Asiatic lion

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Asiatic lion
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{{short description|Lion population in India}}{{Subspeciesbox| name = Asiatic lion| image = Adult Asiatic Lion.jpg| image_caption = Male Asiatic lion in Gir National Park, India| image2 = Asiatic Lioness in Gir Forest.jpg| image2_caption = Lioness in Gir Forest| status = EN| status_system = IUCN3.1| status_ref = | genus = Panthera| species_link = Lion| species = leo| subspecies = leo
Carl Linnaeus>Linnaeus, 1758)| range_map = Map Guj Nat Parks Sanctuary.png| range_map_caption = Current range of the Asiatic lion| synonyms=
  • P. l. persica {{small|(Johann Nepomuk Meyer, 1826)}}
  • P. l. asiaticus {{small|(Brehm, 1829)}}
  • P. l. bengalensis {{small|(Bennett, 1829)}}
  • P. l. indica {{small|(Smee, 1833)}}
  • P. l. goojratensis {{small|(de Blainville, 1843)}}
page=546|id=14000238}}}}The Asiatic lion is a Panthera leo leo population in India.JOURNAL, Kitchener, A. C., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Eizirik, E., Gentry, A., Werdelin, L., Wilting, A., Yamaguchi, N., Abramov, A. V., Christiansen, P., Driscoll, C., Duckworth, J. W., Johnson, W., Luo, S.-J., Meijaard, E., O’Donoghue, P., Sanderson, J., Seymour, K., Bruford, M., Groves, C., Hoffmann, M., Nowell, K., Timmons, Z., Tobe, S., 2017, A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, Cat News, Special Issue 11, 71–73,weblink 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.IUCN, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, IUCN, Breitenmoser, U., Mallon, D. P., Ahmad Khan, J. and Driscoll, C., 2008, Panthera leo ssp. persica, e.T15952A5327221,weblink 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T15952A5327221.en, The Asiatic lion was first described in 1826 by the Austrian zoologist Johann N. Meyer who named it Felis leo persicus.THESIS, Meyer, J. N., 1826, Dissertatio inauguralis anatomico-medica de genere felium, Vienna, Doctoral thesis, University of Vienna, Until the 19th century, it occurred in Saudi ArabiaIUCN, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, IUCN, Bauer, H., Packer, C., Funston, P. F., Henschel, P., Nowell, K., 2016, 2016, Panthera leo, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T15951A107265605.en,weblink BOOK, Nader, I. A., 1989, Rare and endangered mammals of Saudi Arabia, 220–228, Abu-Zinada, A. H., Goriup, P. D., Nader, L. A, Wildlife conservation and development in Saudi Arabia, National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development Publishing, 3,weblink Riyadh, eastern Turkey, Iran, Mesopotamia, and from east of the Indus River to Bengal and Narmada River in Central India.BOOK, Pocock, R. I., 1939, Panthera leo, The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1, Taylor and Francis Ltd., London, 212–222,weblink Since the turn of the 20th century, it is restricted to the Gir Forest National Park and surrounding areas.BOOK, Nowell, K., Jackson, P., Asiatic lion, Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan,weblink 1996, 37–41, IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland, 978-2-8317-0045-8, This lion population has steadily increased since 2010.JOURNAL, Singh, H. S., Gibson, L.,weblink A conservation success story in the otherwise dire megafauna extinction crisis: The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) of Gir forest, 2011, Biological Conservation, 144, 5, 1753–1757, 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.02.009, In May 2015, the 14th Asiatic Lion Census was conducted over an area of about {{convert|20000|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}}; the lion population was estimated at 523 individuals, comprising 109 adult males, 201 adult females and 213 cubs.BOOK, Venkataraman, M., 2016, Wildlife and human impacts in the Gir landscape, Human Animal Conflict in Agro-Pastoral Context: Issues & Policies, Agrawal, P. K., Verghese, A., Krishna, S. R., Subaharan, K., Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, 32−40, JOURNAL, Singh, H. S., 2017, Dispersion of the Asiatic lion Panthera leo persica and its survival in human-dominated landscape outside the Gir forest, Gujarat, India, Current Science, 112, 5, 933–940, 10.18520/cs/v112/i05/933-940, JOURNAL, Singh, A. P., 2017, The Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica): 50 Years Journey for Conservation of an Endangered Carnivore and its Habitat in GIR Protected Area, Gujarat, India, Indian Forester, 143, 10, 993–1003, In August 2017, surveyors counted 650 wild lions.NEWS, Lion population roars to 650 in Gujarat forests,weblink Kaushik, H., The Times of India, 2017, 9 August 2017, NEWS, Gir forest Asiatic lion brimming population needs translocation to Madhya Pradesh, Nandakumar, A., India Live Today, 2017, 9 August 2017,weblink" title="">weblink 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).BOOK, Jhala, Y. V., Qureshi, Q., Sinha, P. R., 2011, Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India, 2010. TR 2011/003, Dehradun, National Tiger Conservation Authority, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and Wildlife Institute of India, 302,weblink" title="">weblink BOOK,weblink You Deserve, We Conserve: A Biotechnological Approach to Wildlife Conservation, Pandit, M. W., Shivaji, S., Singh, L., I. K. International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2007, 9788189866242, It was also known as "Indian lion" and "Persian lion".BOOK, Heptner, V. G., Sludskii, A. A., 1972, 1992, Mlekopitajuščie Sovetskogo Soiuza. Moskva: Vysšaia Škola, Mammals of the Soviet Union, Volume II, Part 2, Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, Washington DC, Lion,weblink 83–95, 978-90-04-08876-4, BOOK, Humphreys, P., Kahrom, E., 1999, Lion and Gazelle: The Mammals and Birds of Iran, Images Publishing, Avon, 978-0951397763, Lion, 77−80,weblink


