. borneoensis – Borneo
P.b. trevelyani – Pakistan Asian Leopard Cat by Anthony Blueman
P.b. euptilura – Manchuria AKA the Amur or Tshushima (thought by some to be a separate species)
P.b. nminuta – The Phillipines
P.b. chinensis – North China
P.b. iromotensis – Iriomote Island – disputed and still recognized as a separate species by some.

Size and Appearance: Weighing in at 6-15 pounds and reaching lengths of 35-38 inches, this is the most common cat of Southern Asia. It is similar in overall size and shape to the domestic cat, but it has longer legs. Its coat has a great deal of variation in its color throughout its range, and tends to be yellowish-brown in the tropics and grayish-brown in the northern part of its range. The coat is dotted with black spots, which sometimes are solid and sometimes rosettes. The tail is banded with dark rings towards its buff colored tip. The ears are dark with central white spots. Sumatra cats are smaller with fewer markings; Java and Bali cats are duller; Borneo cats are brighter and redder; Pakistan cats are grayer; Manchuria cats are much larger than the other subspecies with much thicker fur, grayer in color and less spotting; Philippines cats are the smallest.

Habitat: Woodlands, forests, and scrub at all altitudes (as long as snow isn’t deeper than 4 inches.

Distribution: India, southern and eastern Asia including Indonesia and the Philippines. The Tshushima, or Amur lives in the Tshushima Islands.

Reproduction and Offspring: In the northern part of its range, breeding occurs once per year usually in February/March. In the tropics, there is not believed to be any set season and mating takes place year round. Gestation is 65-70 days, after which females produce a litter of 2-4 kittens. At birth, the newborns weigh approximately 2.75 ounces, and will gain about 11 grams per day. Their eyes will normally be open by the 10th day. They reach sexual maturity around 18 months.

In captivity, they have lived up to 15 years, but tend to lose their teeth at 8-10 years.

Social System and Communication: Unknown.  Leopard Cat Sounds

Hunting and Diet: Primarily nocturnal, they hunt both on the ground and in the trees. The primary diet consists of rodents, young ungulates, hares, birds, reptiles, insects, eels, fish, and occasionally carrion.

Principal Threats: The primary threats facing the Leopard cat are deforestation, commercial exploitation (in the past numbers as high as 400,000 pelts per year). This was also the first cat recently to be used by man in a hybrid situation in a quest for a new breed of cat. The Leopard Cat crossed with the Domestic Cat has produced a now recognized new breed of domestic – the Bengal Cat. This has removed potential breeding cats from conservation programs and has diminished the gene pool for helping to save the pure Leopard Cat.

Status: CITES: Appendix II (except F.b. bengalensis which is on Appendix I). IUCN: Not listed.

Felid TAG recommendation: Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). Leopard cats from various geographic origins were commonly imported into this country during the 1960s and early 1970s. The public donated most leopard cats in zoos. With the end of leopard cat harvesting by the fur industry, this species has become more common in nature. This, combined with the small, mixed population in zoos is the reason that this species is not recommended for support in North American. Several species of cats are naturally rare and, although not legally endangered, have never been available for zoos or other holders. Other species are native to remote areas and highly regulated because of endangered status. The following species meet these criteria, and, therefore, are not presently in North American collections. The Felid TAG does not support future acquisition.

How rare is this cat? The International Species Information Service lists 218 Asian Leopard Cats worldwide, with 29 being in the U.S. There are only an 9 Amur Leopard Cats in the U.S. according to ISIS.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.

Watch the video below to see why Leopard Cats should not be used for creating hybrid cats.

 

 

Leopards Cats of BCR

 

Meet our leopard cat friends:

http://bigcatrescue.org/catbio/

 

Jungle Cat Facts

Jungle Cat Facts

Jungle Cat

Common Name: Jungle Cat, Swamp Cat, Reed Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Felis)
Species: chaus

Misc: This cat, contrary to its name, is found in a variety of habitats but typically is not a frequenter of “jungles”. Like the African wildcats and domestic cats, the Jungle Cat has been mummified and placed in tombs in Ancient Egypt.

