Though lions are found across sub-Saharan Africa and parts of northwest India, they do not live in rainforest or desert habitats. In Africa, they live on the plains or savannas, and in India, they live in the Gir forest preserve.
In their habitats in Africa, lions have large populations of hoofed prey and only one other large predator to compete with, spotted hyenas. Lions can also inhabit forested areas, mountains and semi-deserts, as long as there is sufficient ground cover. At the most extreme, one lion population lives high in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia at an altitude of almost 14,000 feet.