Currently, the Asiatic Lion can only be found in the western part of India, in the Gir Forest National Park. Of the 6 existing lion subspecies, this is the only Asiatic and the most endangered.
- Length 2,4 - 3,3m
- Weight 150 Kg
- Longevity 17 years
- Diet Deer, antelope, wild boar and buffalo
- Habitat Forest with creeping grass
- Reproduction 2 - 3 cubs
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Lions are the second largest members of the Felidae family.
The Asian Lion is muscular, with a short snout, round ears, prominent whiskers, and a white chin. Adult males are distinguished by the mane that covers the head, neck and chest. These Lions have a pronounced longitudinal belly crease. The tail is thick with long black hair at the tip.
Asian Lions live in groups consisting of two or more females with their cubs, youth members and one or more adult males. Upon reaching adulthood, females remain in the group and males disperse. Territory boundaries are defined by roars, urine marks and patrolling. These animals are carnivores and hunt at night. Once hunting is done, dominant males claim the first part, while females and cubs feed based on their social hierarchy.
Mating occurs throughout the year. Males reach sexual maturity by age 5 and females a little earlier, by age 4. Gestation is 100-120 days and 1 to 6 offspring may be born. The interval between births is 18 to 26 months.
The young begin carnivorous feeding at 3 months of age, continuing to suckle until they are 6 months old. They spend 9 months perfecting hunting techniques, becoming fully independent at 3-4 years of age.
The infant mortality rate is very high. About 80% of the cubs die by the age of 2.
Historically, the Asian Lion had a distribution that varied from Greece, Syria, Iran, Pakistan to India. They are currently only found in the Gir area of Gujarat, India, making them vulnerable to extinction due to unpredictable events, such as an epidemic or a major forest fire. The Lion population disperses outside the protected area, implying conflicts with humans, which can lead to the poaching of Lions.
In the Gir forest there are only 350 Lions, with only 175 mature adults.
The fact that Asian Lions are restricted to a small and isolated area, makes it essential for the species' survival, that a healthy and growing population is maintained in Zoos.