Felis leo persicus was the scientific name proposed by Johann N. Meyer in 1826 who described an Asiatic lion skin from Persia.Following his, other naturalists and zoologists also described lion specimens from other parts of Asia that used to be considered synonyms of P. l. persica:
  • Felis leo bengalensis proposed by Edward Turner Bennett in 1829 was a lion kept in the menagerie of the Tower of London. Bennett's essay contains a drawing titled 'Bengal lion'.BOOK, Bennett, E. T., 1829,weblink The Tower Menagerie, Comprising the Natural History of the Animals Contained in That Establishment; With Anecdotes of Their Characters and History, Robert Jennings, London,
  • Felis leo goojratensis proposed by Walter Smee in 1833 was based on two skins of maneless lions from Gujarat that Smee exhibited in a meeting of the Zoological Society of London.JOURNAL, Smee, W., 1833,weblink Felis leo, Linn., Var. goojratensis, Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, Part I, December 1833, 140,
  • Leo asiaticus was proposed by Sir William Jardine, 7th Baronet in 1834 for a lion from India.BOOK, Jardine, W., 1834,weblink The Lion, Natural History of the Felinae. Series: Naturalist's library, 87−123, H. G. Bohn, London,
  • Felis leo indicus proposed by Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville in 1843 was based on an Asiatic lion skull.BOOK, Blainville, H. M. D., 1843,weblink Felis. Plate VI., Ostéographie, ou Description iconographique comparée du squelette et du système dentaire des mammifères récents et fossiles pour servir de base à la zoologie et à la géologie., J.B. Ballière et fils, Paris,
In 2017, the Asiatic lion was subsumed to P. l. leo due to close morphological and molecular genetic similarities with Barbary lion specimens.JOURNAL, Yamaguchi, N., Kitchener, A. C., Driscoll, C. A., Macdonald, D. W., 2009, Divided infraorbital foramen in the lion (Panthera leo): its implications for colonisation history, population bottlenecks, and conservation of the Asian lion (P. l. persica), Contributions to Zoology, 78, 2, 77–83, 10.1163/18759866-07802004,weblink


(File:Asiatic african lions.jpg|thumb|left|African (above) and Asiatic (below) lions, as illustrated in Johnsons Book of Nature)Fossil remains of Panthera spelaea excavated in the Cromer Stage indicate that it represented a genetically isolated and highly distinct lineage.JOURNAL, Barnett, R., Mendoza, M. L. Z., Soares, A. E. R., Ho, S. Y. W., Zazula, G., Yamaguchi, N., Shapiro, B., Kirillova, I. V., Larson, G., Gilbert, M. T. P., 2016, Mitogenomics of the Extinct Cave Lion, Panthera spelaea (Goldfuss, 1810), resolve its position within the Panthera cats, Open Quaternary, 2, 4, 10.5334/oq.24,weblink Fossil lion remains were found in Pleistocene deposits in West Bengal.JOURNAL, Dutta, A. K., 1976, Occurrence of fossil lion and spotted hyena from Pleistocene deposits of Susunia, Bankura District, West Bengal, Journal of the Geological Society of India, 17, 3, 386–391, A fossil carnassial excavated in the Batadomba Cave indicates that Panthera leo sinhaleyus inhabited Sri Lanka during the late Pleistocene, and is thought to have become extinct around 39,000 years ago. Deraniyagala described this lion in 1939 that was distinct from today's lion.JOURNAL, K., Manamendra-Arachchi, R., Pethiyagoda, R., Dissanayake, M., Meegaskumbura, 2005, A second extinct big cat from the late Quaternary of Sri Lanka, The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 12, 423–434,weblink