Size and Appearance: Similar in build to the Serval, the Jungle cat has long legs and a slender body. Their fur is sandy-brown, reddish or gray, and is unpatterned except for some brown striping on the legs. The ears are tall and rounded and are reddish with small lynx-like tufts on the tips. The tail is short, ringed faintly, and has a black tip. Melanistic animals have been seen. Adults weigh between 9-28 pounds, reach heights of 14-16 inches, and lengths of 28-48 inches. Like kittens of lions and cougars, which are born with spotting, these kittens are born with stripes for safe concealment, which they lose as they mature.

Sounds:  Hear Jungle Cats here:

 

 

 

Habitat: In Egypt they prefer swampy ground and reed beds, and in India they prefer woodlands, open plains, grasslands, agricultural crops and scrub.

Distribution: Egypt through Southwestern Asia to India.

Reproduction and Offspring: Mating has been recorded in February/ March in Central Asia and October in India. Females usually set up their dens in reed beds or thick vegetation. After a gestation of 63-68 days, females produce a litter of 1-6 kittens. They weigh around 4.5 ounces at birth and gain an average of 22 grams per day. Their eyes open between 10-12 days, they are weaned at 3 months, stalk and kill prey and reach independence by 5-6 months and are sexually mature at 11 months.

In captivity, they have lived up to 14 years at other places and past 17 years at Big Cat Rescue.

Social System and Communication: In the wild, family groups of males, females and cubs have been seen together, and in captivity, males are even more protective of cubs than females. The vocalization is a very loud “bark” as you would expect for a large breed of dog. It is such a peculiar sound coming from such a diminutive little cat.

Hunting and Diet: Primarily diurnal, these cats feed primarily on rodents, but also take hares, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, young chital and wild pigs, and being strong swimmers they will dive to catch fish.

Principal Threats: The greatest threat facing this cat is reclamation and destruction of natural wetlands. Also, they are killed by farmers because of their taste for domestic poultry, and sportsmen don’t like them because their prey base is the sportsman’s game species.

Status: CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: Not listed.

Felid TAG recommendation: Jungle cat (Felis chaus). Still common in nature, this species declined in captivity due to a general lack of interest. Viable populations are not present in North America. This species is not recommended for support in North America.

 

How rare is this cat? The International Species Information Service lists 64 worldwide, with 9 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.

 

 

 

 

 

Geoffroy Cat Facts

Geoffroy Cat Facts

Geoffroy’s Cat

Common Name: Geoffroy’s Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Oncifelis)
Species: geoffroyi
Misc: Geoffroy’s cats are strong swimmers that regularly enter the water, and have been recorded frequently swimming fast flowing rivers 100 feet wide. Geoffroy’s cats were named after the French naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire.

Sub-species:
F.g. geoffroyi
F.g. salinarum (once believed to be a separate species)
F.g. paraguae
F.g. euxantha

Size and Appearance: One of the small cats about which little is known, this cat has a uniformly patterned coat of small black spots of nearly equal size and spacing. The ground color tends to be more of an ochre color in the northern part of their range to a gray in the southern part. Black (melanistic) individuals are common. Males weigh an average of 10 pounds, and females average 8.

Habitat: They occupy a wide variety of habitats, from the pampas grasslands and arid Chaco shrub and woodlands, up to alpine saline deserts. It is absent from tropical rain forests, broad-leaved forests, and open areas. It occupies the same areas as the Pampas Cat, but the Geoffroy’s sticks to dense ground cover which separates the two ecologically.

Distribution: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of approximately 72-78 days, females produce a litter of 2 (sometimes 3) kittens. They weigh 2.25-3.5 ounces at birth and will begin to walk between 14-21 days old. They are weaned around 3 months of age, and attain sexual maturity around 18 months for females and 24 months for males (in captivity).

At Big Cat Rescue, Geoffroy’s cats have lived over 20 years, compared to 14 being the oldest elsewhere.

Social System and Communication: They are solitary in the wild, and the females will have overlapping home ranges, males however, will not. They are nocturnal and partially arboreal. The males and females will come together for mating.  Hear our purrs, hisses, snarls, calls, and growl sounds HERE

Hunting and Diet: The primary diet of this cat consists of rodents, hares, fish, reptiles, birds, and various small mammals.

Principal Threats: The biggest threat has been the exploitation of its pelt for the fur trade, which sadly still exists.  The good news is that commercial hunting has virtually ceased, and the kills from which the pelts are derived are from cats killed as pests and livestock predators. This has helped reduce the numbers from what was an average of 55,000 animals per year to considerably less (exact figures not known). Deforestation from human encroachment is also a problem facing this little cat, but since so little is known of its habits, the extent of the damage is unknown at this time.

