The Asiatic lion, Panthera leo persica, the sub-species that once ranged from Greece to central India played a major part in the symbols and folklore of Indian culture for over 2000 years. It is now found in only one pocket located in the Gir National Park of the state of Gujarat.
Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than their African cousins, though they have a less well developed mane, Asiatic lions have thicker elbow tufts and a longer tail tuft. The Asiatic Lion grows to a height of approximately 90cm, with their length ranging from 200 - 280cm. Their long and hard tails grow to an additional length of 60 - 90cm. Lions can weigh in at between 200 - 275kgs.
Their main prey species consist of Nilgai, Chital, Sambhar, Goats, Buffaloes and occasionally, also other smaller animals. The government had come to realize the importance and fragile nature of this last bastion of the Asiatic lion, and the Nawab's conservation policy was upheld. Naturalists were assigned to study and take a census of the Gir's lion population. At that time there were around 200 lions.
The Indian government then created the Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary - collectively known as the Gir Protected Area (PA), covering over 1000 km². The area is made up of dry scrubland with hills, rivers, and teak forest.
In addition to the lion population, the Gir PA contains leopards, antelope, deer, jackals, hyenas, and marsh crocodiles.The lions of Gir have made it a habit of killing livestock and sometimes even camels.
World's Most Endangered Cat Species
The Asiatic Lion has been declared the most endangered cat species in the world. Their numbers ranging between 250 - 300, all concentrated in the same area, they are under the constant threat of being wiped out by some deadly epidemic. Thus the conservationists along with the governing authorities should outline the best possible plan and take some action before it's too late to save one of the most magnificent animals on this earth.