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Male Asiatic Lion

Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Sasan Gir, is a forest and wildlife sanctuary near Talala Gir in Gujarat, India. It was established in 1...
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Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Sasan Gir, is a forest and wildlife sanctuary near Talala Gir in Gujarat, India. It was established in 1965, with a total area of 1,412 km2 (545 sq mi), of which 258 km2 (100 sq mi) is fully protected as national park and 1,153 km2 (445 sq mi) as wildlife sanctuary. It is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion.

In the 19th century, the rulers of Indian princely states used to invite the British colonists for hunting expeditions. At the end of the 19th century, only about a dozen Asiatic lions were left in India, all of them in the Gir Forest, which was part of the Nawab of Junagarh's private hunting grounds. Today, it is the only area in Asia where Asiatic lions occur and is considered one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species. The Gir ecosystem with its diverse flora and fauna is protected as a result of the efforts of the government forest department, wildlife activists and NGOs. However, faced with a drastic drop in the lion population in Gir, after British viceroys brought to his attention the plight of the lion in Asia, the sanctuary is the jewel of Gujarat's ecological resources.

The Asiatic lion is a Panthera leo leo population in India. Its range is restricted to the Gir National Park and environs in the Indian state of Gujarat. On the IUCN Red List, it is listed under its former scientific name Panthera leo persica as Endangered because of its small population size and area of occupancy.

The Asiatic lion was first described in 1826 by the Austrian zoologist Johann N. Meyer who named it Felis leo persicus. Until the 19th century, it occurred in eastern Turkey, Iran, Mesopotamia, and from east of the Indus River to Bengal and Narmada River in Central India. Since the turn of the 20th century, it is restricted to the Gir Forest National Park and surrounding areas.This lion population has steadily increased since 2010. In May 2015, the 14th Asiatic Lion Census was conducted over an area of about 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi); the lion population was estimated at 523 individuals, comprising 109 adult males, 201 adult females and 213 cubs. In August 2017, a similar census revealed 650 wild individuals.

The lion is one of five pantherine cats inhabiting India, along with the Bengal tiger (P. tigris tigris), Indian leopard (P. pardus fusca), snow leopard (P. uncia) and clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa). It was also known as "Indian lion" and "Persian lion".

There are now thought to be around 700 Asiatic lions in Gir.
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2 Comments | Report
Paul_Joslin Platinum
Paul_Joslin February 14, 2020
Great shot of an Asiatic lion that has aquired a battle scar, I have often been amazed at the ability of some Asian lions to recover well after sustaining quite severe facial scratches.
AskariSteve Platinum
AskariSteve February 20, 2020
Lovely, on my bucket list safari in India!
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