Male Asiatic Lion

Male Asiatic Lion resting in the late morning, Gir National Park Gujarat.

About the Asiatic Lion:

Gir National Park in Gujarat is the last remaining home of the Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica). Asiatic lions were once widespread across the Middle East and into India, inhabiting desert, semi-desert and dry forests throughout the region. By the mid 20th century the world population was estimated at less than 50 individuals living. Gir National Park was first declared as a sanctuary in 1965 and now covers an area of 14, 012 km². The forest has impressive biodiversity and is home to 38 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds and 37 species of reptile.

Approx 600 lions now inhabit the dry deciduous forests of Gir National Park in Gujarat. Making it one of the world’s greatest ever conservation success stories. Despite the impressive increase in population size, the lions are still under threat from disease and inbreeding due to the small localised population. Conflict with humans is also common as three busy roads and a railway track pass through the 14,000 km² Gir Protected Area. Also, there are three big temples inside the PA that attract large number of pilgrims, particularly during certain times of the year. Due to the massive increase in population more than 200 lions now live outside the protected area where there have been cases of lions dying by falling into the unguarded wells or attacked by farmers protecting livestock.

Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than their  African cousins. Full grown male lions weigh 160-190 kg, while lionesses weigh 110-120 kg. They have a lifespan of around 18 years for the lioness and 16 for the males. The most striking aesthetic difference between Asiatic and African lions, is the distinctive fold of skin running along their bellies. Another visible difference is that Asiatic males have less mane growth at the top of the head, meaning their ears are always visible.

You can find out more about Asiatic Lions here.

 

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Male Asiatic Lion resting in the late morning, Gir National Park Gujarat.

 

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