The lion is a species in the family Felidae and a member of the genus Panthera. It is the second largest extant species after the tiger. It exhibits a pronounced sexual dimorphism; males have prominent manes and are larger than females. The lion's mane is the most recognisable feature of the species.
In the Pleistocene, lions were the most widespread large land mammals and ranged throughout Eurasia, Africa and North America. Today, the lion occurs in fragmented populations in Sub-Saharan Africa and one in western India. It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996, due to declining populations. Lion populations are untenable outside designated protected areas. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are the greatest causes of concern.
The lion typically inhabits grasslands and savannahs, but is absent in dense forests. It is usually more diurnal than other big cats, but when persecuted adapts to being active at night and at twilight. A lion pride consists of a few adult males, related females and cubs.