Also known as the Kalahari lion, the Transvaal lions live throughout southern Africa, from Namibia in the west to Mozambique in the east and ranging into South Africa. These lions mainly live in semi-arid grasslands and the savannah. As with all felines, Transvaal lions are carnivores that feed on herbivorous mammals such as zebra, wildebeests, and warthogs. They also might attempt to hunt larger prey, such as the Cape Buffalo, white rhino, and the South African giraffe. Transvaal lions are about the average size for lions, with males averaging 330 to 450 pounds. Females are smaller than males at 243 to 401 pounds, and on average the Transvall lion is smaller than other lion species females.
FUN FACT: The rare white lion comes from the Transvaal subspecies. These lions originate from a recessive genetic color mutation that leads to leucism. Though the mutation is to the same gene that causes albinism, leucistic lions are not albino because they still have colored eyes. Due to their rarity white lions are found mostly in captivity and zoos where they are bred for their distinctive colorings. For decades it was thought that these lions, considered divine by some in the province of Limpopo, could not survive in the wild. However, in 2009 a pride of white lions was released into their natural habitat and have thrived ever since.