Status: CITES: Appendix I. IUCN: Not listed.

Felid TAG recommendation: Geoffroy’s cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi). Once common in zoos and the private sector, this easily kept species has disappeared from both types of holders because of poor management. Due to its Appendix I status under CITES, additional specimens from range countries are not easily obtained. Without new founders, the extant population is nonviable. The TAG recommends Phase-Out for this species. At the Annual AZA Conference (September 1999), the following four species were recommended by the Felid TAG to be ‘down-graded’ to a Phase-Out populations. For the jaguarundi, tigrina, and Geoffroy’s cat, these recommendations were made because of limited space available, the limited number of founders in these populations, and limited potential for acquiring additional founders.

 

How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 54 worldwide, with 52 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.

 

 

Most people are not intimidated by the Geoffroy’s Cat’s size, but they should be. They have not ever been fully domesticated, and are a truly untrustworthy wild cat.

 

 

Meet the Geoffroy cat of Big Cat Rescue:

http://bigcatrescue.org/catbio/

 

Meet our Geoffroy cat friends:

geoffroy-cats

Fishing Cat Facts

Fishing Cat Facts

Fishing Cat

Common Name: Fishing Cat
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felinae (Prionailurus)
Species: viverrinus

Misc.: This is yet another example of a cat that disproves the misconception that cats don’t like water. This cat received its Latin name from its civet-like appearance (the viverridae family) from Bennet (1833) who first described the Fishing Cat scientifically.

Size and Appearance: A stock and powerfully built cat, with short legs, a big broad head and a short tail. Fishing cats weigh between 13-26 pounds, stand 15-16 inches tall and reach lengths of 38-47 inches. Its coat is olive gray and is patterned with rows of parallel solid black spots, which often form stripes along the spine. Their ears are short and round with black backs, and prominent white spots in the middle. Despite the fishing habits of this cat, it shows very little morphological adaptations for capturing or eating fish. Like the Flat-headed cat, its claw sheaths are shortened so that the claws are not completely enveloped when retracted. Unlike the Flat-headed cat, in which the second upper pre-molar is long and sharp enabling it to grab slippery prey, the fishing cat has a much smaller and less developed tooth. At one time, one of the more noted characteristics often associated with the Fishing cat was webbed feet. Today, it is found that the webbing beneath the toes isn’t much more developed than that of a Bobcat.

Habitat: Found in a variety of watery habitats including mangrove swamps, marshy thickets, tidal creeks, oxbow lakes, and reed beds up to an elevation of 5000 feet.

Distribution: India through Indochina and Indonesia.

Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of 63 days, females produce a litter of 1-4 kittens, with the average being 2. They weigh 3.5-6 ounces at birth and will gain an average of 11 grams per day. Their eyes open by the 16th day, and meat is usually taken around the 53rd day. They are weaned between 4-6 months of age, reach adult size around 8-9 months old and are independent around 10 months.

In captivity, their average life span is 10-12 years.

Social System and Communication: Unknown.  They are believed to be solitary, but there have been some unconfirmed reports
that the males may help with the care and supervision of the young.

Hunting and Diet: The bulk of this cats diet is made up of fish, which they will not only swim and dive after, but the try and scoop them out with their paws as well. It is also believed to take other aquatic prey such as crustaceans, mollusks, frogs and snakes. They will also prey on terrestrial mammals such as rodents, civets, young chital fawns, wild pigs, and even domestic animals such as goats, dogs, calves and poultry.  They have also been known to scavenge off of tiger kills.

Principal Threats: Wetland destruction is the greatest threat facing the Fishing Cat. A survey showed that more than 50% of Asian wetlands are faced with moderate to high degrees of threat and disappearing. These threats include settlement, draining for agriculture, pollution, and excessive hunting, woodcutting and fishing. Download this 2008 report documenting 1,158 endangered and threatened exotic cats being illegally, yet openly sold in Myanmar markets. The Wild Cat Trade in Myanmar

Status: CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: Insufficiently known.

