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Asiatic Lion Essay

2340 words - 10 pages

TheAsiatic lion(Panthera leo persica), also known as theIndian lionorPersian lion,[3]is alionsubspeciesthat exists as a single population inIndia'sGujaratstate.It is listed asEndangeredbyIUCNdue its small population size.[1]Since 2010, the lion population in theGir Forest National Parkhas steadily increased.[4]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 males, 201 females and 213 cubs.[5][6]The Asiatic lion was first described by theAustrianzoologist Johann N. Meyer under thetrinomenFelis leo persicus.[7]The Asiatic lion is one of fivebig catspeciesfound in ...view middle of the document...

Thesagittal crestis more stronglydeveloped, and thepost-orbital areais shorter than in African lion.Skull length in adult males ranges from 330 to 340 mm (13 to 13 in), and in females from 292 to 302 mm (11.5 to 11.9 in).[9]Compared to African lion populations, the Asiatic lion revealed a diminished amount ofgenetic variation, which may result from afounder effectin the recent history of the remnant population in the Gir Forest.[14]Distribution and habitatTheGir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaryin Western Gujarat is the only habitat for the Asiatic lionwhere an area of 1,412.1 km2(545.2 sq mi) was declared as a sanctuary for their conservation in1965. Later, a national park covering an area of 258.71 km2(99.89 sq mi) was established where no human activity is allowed. In the surrounding sanctuary onlyMaldharishave theright to graze their livestock.[15]The population recovered from thebrink ofextinctionto 411 individuals in 2010. Lions occupy remnant forest habitats in the two hill systems of Gir andGirnarthat comprise Gujarat’s largest tracts ofdry deciduous forest,thorny forestand savanna and provide valuable habitat for a diverse floraand fauna. Five protected areas currently exist to protect the Asiatic lion: Gir Sanctuary, Gir National Park, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary, and Girnar Sanctuary. The first three protected areas form the Gir Conservation Area, a 1,452 km2(561 sq mi) forest block that represents the core habitat of the Asiatic lions. The other two sanctuaries, Mitiyala and Girnar, protect satellite areas within dispersal distance of the Gir Conservation Area. An additional sanctuary is being established in the nearby Barda forest to serve as an alternative home for Gir lions.[4]The drier eastern part is vegetated withacaciathorn savanna and receives about 650 mm (26 in) annual rainfall; rainfall in the west is higher at about 1,000 mm (39 in) per year.[11]As of 2010, approximately 105 lions, comprising 35 males, 35 females, 19 subadults, and 16 cubs existed outside the Gir forest,representing a full quarter of the entire lion population. The increase in satellite lion populations may represent the saturation of the lion population inthe Gir forest and subsequentdispersalby sub-adults compelledto search for new territories outside their natal pride. Over the past two decades, these satellite areas became established, self-sustaining populations as evidenced by the presence of cubs since 1995.[4]As of May 2015, the lion population was estimated at 523 individuals, comprising 268 individuals in theJunagadh District, 44 in theGir Somnath District, 174 in theAmreli Districtand 37 in theBhavnagar District.[5]Former rangeThe Asiatic lions used to live inWest,Southwest,SouthandCentralregions of Asia in historic times. Now the population of the lions currently exists inWestern India'sGir Forest National Park. Thetypespecimen of the Asiatic lion was first described fromPersiain 1826, followed by descriptions of specimens...

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