Lions have been kept in menageries since the time of the Roman Empire, and have been a key species sought for exhibition in zoos over the world since the late 18th century.
Zoos are cooperating worldwide in breeding programs for the endangered Asiatic lions.
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The majority of lions kept in zoos are hybrids of different subspecies. The following table is based on the classification of the species Panthera leo provided in Mammal Species of the World.
Approximately 77% of the captive lions registered by the International Species Information System are of unknown origin. It also reflects the classification used by IUCN Red List assessors and the revision by the Cat Classification Task Force: This is the nominate lion subspecies.
Males have about a 50% chance of having a mane, but if they grow them, their manes will be modest: around 50% the size of a pure lion mane.
Ligers are much bigger than normal lions and tigers, typically 3.65 m (12.0 ft) in length, and can weigh up to 500 kg (1,100 lb).
Results indicated that lions form three phylogeographic groups, one each in North Africa and Asia, in Central Africa and in Southern Africa.
Samples of 53 lions, both wild and captive individuals, from 15 countries were used for phylogenetic analysis.
The lion typically inhabits grasslands and savannahs, but is absent in dense forest.
It is usually more diurnal than other big cats, but when persecuted adapts to being active at night and at twilight.
The Asiatic lion persica was the most distinctive, and the Cape lion had characteristics allying it more with P. Lions in eastern Kenya are genetically much closer to lions in Southern Africa than to lions in the Aberdare National Park in western Kenya.