Asiatic Lion

(Panthera leo persica)

 

Size: 90 cm, Length: 200 280cm, Weight: 200 275 kg
Lifespan: 18 years
Population: 250-300
Family life: The females live in prides and mature males associate with the pride for mating.
Habitat: Tropical broadleaf forests
Locomotion: Lions travel long distances and use roaring to communicate and locate other pride members.
Food source: Nilgai, chital, sambhar, goats, & buffaloes
Closest relatives: Big cats like the tiger
Relationship to humans: Were once found on numerous flags and coats of arms all across Asia and Europe to signify greatness.

photo Shanthanu Bhardwaj

Cool facts:

Asiatic lions are one of many subspecies of lion.  Compared to African lions, adult males have scantier manes and a skin fold over their belly. It is easy to tell the two subspecies apart because the ears of Asiatic lions are always visible, unlike African lions.

Conservation issue:

Asiatic lions are critically endangered. Because of dramatic losses of their natural habitat due to human habitation, the geographic range of Asiatic lions has decreased and lowered the population dramatically.

What is being done now?

A breeding center has been established at the Sakkarbaug Zoo in India. So far they have successfully bred 180 lions in captivity and the hope is to reintroduce these animals into the wild to supplement the size of the wild population.

What should be done in the future?

The best plan of action would be to increase the amount habitable space for the remaining population of Asiatic lions while teaching native people about the importance of peacefully coexisting with the lions. For example, creating corridors for the lions to pass through to reach a new location without human interference.

 

Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.