The lion is a member of the family Felidae of the genus Panthera. It is the second-largest living cat after the tiger with some individuals exceeding 250 kg. Until about 10,000 years ago the lion was the most widespread large land mammal beside humans. Today, wild lions only exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in northwest India. They disappeared from North Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia.

In the wild, lions live for around 10 to 14 years, in captivity they can live over 20 years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than 10 years, as they often fight with rivals and get injuries.