rare black lion. The Lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. Lion males exceed 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, making them the 2nd largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions live in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia while other types of lions have disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans.