Asiatic Lion – Interesting facts, diet, habitat, and Threats

Asiatic Lions of India

Asiatic lion is one of the most amazing, and powerful big cats found in India. The Panthera Leo’s population of lion in India, found in Gujarat. More precisely, Asiatic Lions are now confined to Sasan Gir National Park in Gujarat, India. Their kingdom is Animalia and the scientific name is Panthera Leo persica. They are one of the five big cats found in India and are better known as ‘the king of beasts’.

Asiatic lion classification

FamilyFelidae
Sub-FamilyPantherinae
GenerePanthera Leo
Common NameAsiatic Lion / Lion

Physical Characteristics

The physical characteristics of the Asiatic Lions of compared are generally smaller than African Lions. They possess a unique color and texture. Their fur color ranges from sandy or bluffish grey, Ruddy Twany or Silvery sheen Here is the Asiatic Lion’s detailed physical attributes

  • Their ears are always visible due to the mane growth at the top of the head.
  • Generally, male lions possess a head to body length of 5.5 ft – 8.2 ft (1.7-2.5 m) Whereas lioness head to body length is about 4.6-5.7 ft (1.4-1.75 m).
  •  Weight of an Asiatic Lions is around 352-419 lb or 160-190 kg whereas a female can weigh up to 243-265 lb or 110-120 kg.
  • The length of their tails is around 70-105 cm and its top has an outsized tuft.
  • At the end of their tails, they are marked with tassels.
  • The height of these amazing members of the big cat family is 107cm at the shoulders. 
  • Asiatic Lion’s elbows are messed up with heavy or long bunches of hair.
  • Having sharp canine teeth of 10 cm, they do have strong retractable claws.
  • The most unique characteristics of Asiatic Lions are the longitudinal fold of skin that runs along its belly.
Asiatic Lion Big Cat of India
Asiatic Lion, Img-Credit

What does Asiatic Lion eat?

They belong to the category of the only wild cat, found in India, which hunt in pride. They are predators and can be defined as carnivores. Asiatic Lion mostly prey for are nilgai (blue antelope), chital (spotted deer), sambhar, cattle and buffaloes found in Gir National Park.

The lions mostly prefer the meat and the facts state that fresh meat or flesh is much preferred by them. It is the eating behavior of the lions that typically the adult male lions firstly take their share. Also, they sometimes do prey for small animals as well.

Behavior

Highly social in behavior these Loins are limited to smaller pride. They generally do not travel and feed together. Rather, they associate with each other to the limited time interval at the mating season.

Hunting is a general cooperative activity among their other behavior but the male Asiatic lions or the old adult lions rarely take part. They possess small pride. It is their choice to mostly hunt at night.

The male lion doesn’t seek for a large group and prefers to be with their 2 or 3 female loins. For the activities like hunting, feeding and various other such requirements, female lioness travels with the pair of male lions.

Whereas, the lioness go for a heavy group of around 10 to 12 lioness along with their cubs. But, when it comes to being with their counterparts they are rarely found to do so. Male Asiatic Lion spends up to 20 hours per day resting or sleeping therefore, they are almost inactive for most of the day time.

How Asiatic Lion is different than African Lion

Some of the behavior and characteristics possessed by these two species of lions are similar to each other because they are from the same Felidae Family. Whereas, they also consist of various different and distinct features as well.

  • African lions generally cooperate with each other in numerous activities on a daily basis. They usually tend to be together while it comes about to hunt or travel.
  • It has also been found that mostly the African lions typically tend to live and spend most of the time with the lioness of their pride.
  • Unlike this social behavior of the African lions, the Asiatic lions do not generally tend to live with their counterparts. These amazing species always prefer small pride. They associate with their lioness at the interval or the season of mating.
  • On the comparison of the size, Asian lions tend to be smaller in size if compared to African lions. Asiatic male lions consist of a short, sparse and darker mane than the African lions having a fuller mane.
  • The unique characteristic of the longitudinal fold of skin is completely absent in African lions.