Felid TAG 2000 recommendation: Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus). Although not endangered, this species’ lowland habitat is under stress. Fishing cats also have unique aquatic tendencies that add to their exhibitry and educational value. An international studbook exists.  The target population is 100 individuals. The Fishing Cat now has a Species Survival Plan SSP.

How rare is this cat? The International Species Information Service lists 256 worldwide, with 68 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book

 

Meet some of the fishing cats who lived at Big Cat Rescue:

Fishing Cats of BCR

Lion Facts

Lion Facts

Lion – Panthera leo

This “King of Beasts” once roamed over most parts of the world including Africa, North America and Eurasia. Today, however, they are restricted to the savanna, open expanses, and grassy plains of Africa, and to a small area of western India. There are about 15,000 lions in the wild today. Just ten years ago that number was closer to 50,000.  The shrinking numbers are due to hunting and overpopulation of humans.

One hundred and fifty years ago, there lived a subspecies of lion, Panthera leo persica, which was found from India to the Middle East. There are only an estimated few hundred alive today. They can be found in the Gir forest sanctuary in Gujarat, in western India. A sanctuary was set up in 1966 in the Gir forest to try and protect the surviving numbers of Asiatic Lions in India. They are endangered due to hunting and other human factors.

 

 

The Lion is the only cat that lives in large social groups, shares its territory, and regularly hunts together. The Lion’s diet consists of wildebeests, antelope, zebras, wild pigs, buffalo, impalas, and other hoofed mammals. The Lionesses do all the hunting in large number of groups or pairs. Prey will be approached with stealth until it is in range, then the cats will lunge and kill the prey by biting its neck. Lions are the dominant carnivores in their habitat and will drive away competitors or even kill them.

The Lion’s head and body can be up to eight feet, two inches, and tail up to three feet, five inches. Its weight can be up to 550 pounds.

Lions are primarily ground-dwellers, but occasionally jump up tree branches.  Most Lions will remain in the same territory all year long, however some are nomadic and follow the seasonal prey.

Lions live together in a pride based upon a group of related females (Lionesses) and their cubs. Surprisingly, the pride is led by a dominant female.  When a new male joins a pride it will drive away the other males and kill any remaining cubs, then mate with the females to produce his own offspring.

A Lioness will give birth to up to six cubs after a gestation period of 15-17 weeks. All of the Lionesses in the pride share in the rearing of the cubs and the males may even be playful with them.

 

 

Common Name: Lion
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Pantherinae Panthera
Species: leo
NOTE: The lions discussed below are African and Asian.

Misc: The Lion is the only cat with tufted tails (both sexes) and manes (males), with the manes allowing them to be the only cat which you can distinguish gender from a distance. They are also the only true social cat and live in groups called “prides.” The lion has often been called “the King of the Jungle,” but that would be most inaccurate. The lion’s habitat does not include the jungle, and therefore, the correct phrase would refer to the lion as “the King of Beasts.”

Sub-species: Of the known sub-species of lion there seems to be an agreement on 2 as far as genetics go – Pantherinae Panthera leo leo – the African lion, and Pantherinae Panthera leo persica – the Asian lion. Regardless of the area of Africa a lion is found in today, their DNA analysis has shown them to be the same, whereas there is a difference between African and Asian. As of the time of this writing, the Barbary lion has never been tested and compared to these results, and may in fact be a third and distinct lion sub-species.

Size and Appearance: Second only in size to the Siberian tiger among the felines, the lion is the largest carnivore in Africa, and the second largest feline predator in the world. Average males weigh 385-550 pounds, and females weigh 250-450 pounds. The males reach an overall length of 11 feet from the tip of the nose to tip of the tail, and females being just a bit shorter. Lions have a uniformly tawny coat, and the shades of it may vary from light to dark. In the Timbavati region, white lions are found, which is a form of leucism as opposed to albinism. Black (melanistic) lions have not been observed and reports of black lions in captivity have never been confirmed. Males possess a mane and it can range in colors from blonde to red to brown to black. It covers their head, neck and chest, and its development is believed to be strongly influenced by testosterone. Their ears have black spots on the backs, which stay black throughout their lives, unlike the black rosettes that cover their bodies when they are born.

Habitat: The lion prefers to live in open woodlands and thick bush, scrub, and tall grassy areas. The lion can and will tolerate a wide variety of habitats, absent only from rain forests and desert interiors. While lions drink water regularly when it is available, they can survive by obtaining their moisture requirements from their prey or from tsama melons. This allows them to survive in very arid climates.

