World Lion Day: History, Significance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 28, 2022, 9:50

World Lion Day is observed globally on 10th August every year to celebrate the 'King of the Jungle.' The mighty lions have held human fascinations for centuries across borders and have symbolic importance in many cultures. But, sadly, the magnificent beast has witnessed a sharp decline in its population which requires an immediate call to action.

Hence, International Lion Day was created with three primary objectives:

  • To increase awareness about the declining lion population and other plights faced by the species.
  • To find ways to protect their natural environment and create more habitats, like parks and reserves, for their preservation.
  • To educate people on the dangers of living near the big cats and how to protect themselves from the fearsome creature.

World Lion Day - Significance

  • Lions have been given the scientific name 'Panthera Leo.'
  • Weighing between 300 to 550 pounds, they are the second-largest cat globally. The first is Asian Tiger.
  • They are usually light buff to deep reddish-brown. There are some rare white lions too.
  • They are among the five big cats found in India alongside the Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian leopard, Clouded Leopard, and Snow leopard.
  • Lions occupy an important place in India's history and culture. Even the Indian national emblem is adorned with this phenomenal creature on all four sides.

Why is Lion Conservation the Need of the Hour?

  • Originally, lions graced the forests of Africa, Asia, North America, and the Eurasian sub-continent. Sadly, their range today has been limited primarily to Africa and some parts of Asia.
  • Lions have disappeared from 80% of their historic range in the past century.
  • They currently exist in 27 African countries and 1 Asian country. However, only 7 of these countries contain more than a thousand lions.
  • Research estimates that the number of lions has declined from 30,000 to about 20,000 in the last two decades.
  • Poaching, trophy hunting, and habitat loss are the major threats contributing to the species' decline.

The Role of Lions in the Ecosystem

Lions are an indispensable part of the ecosystem. They are responsible for keeping the population of the grazing animals in check and ensuring ecological balance.

Further, lions can also be credited with keeping the population of their prey healthy and resilient. Targeting the weak members, they help in disease control among the prey population.

World Lion Day - History

  • The first event for World Lion Day was held in 2013.
  • Thelion day was co-founded by Dereck and Beverly Joubert of the Big Cat Initiative in partnership with National Geographic.
  • The initiative's primary goal is to protect and preserve the remaining lion species of the world.
  • The initiative has spearheaded over 120 innovative projects to protect the big species in 28 countries.

World Lion Day in India

On the occasion of World Lion Day2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared two great pieces of news:

  • The majestic Asiatic Lion living in Gujarat's Gir Forest have increased their population by almost 29%. The numbers went up from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020.
  • There is also a 36% rise in the distribution area geographically. The distribution area increased from 22,000 sq km in 2015 to 30,000 sq km in 2020.

India houses the majestic Asiatic Lions. They inhabit the protected areas of Gir National Park and Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat.

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FAQs on World Lion Day

Q.1) When is World Lion Day celebrated?

The world celebrates lion day on 10th August each year.

Q.2) Who founded International Lion Day?

The International Lion Day was co-founded by Dereck and Beverly Joubert of the Big Cat Initiative in partnership with National Geographic.

Q.3) When was the first World Lion Day event held?

The first World Lion Day event was held on 10th August 2013.