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Home >> Wild Animals in India >> Asiatic Lion

Asiatic Lion

The Asiatic Lion has been known in India for centuries. The Ashoka Pillar, which is the national emblem of India, depicts three snarling Asiatic lions with beautifully carved curling manes and expressions. Their accurate depiction testifies to the skill of the sculptors of Mauryan times, as well as their awareness of this magnificent animal, the Asiatic Lion, often called "The King of Beasts"

Zoological name
Panthera leo

Range

The Asiatic Lion is found in the wild in India in the protected wildlife park of Gir Reserve Forest in Gujarat.

Estimated population
It is estimated that there are around 300 Asiatic Lions in the wild with over 50 in captivity, including zoos and animal parks, though many of the zoo bred lions are the result of mixed parentage between African and Asiatic Lions.

Physical appearance

Asiatic Lion is the second largest of the "Big Cats" after the Tiger. A fully- grown male lion can reach 9 feet long including its 3-foot long tail, with a dark tuft of fur at the end. An Asiatic Lion can reach upto a size of about 4 feet tall and can weigh over 200 Kg. Lionesses are smaller in size, but equally ferocious. Lionesses are usually sandy or tawny in color. Male lions can range in color from orange-yellow to dark brown. Males are characterized by their manes, which can sometimes be black in color.

Habitat
Asiatic Lions live in open grasslands or forests, including scrub jungle. Lions have been known to occasionally climb trees but are usually seen on the ground.

Diet

Asiatic Lions are carnivores and hunt for their prey. They prey includes various species of deer, antelope and wild cattle or buffalo. (In Africa lions also eat zebra and wildebeest. Lions have also been observed attacking the young of hippopotamus or elephants in Africa.)

Behavior

Asiatic Lions are the only Big Cats to live in large groups or "prides". Prides usually consist of around 15 members, including several related lionesses, their cubs and a few males. The lionesses do most of the hunting, while the males defend the pride's territory. Lions establish their territorial boundaries by roaring and scent marking. Lionesses usually stalk their prey, until they manage to approach nearby and then attack, killing their prey with a bite to the neck. Young male lions are usually expelled from the pride after they are around 3 years old. Young female lions may stay with the pride or join other prides. Many male lions remain solitary and do not join any pride.

Status

Asiatic Lions are a gravely endangered species. The last surviving Asiatic Lions in the Gir Forest in Gujarat are threatened by habitat loss and human encroachment. However they are recognized as extremely threatened and efforts are on to promote a captive breeding program in various zoos across India.

Tourists can see the Asiatic Lion in the wild, in the Gir Forest National Park in India. Lions can also be seen in zoos across India and in animal parks such as the Bannerghatta National Park near Bangalore, where big cats rescued from zoos are rehabilitated.


Wild Animals in India

Royal Bengal Tiger - Great Indian Rhinoceros - Indian Elephant - Leopard - Asiatic Lion - Barasingha - Gaur (Indian Bison) - Ganges River Dolphin


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Wildlife Sanctuaries in IndiaWildlife Sanctuaries in India

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Bharatpur Wildlife Sanctuary - Corbett National Park & Sanctuary - Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary - Gir National Park & Sanctuary - Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary - Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary - Thattekad Bird Sanctuary - Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary - Kolleru Bird Sanctuary - Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary - Karnala Bird Sanctuary - Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary - The Palamau Tiger Reserve

 

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Birding Tour India - Bird Watcher's Heaven

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Tigerland Safari - Footprints of Tiger - Essence of India with Tiger Tour
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Wildlife Safaris in India

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Bengal Tiger


Bengal Tiger

The natural heritage in India is as rich and diverse as the cultural heritage. The wildlife sanctuaries and the national parks here give you an essence of the same. Nestled in this rich land is the Royal Bengal Tiger, the only home to the Royal Tiger Cat.

 
Wild Animals in IndiaWild Animals in India


Wild Animals in India

Royal Bengal Tiger - Great Indian Rhinoceros - Indian Elephant - Leopard - Asiatic Lion - Barasingha - Gaur (Indian Bison) - Ganges River Dolphin

 
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Glimpses of India

Indian Forests - Eastern Habitats - Himalayan Wilderness - Southern India Jungles - Wild West India - Wildlife Trails
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