Detroit Zoo Lion Page

African lion

At the Detroit Zoo
Simba, a male lion once owned by the royal family of Qatar, found a new palace at the Detroit Zoo. This king of the jungle arrived in the United States from the Middle East in October 2012, joining two female lions. Simba enjoys lounging in the grass at the front of the habitat. Bikira was born at an Arizona zoo and came to Detroit in 1992 when she was 9 months old. Born in 1992, she is the oldest of the lions. Zookeepers characterize her as sassy and stubborn. Erin was rescued from a junkyard in Kansas in 2009. She can sometimes be found playing a game of "soccer" by herself with her favorite toy, the boomer ball. The lions can be seen year-round in their 7,500-square-foot African Grasslands habitat, which features a 17-foot-tall glass wall for a closer view of the big cats. Warming rocks built near the glass provide the lions a toasty perch for people-watching in cooler weather.


The African lion is tan with white spots on its muzzle and above its eyes. The male has a large brown or black mane that frames its face. Both males and females have tufts of dark brown or black hair at the end of their tails. Large teeth and claws help the lion catch food and fight off intruders.


Scientific name
: Panthera leo
Continent: Africa
Habitat: Grasslands, scrublands, savannahs and open woodlands
Size: 4-7 feet long; 3-4 feet tall at the shoulder
Weight: 260-450 pounds
Diet: The African lion is a carnivore that eats animals ranging in size from small hares to large buffalo.
Reproduction: Gestation four months; one to four offspring
Lifespan: 17 years
Conservation Status: Vulnerable



The lion has a ferocious demeanor and reputation but is actually one of the most social of all cats. They often live in groups, called prides, of 15 or more individuals.

A lion’s roar can be heard five miles away.

A lion can sleep up to 20 hours a day, so it is only awake for about three years of its life.