Lion phylogeography

Results of a phylogeographic analysis based on mtDNA sequences of lions from across the global range indicates that Sub-Saharan African lions are phylogenetically basal to all modern lions. These findings support an African origin of modern lion evolution with a probable centre in East and Southern Africa. It is likely that lions migrated from there to West Africa, eastern North Africa and via the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula into Turkey, southern Europe and northern India during the last 20,000 years. The Sahara, tropical rainforest and the Great Rift Valley are natural barriers to lion dispersal.JOURNAL, The origin, current diversity and future conservation of the modern lion (Panthera leo), R., Barnett, N., Yamaguchi, I., Barnes, A., Cooper, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2006, 273, 2119–2125, 1598, 10.1098/rspb.2006.3555, 16901830, 1635511, Genetic markers of 357 samples from captive and wild lions from Africa and India were examined during a study on lion evolution. Results indicate four lineages of lion populations: one in Central and North Africa to Asia, one in Kenya, one in Southern Africa, and one in Southern and East Africa. The first wave of lion expansion is thought to have occurred about 118,000 years ago from East Africa into West Asia, and the second wave in the late Pleistocene or early Holocene periods from Southern Africa towards East Africa.JOURNAL, Antunes, A., Troyer, J. L., Roelke, M. E., Pecon-Slattery, J., Packer, C., Winterbach, C., Winterbach, H., Johnson, W. E., The evolutionary dynamics of the Lion Panthera leo revealed by host and viral population genomics, PLoS Genetics, 4, 11, e1000251, 2008, 18989457, 2572142, 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000251, The Asiatic lion is genetically closer to North and West African lions than to the group comprising East and Southern African lions. The two groups probably diverged about 186,000–128,000 years ago. It is thought that the Asiatic lion remained connected to North and Central African lions until gene flow was interrupted due to extinction of lions in Europe and the Middle East.JOURNAL, Bertola, L. D., Van Hooft, W. F., Vrieling, K., Uit De Weerd, D. R., York, D. S., Bauer, H., Prins, H. H. T., Funston, P. J., Udo De Haes, H. A., Leirs, H., Van Haeringen, W. A., Sogbohossou, E., Tumenta, P. N., De Iongh, H. H., Genetic diversity, evolutionary history and implications for conservation of the lion (Panthera leo) in West and Central Africa, Journal of Biogeography, 38, 7, 1356–1367, 2011,weblink 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02500.x, JOURNAL, Bertola, L.D., Jongbloed, H., Van Der Gaag K.J., De Knijff, P., Yamaguchi, N., Hooghiemstra, H., Bauer, H., Henschel, P., White, P.A., Driscoll, C.A., Tende, T., Ottosson, U., Saidu, Y., Vrieling, K., de Iongh, H. H., 2016, Phylogeographic patterns in Africa and High Resolution Delineation of genetic clades in the Lion (Panthera leo), Scientific Reports, 6, 30807, 10.1038/srep30807, 27488946, 4973251, 2016NatSR...630807B, Asiatic lions are genetically less diverse than lions in Africa, which may be the result of a founder effect in the recent history of the remnant population in the Gir Forest.JOURNAL, O’Brien, S. J., Martenson, J. S., Packer, C., Herbst, L., de Vos, V., Joslin, P., Ott-Joslin, J., Wildt, D. E. and Bush, M., 1987, Biochemical genetic variation in geographic isolates of African and Asiatic lions, National Geographic Research, 3, 1, 114–124,weblink" title="">weblink