Amazing facts about Asiatic lions

There are various interesting and attention-seeking facts about these amazing big cat species. Let us have a look

  1. As mentioned, this wild population is only found in one place in the world. This place is the Gir Forests of Gujarat, India.
  2. They wander in a group called ‘Pride’ generally comprise of 7 – 14 Lions.
  3. It has been noticed that one member among the other lions in the pride tends to be dominating upon others.
  4. Mostly the hunting activity among these Leo species is done by the female lions.
  5. The male member takes part in hunting only if the prey is highly aggressive or too strong to be trapped.
  6. Again an interesting and unique feature is related to their walking style. This is because whenever they walk, their heels avoid any contact with the ground.
  7. This type of fact is general in many species of animals, similarly in the Asiatic lions, sometimes the male lions kill or eat up the cubs of the pride or sometimes their own babies as well.
  8. The most suitable time when you will find the lions to wander around will be early morning or evening time.
  9. Like the other wild animals, these big cats also do not prefer the crowd around them.

Where to see Asiatic Lion?

If, you are planning to watch this amazing big cat species. Then there is no need to rethink to plan a trip to such a mesmerizing place. Our country India is allowing or providing this great opportunity to all the visitors and tourists with numerous available facilities 

India is the only place where you can see  Asiatic Lions in their natural habitat. This wild population is highly in danger nowadays due to its small population.

Gujarat is the only place to have a live glimpse of this amazing big cat . Except that of Africa (where you can see their cousins, ‘African Lions’), their only home is the Sasan Gir National Park and the wildlife Sanctuary of Gujarat.

A very small quantity or population of Asiatic Lions exists in the Gir forest, other than that Africa is the place where we can see the subspecies of these Asian lions called African Lions. African lions exist in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the reason why we used to emphasize the similarities and differences between African and Asian lions. They both are the subspecies of the same species.

On a finger count, if roughly examined, only 20000 lions are still left in the world.

The Best time to see Asiatic Lion?

It is one of the most prominent questions which is asked by all the visitors. Most probably there is a range of months with a quiet small interval of the time period.

Generally, the summers are the best season to explore the Gir in Gujarat to see Asiatic Lions. The two months namely, April and May are very hot but considered as the best months to spot Asiatic Lions in the wild.

The time interval of 16th June to 15th October is the duration when the Gir National Park is closed every year. The other best time to visit is the time interval between the months of December to March when the climate is pleasant.

This is a piece of important information that must be noticeable to every person who has the desire to visit such a delightful place. The tourists can mostly spot the amazing species during summers.

After knowing the best time to visit, it is mandatory for you to know about the way to reach the place along with some specific instructions regarding the place.

The Gir park is situated at an approximate distance of 65 Kms from Junagarh and 40 Kms from Veraval railhead. Via both road and rail network Sasan Gir is well connected to Ahmedabad . However, the road network Gir from Ahmedabad takes around 07 hrs only to make you reach your destination .

There are large quantities of options for laid-back stay in Gir Forest Reserve. The accommodation option runs the gamut from budget to luxury hotels and much more reliable options in between the way for you as a tourist. You must also know that the forest department operates two lodges, the Sinh Sadan Forest Lodge and the Gir Lodge.

Threats to Asiatic Lions

On the IUCN red list, this rare species of the world is highly endangered and is way ahead for its extinction. As an individual, we all must have awareness about the threats to these lions and also must take the initiative to save them.

  • The saddest part is that the habitat of this endangered species has been snatched by the humans.
  • The cruel and inhumane nature of the residents has been recorded by the authorities various times.
  • Therefore, the harassment of these lions is one of the primary threats to these king of jungles.
  • Uncovered areas and open walls are important questions against their safety.
  • Around the areas of their habitat, electrification has been recorded as a dangerous activity because it harms the innocent lions.
  • Activities like mining and excavation must be avoided as they are harmful to the population of these lions.

Abstract

We all have to take planned steps to help to save these king of jungles. Various projects of the government are working on the way to save the population of Asiatic Lion from extinction.

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