Diets of wild lions
The Asiatic lion’s diet in the wild primarily consists of Chital (Axis axis), Sambar (Rusa unicolor), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Common Langur (Semnopithecus achates), Rufous-tailed Hare (Lepus nigricollis ruficaudata) and Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) among others, which are resident in Gir forest year-round (Meena, 2009).
The African lion’s diet in the wild primarily consists of Zebra (Equus burchelli), Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), Ostrich (Struthiocamelus), Impala (Aepyceros melampu), Oryx (Oryx gazelle), Thompson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsonii), Grant’s gazelle (Gazella granti), Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), Buffalos (Syncerus caffer) and Warthogs (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) among many others (African Wildlife Foundation, 2011; Haas, Hayssen and Krausman, 2005; Hayward and Kerley, 2005; Schaller, 1972).
Feeding strategy and foraging behaviour in the wild
Lions spend most of their time inactive (20-21 hours/day), approximately 2 hours is spent walking and 1 hour eating, with the peak of their activity occurring at night (Visser, 2009; Clarke and Berry, 1992; Eloff, 1984; Schaller, 1972). Lions are predatory carnivores, the female of the species are the primary hunters and they usually hunt in groups (Estes, 1992; Vaughan, Ryan and Czaplewski, 2000). The time lions spend stalking is prey dependent, for example 7 minutes (small un-preferred prey) to 30 minutes (large preferred prey) (Hayward and Kerley, 2005). An estimated 12 to 50 kills per year per lion, the number of kills is dependent on prey availability (Eloff, 1984). Lions will hunt and consume a variety of prey but the majority of kills tend to range between 40 to 250kg with an average of 115kg (AZA, 2012). Lions have also been known to scavenge by displacing other carnivorous predators from their kill (Bauer, Nowell and Packer, 2008; Schaller, 1972). According to Haas et al. (2005) lions opportunistically acquire up to 40% of their food intake from scavenging. When large prey is captured, lions may spend several hours consuming the kill (Visser, 2009). Lions may go several days between kills, with reports of between 1.5 to 8 days being observed, the amount of time between kills was highly correlated to prey availability.