Despite being popularly known as the "king of the jungle", the lion is an animal of the open plains, and can be found throughout Africa. It is nevertheless a threatened species with significant populations being limited to national parks in Tanzania and South Africa.
The last remnant of the Asiatic lion (subspecies Panthera leo persica), which in historical times ranged from Greece to India through Persia, lives in the Gir Forest of northwestern India. About 300 lions live in a 500-square mile sanctuary in the state of Gujarat.
Lions are recurring symbols in the coat of arms of royalty and chivalry. Lions show up in the art of China, even though lions have never lived in China. No animal has been given more attention in art and literature. C.A.W. Guggisberg, in his book Simba, says the lion is referred to 130 times in the Bible. The lion can be found in stone age cave paintings.