{{multiple image |align=right |direction=vertical
|image1=Asiatic Lion Cub.jpg |caption1=Asiatic lion cub
|image2=Persicaleo.jpg |caption2=Adult male and female Asiatic lions. Sketch by A. M. Komarov.
|image3=Gir lion.jpg |caption3=A male lion with a rather thick mane and bushy tail in Gir Forest}}
The Asiatic lion's fur ranges in colour from ruddy-tawny, heavily speckled with black, to sandy or buffish grey, sometimes with a silvery sheen in certain lights. Males have only moderate mane growth at the top of the head, so that their ears are always visible. The mane is scanty on the cheeks and throat where it is only {{convert|10|cm|in|abbr=on}} long. About half of Asiatic lions' skulls from the Gir forest have divided infraorbital foramina, whereas African lions have only one foramen on either side. The sagittal crest is more strongly developed, and the post-orbital area is shorter than in African lion. Skull length in adult males ranges from {{convert|330|to|340|mm|in|abbr=on}}, and in females from {{convert|292|to|302|mm|in|abbr=on}}. It differs from the African lion by a larger tail tuft and less inflated auditory bullae.The most striking morphological character of the Asiatic lion is a longitudinal fold of skin running along its belly.JOURNAL, O’Brien, S. J., Joslin, P., Smith, G. L. III, Wolfe, R., Schaffer, N., Heath, E., Ott-Joslin, J., Rawal, P. P., Bhattacharjee, K. K., and Martenson, J. S., 1987,weblink Evidence for African origins of founders of the Asiatic lion Species Survival Plan, Zoo Biology, 6, 99–116, 10.1002/zoo.1430060202, 2, Shoulder height of males is {{convert|107|-|120|cm|ft|abbr=off}}, and of females {{convert|80|-|107|cm|ft|abbr=off}}.BOOK, Sterndale, R. A., 1884, No. 200 Felis leo,weblinkweblink 159–161, Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon, Thacker, Spink and Co, Calcutta, Head-and-body measurements of two lions in Gir Forest were {{convert|1.98|m|in|abbr=on}} each, with tail-lengths of {{convert|0.79|–|0.89|m|in|abbr=on}} and total lengths of {{convert|2.82|–|2.87|m|in|abbr=on}}, respectively. The Gir lion is similar in size to the Central African lion, and smaller than large African lions.JOURNAL, Smuts, G.L., Robinson, G.A., Whyte, I.J., Comparative growth of wild male and female lions (Panthera leo), Journal of Zoology, 1980, 190, 3, 365–373, 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1980.tb01433.x, 2010JZoo..281..263G, Adult males weigh {{convert|160|to|190|kg|lb|abbr=on}}, while females weigh {{convert|110|to|120|kg|lb|abbr=on}}.BOOK, Chellam, R. and A. J. T. Johnsingh, 1993, Management of Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest, India, 409–423, Mammals as predators: the proceedings of a symposium held by the Zoological Society of London and the Mammal Society, London. Volume 65 of Symposia of the Zoological Society of London, Dunstone, N., Gorman, M. L., Zoological Society of London, London,


Colour and development of manes in male lions varies between regions, among populations and with age of lions.JOURNAL, Haas, S.K., Hayssen, V., Krausman, P.R., Panthera leo, 2005, Mammalian Species, 762, 1–11,weblink 10.1644/1545-1410(2005)762[0001:PL]2.0.CO;2, In general, the Asiatic lion differs from the African lion by a less developed mane. The manes of most lions in ancient Greece and Asia Minor were also less developed and did not extend to below the belly, sides or ulnas. Lions with such smaller manes were also known in the Syrian region, Arabian peninsula and Egypt, whereas Barbary and Cape lions had underbelly hair.JOURNAL, Barnett, R., Yamaguchi, N., Barnes, I., Cooper, A., 2006, Lost populations and preserving genetic diversity in the lion Panthera leo: Implications for its ex situ conservation, Conservation Genetics, 7, 4, 507–514, 10.1007/s10592-005-9062-0, In contrast, a stone relief at Nineveh in the Mesopotamian Plain depicts a lion with underbelly hair. Therefore, it was suspected that the Mesopotamian lion may have been a distinct subspecies, for which the scientific name Panthera leo mesopotamica was proposed.JOURNAL, Ashrafian, H., 2011, An extinct Mesopotamian lion subspecies, Veterinary Heritage, 34, 2, 47–49,

Exceptionally sized lions

The confirmed record total length of a male Indian lion is {{convert|2.92|m|in|abbr=on}}, including the tail.Sinha, S. P. (1987). Ecology of wildlife with special reference to the lion (Panthera leo persica) in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, Saurashtra, Gujurat. Ph.D. thesis, Saurashtra University, Rajkot {{ISBN|3844305459}}.Emperor Jahangir allegedly speared a lion in the 1620s that measured {{convert|3.10|m|in|abbr=on}} and weighed {{convert|306|kg|lb|abbr=on}}.BOOK, Brakefield, T., 1993, Big Cats, St. Paul, Voyageur Press, 67, Lion: physical characteristics,weblink In 1841, Austen Henry Layard accompanied hunters in Khuzestan, Iran, and sighted a lion which "had done much damage in the plain of Ram Hormuz," before one of his companions killed it. He described it as being "unusually large and of very dark brown colour", with some parts of its body being almost black.JOURNAL, Kinnear, N. B., 1920, The past and present distribution of the lion in south eastern Asia, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 27, 34–39,weblink In 1935, a British Admiral claimed to have sighted a maneless lion feeding on a goat near Quetta. He wrote "It was a large lion, very stocky, light tawny in colour, and I may say that no one of us three had the slightest doubt of what we had seen until, on our arrival at Quetta, many officers expressed doubts as to its identity, or to the possibility of there being a lion in the district."

