African lion

Panthera leo

At the Detroit Zoo
Binti, whose name means “daughter” in Swahili, was born on Sept. 10, 2020. She is the first lion born at the Detroit Zoo since 1980. Her mother Asha and aunt Amirah, born in 2016 at another zoo, joined the Detroit Zoo pride in May 2019. Binti’s father Simba, a male once owned by the royal family of Qatar, found his new palace at the Detroit Zoo in October 2012. The lions can be seen year-round in their 9,600-square-foot African Grasslands habitat, which features a 17-foot-tall acrylic wall for a closer view of the big cats. Warming rocks built near the front of the habitat provide the lions a toasty perch for people-watching in cooler weather.

African lions are tan with white spots on their muzzles and above their eyes. Males have large brown or black manes that frame their faces. Both males and females have tufts of dark brown or black hair at the end of their tails. Large teeth and claws help lions catch food and fight off intruders.

Fun Facts

  • Lions are seen as ferocious but are actually among 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.