Distribution: The lion was once found from northern Africa through southwest Asia (extinct in most countries within past 150 years), west into Europe (extinct 2000 years ago) and east into India (relic population of 350 in Gir Forest only). Today, the majority of Africa’s lions can be found in east and southern Africa, with about 1,500 in West Africa. Most of the lions today exist inside protected areas. 2007 surveys estimate only 15,000 lions to be left in the wild and most of those are on game parks where they are hunted as trophies.

Reproduction and Offspring: Lions will reproduce any time of the year, and all females of reproductive maturity will breed at the same time. This allows them to give birth in synchrony with each other, thereby sharing the suckling responsibilities. Any lactating female in a pride will suckle any cub that belongs to the pride. Lions give birth to 1-6 cubs after a gestation of 110 days. The cubs are born blind and helpless, and weigh approximately 2-4 pounds. Cub mortality is very high in lions, and less than half will survive their first year. Young males will leave their pride between 2-4 years if they can get away with staying that long, but sometimes they are forced out as early as 13-20 months. Females remain with their natal pride most of the time, although some will disperse and form new prides. While male lions are physically capable of reproducing at 30 months and females at 24 months, they do not generally successfully reproduce until pride membership has been firmly established.

In captivity, lions can live 20 years, as compared to 12 in the wild for males and 15-16 for females.

Social System and Communication: The lion is the only true social cat and lives in groups called prides. These prides are made up of a single male or a coalition of males (up to 7) and up to 20 females and their offspring. The males defend the females and the territory from strange males, and competition among the males is fierce. A male’s average tenure over a pride is only 2-3 years, but can increase depending on the size and strength of the coalition. Groups of males do better than a lone male. Lions use a variety of vocalizations, most notably the roar. It can be heard over a distance of 5-6 miles, and serves to let other members of the pride know where they are, and as a signal to strange males to stay away. The Africans believe that the lions are speaking and saying “he inchi ya nani – yangu, yangu, yangu” or “whose land is this? It’s mine, mine, mine!”  Hear our roars, hisses, snarls, calls, and growl sounds HERE

Hunting and Diet: Lions are very opportunistic eaters, and will take almost any prey ranging from small rodents to young rhinos, hippos and elephants. The majority of its prey, however, is medium to large ungulates, most notably zebra, wildebeest, impala, warthog, hartebeest and waterbuck. They will stay away from adult rhinos, hippos, elephants and even giraffes. The females do most of the hunting, and the male will come and join the females after the kill is made. The females will make way for the males and allow him to eat his fill first. Males will participate on a hunt when it is a particularly large prey item – like a water buffalo – where his size and strength is required to bring down such a large animal (although enough females can do it successfully on their own). Males must also hunt during their bachelor stages, when there are no females to take care of them.

Principal Threats: Lions are generally considered problem animals whose existence is at odds with human settlements and cattle culture. Their scavenging behavior makes them highly susceptible to poisoned carcasses put out to eliminate predators. Where the wild prey is migratory, lions will predate on captive stock during the lean season, thus making the nuisance animals and easy targets for humans to eliminate.

Status: CITES: Appendix II. IUCN: Not listed. (but should be and in 2012 and 2013 BCR petitioned USFWS to add the lion)

2003 Felid TAG recommendation: Lion (Panthera leo). One of the last SSPs to be developed for an otherwise large and widely held felid, the initiation of the African Lion Studbook in 1992 discovered that only two lions could be traced back to wild founders in Africa. All other lions in zoos, regardless of the institution’s size, were acquired as public donations or from other untraceable sources. Only one purebred Asian lion remains in North America. With a target population of 350 animals, only lions with ancestors that can be traced back to the wild are accepted into the studbook and SSP. Since the SSP began, several dozen lions have been imported, primarily from South Africa, but parties interested in importing additional lions need to ensure that specimens under consideration are unrelated to animals already in this country.

In the case of Asian lions, the wild population will continue to be monitored, with future importations possible from sources within the Indian Lion EEP population.  Three institutions had mate killings in the past year.

How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 69 being in the U.S.

Information reprinted With Permission from the IUCN Wild Cats Book.

 

 

Meet our lion friends:

 

Lions of BCR

 

http://bigcatrescue.org/catbio/