Distribution and habitat

(File:Lion Gir.jpg|thumb|A lioness in Gir)In Saurashtra's Gir Forest, an area of {{convert|1412.1|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}} was declared as a sanctuary for Asiatic lion conservation in 1965. This sanctuary and the surrounding areas are the only habitats supporting the Asiatic lion. After 1965, a national park was established covering an area of {{convert|258.71|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}} where human activity is not allowed. In the surrounding sanctuary only Maldharis have the right to take their livestock for grazing.JOURNAL,weblink 10.1177/1070496508329352, The Asiatic Lion and the Maldharis of Gir Forest, The Journal of Environment & Development, 18, 2, 154–176, 2009, Varma, K., Lions inhabit remnant forest habitats in the two hill systems of Gir and Girnar that comprise Gujarat's largest tracts of tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, thorny forest and savanna, and provide valuable habitat for a diverse flora and 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 {{convert|1452|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}} forest block that represents the core habitat of the lion population. 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 Wildlife Sanctuary to serve as an alternative home for lions. The drier eastern part is vegetated with acacia thorn savanna and receives about {{convert|650|mm|in|abbr=on}} annual rainfall; rainfall in the west is higher at about {{convert|1000|mm|in|abbr=on}} per year.The lion population recovered from the brink of extinction to 411 individuals by 2010. In that year, approximately 105 lions lived outside the Gir forest, representing a quarter of the entire lion population. Dispersing sub-adults established new territories outside their natal prides, and as a result the satellite lion population has been increasing since 1995.By 2015, the total population had grown to an estimated 523 individuals, inhabiting an area of {{convert|7000|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}} in the Saurashtra region. The Asiatic Lion Census conducted in 2017 revealed about 650 individuals.

Former range

{{multiple image |align=right |direction=vertical
|image1=Antoin Sevruguin 7 Men with live lion.jpg |caption1=Men with a chained lion in Iran, ca. 1880.WEB, Sevruguin, A., Men with live lion, National Museum of Ethnology in Leiden, The Netherlands; Stephen Arpee Collection,weblink 1880, 2018-03-26, Photograph by Antoin Sevruguin exhibited in the National Museum of Ethnology (Netherlands).
|image2=Britishmuseumassyrianlionhuntreliefdyinglion.jpg |caption2=The Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal, a sequence of Assyrian palace reliefs, Nineveh, Mesopotamia, 7th century BC}}
The Asiatic lion used to occur in Arabia, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Baluchistan. In South Caucasia, it was known since the Holocene and became extinct in the 10th century. Until the middle of the 19th century, it survived in regions adjoining Mesopotamia and Syria, and was still sighted in the upper reaches of the Euphrates River in the early 1870s. By the late 19th century, the Asiatic lion had become extinct in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.BOOK, Üstay, A. H., 1990, Hunting in Turkey, BBA, Istanbul, The last known lion in Iraq was killed on the lower Tigris in 1918.BOOK, Hatt, R. T., 1959, The mammals of Iraq, Ann Arbor, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Historical records in Iran indicate that it ranged from the Khuzestan Plain to the Fars Province at elevations below {{convert|2000|m|ft|abbr=on}} in steppe vegetation and pistachio-almond woodlands.JOURNAL, Khosravifard, S., Niamir, A., 2016, The lair of the lion in Iran, Cat News, Special Issue 10, 14–17,weblink It was widespread in the country, but in the 1870s, it was sighted only on the western slopes of the Zagros Mountains, and in the forest regions south of Shiraz. It served as the national emblem and appeared on the country's flag. Some of the country's last lions were sighted in 1941 between Shiraz and Jahrom in the Fars Province, and in 1942, a lion was spotted about {{convert|65|km|mile|abbr=on}} northwest of Dezful.BOOK, Firouz, E., 2005, Lion,weblink The complete fauna of Iran, I. B. Tauris, London, New York, 978-1-85043-946-2, 65, In 1944, the corpse of a lioness was found on the banks of the Karun River in Iran's Khuzestan Province.BOOK, Guggisberg, C. A. W., 1961, Simba: The Life of the Lion, Howard Timmins, Cape Town, BOOK, Mitra, S., Gir Forest and the saga of the Asiatic lion, 2005, Indus, New Delhi,weblink 978-8173871832, Reginald Innes Pocock suggested that the restricted distribution of the Asiatic lion in India indicates that it was a comparatively recent immigrant and arrived in the country through Persia and Baluchistan, before humans limited its dispersal. In the early 19th century, the Asiatic lion occurred in Sind, Bahawalpur, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajastan, Haryana, Bihar and eastward as far as Palamau and Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.BOOK, Blanford, W. T., 1889, Felis leo. The Lion, 56–58,weblink The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia, Taylor and Francis, London, It once ranged to Bengal in the east and up to the Narmada River in the south, but declined under heavy hunting pressure. The advent and increasing availability of firearms led to its extinction over large areas.(File:قالی و ترمه ایرانی- موزه فرش 03.jpg|thumb|Persian Lion in Carpet)Heavy hunting by British colonial officers and Indian rulers caused a steady and marked decline of lion numbers in the country. Lions were exterminated in Palamau by 1814, in Baroda, Hariana and Ahmedabad district in the 1830s, in Kot Diji and Damoh in the 1840s. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a British officer shot 300 lions. The last lions of Gwalior and Rewah were shot in the 1860s. One lion was killed near Allahabad in 1866. The last lion of Mount Abu in Rajasthan was spotted in 1872.BOOK, Sharma, B. K., Kulshreshtha, S., Sharma, S., Singh, S., Jain, A., Kulshreshtha, M., 2013, In situ and ex situ conservation: Protected Area Network and zoos in Rajasthan, Faunal Heritage of Rajasthan, India: Conservation and Management of Vertebrates, Sharma, B. K., Kulshreshtha, S., Rahmani, A. R., Springer Science & Business Media, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London,weblink 9783319013459, By the late 1870s, lions were extinct in Rajastan. By 1880, no lion survived in Guna, Deesa and Palanpur districts, and only about a dozen lions were left in Junagadh district. By the turn of the century, the Gir Forest held the only Asiatic lion population in India, which was protected by the Nawab of Junagarh in his private hunting grounds.

