Lucie the lion

Lucie, a cross between the Barbary lion and the African lion (Panthera leo leo), was born in October 2016. She came to the Foundation because she suffered a head trauma which caused cranial nerve damage. Due to the cranial nerve damage she is considered a choker because her brain is unable to properly tell her how to chew and swallow her food. She also had to be removed from her mother at one day of age because of her head trauma. Her previous facility took excellent care of her but felt the Foundation had more resources to help with her recovery. She will remain with us at the Foundation and receive multiple evaluations, including x-rays and blood work, to determine her ongoing condition.

In appearance the lion is a powerfully built, muscular cat. The fur is short and generally uniform in color, ranging from gray to reddish brown. The exception is the lion’s underside which is often white, especially in females. The back of the ears and tip of the tail are dark brown or black.

The lion is unusual among the cat species in that it lives in organized social groups called prides. The pride can consist of as many as 30 lions, with the majority being females and their offspring, along with a small number of resident males. It is common for the females within the pride to be closely related. This family bonding is often extended through communal nursing and caring of the young within the pride.

In the wild, lions live in the savannah, which is a large, open, grassy plain where they hunt zebra, antelope, wildebeest, and deer. Male lions defend the pride’s territory while females do most of the hunting. Lionesses hunt by ambush, with the majority of the hunting group chasing the prey toward individuals lying in wait. Those lying in wait are then able to give chase over short distances before leaping on the selected animal for the catch. Once the prey is taken, it is common for the males of the pride to eat first even though they may not take part in the hunting process.

The Barbary lion, also known as the Atlas lion or Nubian lion, are the largest of the lion species. Characteristics of the Barbary lion include: longer hair around the neck and throat, back of the front legs and around the belly, as well as a huge mane covering the head, neck and shoulders of the males. They are also usually a darker color than African lions but the only way to identify a true Barbary lion is by their DNA. They are now considered extinct in the wild, but they were native to north Africa and the Atlas Mountains. The Barbary lion became extinct in the wild because of their conflict with farmers as well as loss of habitat.

barbary lion Statistics:

Body Size
Gestation Period
Litter Size
Life Span

up to 11 feet long, 4 feet tall
males: up to 550 pounds     females: up to 350 pounds
105 - 115 days
2 - 3 cubs
12 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity
extinct in the wild