Indian Lion

Indian Lion on first sight looks slightly smaller then its African cousin due to absence of mane. But it makes up on this with a tuft of hair on its elbows, at the end of its tail and on its belly. The average length of Asiatic Lion is around 9 ft.

Indian Lion
Indian Lion


Lions were quite common at one time through out Northern and Central India and there have been recorded instance of Lion hunt on the outskirts of the Delhi. At present the Lions are found only in the Gir forest in the district of Junagadh in Gujarat. This forest reserve at one time was the hunting reserve of the former Maharaja of Junagadh and on his initiative Lions were protected from their impending death. The forests of Gir are mainly palas, jambul, stunted teak with undergrowth of thorny bushes and scrubs. It is ideal habitat for the Lions to hunt and to live.

Gir also has the highest density of Leopard population in any of the protected areas (around 250). The main prey basis of Lions in Gir isSambhar , Chital, Nilgai (Blue Bull), and Wild Boar and domestic cattle's of the nomadic herdsman living in the vicinity of the Gir reserve.

The Gir Lions have been observed to mate during October/November with gestation period of around 115-120 days. Unlike Tigers the Male Lion usually stays with the pride and help the female to look after and to feed the young cubs.

The estimated present population of Lions in Gir is around 359 and there is a proposal to relocate few prides of Lions to a new area to help preserve them and to protect the existing Lions from any man made or natural calamity.

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Habitat


Indian Lion prefers grasslands, shrub and open deciduous forests.


Diet


Indian Lion is carnivorous and feeds on Nilgai, Wild pig, Chital, Sambar, goats and camels.


Reproduction


Indian Lions reach the level of sexual maturity in 3- 4 years of age. Their breeding season rests between October to November. The gestation period rests for 31 - 2 months after which the females give birth to 3- 4 cubs.


Conservation status


Critically endangered. They are being widely killed by the tribal people for meat.


Lifespan


Longevity of the Indian Lion exceeds to 12 - 16 years. Females have longer lifespan than the males.

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