Ecology and behaviour

{{multiple image |align=right |direction=vertical
| image1=Asiatic lion marking its territory.jpg|caption1=A male lion spraymarking in Gir Forest
| image2=Panthera_leo_persica(Asiatic_Lion)_Gir.jpg |caption2=Young male}}
Male Asiatic lions are solitary or associate with up to three males forming a loose pride. Pairs of males rest, hunt and feed together, and display marking behaviour at the same sites. Females associate with up to 12 females forming a stronger pride together with their cubs. They share large carcasses among each other, but seldom with males. Female and male lions usually associate only for a few days when mating, but rarely live and feed together.BOOK, Joslin, P., 1973, The Asiatic lion: a study of ecology and behaviour, University of Edinburgh, UK, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, BOOK, Meena V., 2008, Reproductive strategy and behaviour of male Asiatic Lions, Dehra Dun, Wildlife Institute of India, Results of a radio telemetry study indicate that annual home ranges of male lions vary from {{convert|144|to|230|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}} in dry and wet seasons. Home ranges of females are smaller, varying between {{convert|67|and|85|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}}.BOOK, Chellam, R., 1993, Ecology of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), Saurashtra University, Rajkot, India, Wildlife Institute of India, During hot and dry seasons, they favour densely vegetated and shady riverine habitats, where prey species also congregate.JOURNAL, Chellam, R., 1997, Asia's Envy, India's Pride, Srishti, 66–72, JOURNAL, Jhala, Y. V., Mukherjee, S., Shah, N., Chauhan, K. S., Dave, C. V., Meena, V., and Banerjee, K., 2009, Home range and habitat preference of female lions (Panthera leo persica) in Gir forests, India, Biodiversity and Conservation, 18, 13, 3383–3394, 10.1007/s10531-009-9648-9, Coalitions of males defend home ranges containing one or more female prides.BOOK, Johnsingh, A.J.T. and Chellam, R., 1991, Asiatic lions, 92–93, Seidensticker, J., Lumpkin, S., Knight, F., Great Cats, London, Merehurst, Together, they hold a territory for a longer time than single lions. Males in coalitions of three to four individuals exhibit a pronounced hierarchy with one male dominating the others.JOURNAL, Chakrabarti, S., Jhala, Y. V., 2017, Selfish partners: resource partitioning in male coalitions of Asiatic lions, Behavioral Ecology, 28, 6, 1532–1539, 10.1093/beheco/arx118, 29622932, 5873260,

Feeding ecology

In general, lions prefer large prey species within a weight range of {{convert|190|to|550|kg|lb|abbr=on}} irrespective of their availability.JOURNAL, Hayward, M. W., Kerley, G. I. H., yes, 2005, Prey preferences of the lion (Panthera leo),weblink Journal of Zoology, 267, 309–322, 10.1017/S0952836905007508, 3, 2010JZoo..281..263G,, Domestic cattle have historically been a major component of the Asiatic lions' diet in the Gir Forest.Inside the Gir Forest National Park, lions predominantly kill chital, sambar, nilgai, cattle, buffalo and less frequently also wild boar. They most commonly kill chital, which weighs only around {{convert|50|kg|lb|abbr=on}}. They prey on sambar deer when the latter descend from the hills during summer. Outside the protected area where wild prey species do not occur, lions prey on buffalo and cattle, rarely also on camel. They kill most prey less than {{convert|100|m|ft|abbr=on}} away from water bodies, charge prey from close range and drag carcasses into dense cover.In 1974, the Forest Department estimated the wild ungulate population at 9,650 individuals. In the following decades, the wild ungulate population has grown consistently to 31,490 in 1990 and 64,850 in 2010, including 52,490 chital, 4,440 wild boar, 4,000 sambar, 2,890 nilgai, 740 chinkara, and 290 four-horned antelope. In contrast, populations of domestic buffalo and cattle declined following resettlement, largely due to direct removal of resident livestock from the Gir Conservation Area. The population of 24,250 domestic livestock in the 1970s declined to 12,500 by the mid-1980s, but increased to 23,440 animals in 2010. Following changes in both predator and prey communities, Asiatic lions shifted their predation patterns. Today, very few livestock kills occur within the sanctuary, and instead most occur in peripheral villages. Depredation records indicate that in and around the Gir Forest, lions killed on average 2,023 livestock annually between 2005 and 2009, and an additional 696 individuals in satellite areas.Dominant males consume about 47% more from kills than their coalition partners. Aggression between partners increases when coalitions are large, but kills are small.


