The Asiatic lion (Scientific Name - Panthera leo persica) is listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. It is also listed in Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
In addition, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) status of Asiatic Lion is Endangered.
The Asiatic lion is an endangered subspecies of Panthera leo persica. Asiatic lions are relatively smaller than African lions. While male adult lions typically weigh between 160 and 190 kg, the weight of female lions ranges between 110 and 120 kg. The height of Asiatic lions is usually around 110 cm or 3.5 feet. The maximum length of an Asiatic lion ever recorded was 115 inches or 2.92m.
The primary and the most striking difference between Asiatic lions and African lions is that Asiatic lions have a longitudinal skin fold running alongside their bellies. The fur of Asiatic lions can be sandy, buff-grey, black, or ruddy/tawny. They may also have a silvery sheen. Because of moderate mane growth, male adult lions' ears are always visible.
According to an announcement made by the Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi on 10th June 2020, the Asiatic Lion population has grown by 29%, from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020. India has increased the lion distribution area by 36% during the same period.
Asiatic Lion Vital Characteristics
Panthera Leo Persica
- Endangered on IUCN Red List
- Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972
- Listed in Appendix I of CITES
Shoulder Height - Males
107 – 120 cm
Shoulder Height - Females
80 – 107 cm
Weight - Males
160 to 190 kg
Weight - Females
110 to 120 kg
Skull Length - Males
330 to 340 mm
Skull Length - Females
292 to 302 mm
Confined to five national parks and sanctuaries in India: Gir National Park and surrounding areas in Gujarat's Saurashtra, Gir Sanctuary, Girnar Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary, and Pania Sanctuary.
Asiatic Lion Threats
The biggest threats Asiatic lions face in the sanctuaries and national parks are habitat fragmentation and poaching. The Gir National Park Protected Area is home to a railway line and three major roads. Moreover, the three major Hindu temples inside the Protected Area also witness an influx of pilgrims and tourists throughout the year. This is why almost 200 Asiatic lions live outside the Protected Area of the Gir National Park.
Although the human-lion conflict is presently negligible, the situation may go out of hand quickly. Moreover, reports have emerged that over 20,000 unguarded wells in the Protected Area have contributed to multiple lion deaths. Additionally, due to the penetration of Asiatic lions in one place, the risks of genetic inbreeding is quite high.
Asiatic Lion Conservation Status
The IUCN status of Asiatic Lion as Endangered has prompted the authorities to take multiple steps to protect the existing population of Asiatic Lions.
Besides patrolling the area, the local forest authorities sensitise people about the importance of safeguarding Asiatic lions and their role in preserving the region's biodiversity.
The Asiatic Lion is an endangered species facing multiple challenges. Proper conservation efforts are required to protect them from being poached since they are integral to the region's biodiversity and India's status as a habitable country for wildlife.
FAQs on Asiatic Lions
Q.1) What are Asiatic Lions?
Asiatic lions are an endangered subspecies of Panthera leo persica.
Q.2) What is the IUCN status of the Asiatic Lion?
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status of Asiatic Lion is Endangered.
Q.3) How many Asiatic lions are found in India?
According to an announcement made by the Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi on 10th June 2020, the Asiatic Lion population has grown by 29%, from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020.
Q.4) Where are Asiatic lions found?
Asiatic lions are generally confined to five national parks and sanctuaries in India. They are Gir National Park and surrounding areas in Gujarat's Saurashtra, Gir Sanctuary, Girnar Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary, and Pania Sanctuary.