{{multiple image |align=right |direction=vertical
|image1=Asiatic Lions Mating in Gir Forest.jpg |caption1=Lions mating in Gir Forest
|image2=FAMILY TIME.jpg |caption2=A pride of adult lions and their cubs}}
Asiatic lions mate foremost between September and January. Mating lasts three to six days. During these days, they usually do not hunt, but only drink water. Gestation lasts about 110 days. Litters comprise one to four cubs.JOURNAL, Chellam, R., 1987, The Gir Lions, Vivekananda Kendra Patrika, 153–157, The average interval between births is 24 months, unless cubs die due to infanticide by adult males or because of diseases and injuries. Cubs become independent at the age of about two years. Subadult males leave their natal pride latest at the age of three years and become nomads until they establish their own territory.Dominant males mate more frequently than their coalition partners. During a study carried out between December 2012 and December 2016, three females were observed switching mating partners in favour of the dominant male. Monitoring of more than 70 mating events showed that females mated with males of several rivaling prides that shared their home ranges, and that these males were tolerant toward the same cubs. Only new males that entered the female territories killed unfamiliar cubs. Young females mated foremost with males within their home ranges. Older females selected males at the periphery of their home ranges.JOURNAL, Chakrabarti, S., Jhala, Y. V., 2019, Battle of the sexes: a multi-male mating strategy helps lionesses win the gender war of fitness, Behavioral Ecology, 30, 4, 1050–1061, 10.1093/beheco/arz048,

Sympatric carnivores

File:Paul de Vos - A lion and three wolves.jpg|thumb|Painting by Paul de Vos from 1638–1640, in the Museo del Prado, Madrid, depicting three wolves attacking a lion.]]Carnivores that are sympatric with the Asiatic lion in the Gir Forest National Park and surrounding landscapes include Indian leopard, Striped hyena, Golden jackal, Jungle cat, Asiatic wildcat, Indian wolf, Sloth bear, Asiatic black bear, Bengal tiger, Dhole and Rusty-spotted cat.JOURNAL, Pathak, B. J., 1990, Rusty-spotted Cat Felis rubiginosa Geoffroy: a new record for Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 87, 8, JOURNAL, Alam, M.S., Khan, J.A., Njoroge, C.H., Kumar, S. and Meena, R.L., 2015, Food preferences of the Golden Jackal Canis aureus in the Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat, India, Journal of Threatened Taxa, 7, 2, 6927–6933, 10.11609/JoTT.o3954.6927-33,

Lion and tiger

Before the mid-20th century, both the lion and tiger occurred in a few West and Central Asian countries, besides South Asia, though often in different times or habitats:JOURNAL, Mazák, V., 1981,weblink Panthera tigris, Mammalian Species, 152, 152, 1–8, 10.2307/3504004, 3504004,
  • In Iraq, lions were present along the upper and lower reaches of the Euphrates in the early 19th century. The last lions appear to have been killed about the time of the military actions of 1916-18. In northern Iraq, a single Caspian tiger was sighted in a forest near Mosul in 1892, probably a migrant from Iran or Turkey.JOURNAL, Kock, D., 1990, Historical record of a tiger, Panthera tigris (Linnaeus, 1758), in Iraq, Zoology in the Middle East, 4, 11–15, 10.1080/09397140.1990.10637583,
  • In Transcaucasia, lions were extinct by the 10th century. Caspian tigers occurred in hilly and lowland forests and moved into the eastern plains of the Trans-Caucasus up to the Don River basin and the Zangezur Mountains in northwestern Iran.BOOK, Heptner, V. G., Sludskij, A. A., 1972, 1992, Mlekopitajuščie Sovetskogo Soiuza. Moskva: VysÅ¡aia Å kola, Mammals of the Soviet Union. Volume II, Part 2. Carnivora (Hyaenas and Cats), Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, Washington DC, Tiger,weblink 95–202,
  • In India, the Bengal tiger occurs in the border-triangle of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. In February 2019, a tiger was recorded by a camera-trap in the area of Lunavada in Mahisagar district, in eastern Gujarat, causing people to consider the prospect of coexistence between the big cats.NEWS, The Hindustan Times, Like humans, animals too have a right to migrate,weblink 2019-02-18, 2019-03-17, NEWS, Ghai, R., Camera trap proves Gujarat now has tiger, Down To Earth,weblink 2019-02-12, 2019-03-17, In end of February however, it was found dead, and had probably died of starvation.NEWS, Kaushik, H., Tiger that trekked from MP to Gujarat died of starvation: Post-mortem report, The Times of India,weblink 2019, 2019-03-17,


The Asiatic lion currently exists as a single subpopulation, and is thus vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events, such as an epidemic or large forest fire. There are indications of poaching incidents in recent years. There are reports that organized gangs have switched attention from tigers to these lions. There have also been a number of drowning incidents after lions fell into wells.Nearly 25 lions in the vicinity of Gir Forest were found dead in October 2018. Four of them had died because of canine distemper virus, the same virus that had killed several Serengeti lions earlier.NEWS, Bobins, A., Did The Failure To Set Up A 'Second Home' For In Madhya Pradesh Cause Lion Deaths In Gir?, India Times,weblink 2018, 2018-10-05, NEWS, Asiatic lions in Gujarat's Gir forest dying of Canine Distemper Virus: ICMR, The Hindustan Times, New Delhi,weblink 2018, 2018-10-05, Prior to the resettlement of Maldharis, the Gir forest was heavily degraded and used by livestock, which competed with and restricted the population sizes of native ungulates. Various studies reveal tremendous habitat recovery and increases in wild ungulate populations following the Maldhari resettlement during the last four decades.

Conflicts with humans

Since the mid 1990s, the Asiatic lion population has increased to an extent that by 2015 about a third resided outside the protected area. Hence, conflict between local residents and wildlife also increased. Local people protect their crops from nilgai, wild pigs and other herbivores by using electrical fences that are powered with high voltage. Some consider the presence of predators a benefit, as latter keep the herbivore population in check. But some people also fear the lions and killed several in retaliation for attacks on livestock.BOOK, Meena, V., 2016, Wildlife and human impacts in the Gir landscape, Agrawal, P.K., Verghese, A., Radhakrishna, S. and Subaharan, K., Human Animal Conflict in Agro-Pastoral Context: Issues & Policies, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, In July 2012, a lion dragged a man from the veranda of his house and killed him about {{convert|50|-|60|km|miles|abbr=on}} from the Gir Forest National Park. This was the second attack by a lion in this area, six months after a 25-year-old man was attacked and killed in Dhodadar.NEWS, Anonymous,weblink Man-eater lion kills 50-year-old in Amreli, preys on him, dna, 2012, March 28, 2015,


Panthera leo persica was included on CITES Appendix I, and is fully protected in India.


(File:Lion Reintron Sites in India.png|thumb|right|Proposed reintroduction sites in India. Pink spots indicate former populations, blue spots indicate proposed sites.)


In the 1950s, biologists advised the Indian government to re-establish at least one wild population in the Asiatic lion's former range to ensure the population's reproductive health and to prevent it from being affected by an outbreak of an epidemic. In 1956, the Indian Board for Wildlife accepted a proposal by the Government of Uttar Pradesh to establish a new sanctuary for the envisaged reintroduction, Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary, covering {{convert|96|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}} in eastern Uttar Pradesh, where climate, terrain and vegetation is similar to the conditions in the Gir Forest. In 1957, one male and two female wild-caught Asiatic lions were set free in the sanctuary. This population comprised 11 animals in 1965, which all disappeared thereafter.BOOK, Johnsingh, A.J.T., 2006, Field Days: A Naturalist's Journey Through South and Southeast Asia,weblink Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary ready to play second home to Asiatic lions?, Universities Press, Hyderabad, 978-8173715525, 126–138, The Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project to find an alternative habitat for reintroducing Asiatic lions was pursued in the early 1990s. Biologists from the Wildlife Institute of India assessed several potential translocation sites for their suitability regarding existing prey population and habitat conditions. The Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, in northern Madhya Pradesh, was ranked as the most promising location, followed by Sita Mata Wildlife Sanctuary and Darrah National Park.Walker, S. (1994). Executive summary of the Asiatic lion PHVA. First draft report. Zoo’s Print: 2–22. Until 2000, 1,100 families from 16 villages had been resettled from the Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, and another 500 families from eight villages envisaged to be resettled. With this resettlement scheme the protected area was expanded by {{convert|345|km2|sqmi|abbr=on}}.WEB, Hugo, K.,weblink Asia's Lions Live In One Last Place on Earth—And They're Thriving, National Geographic Society, 2016, 2016-08-10, Gujarat state officials resisted the relocation, since it would make the Gir Sanctuary lose its status as the world's only home of the Asiatic lion. Gujarat raised a number of objections to the proposal, and thus the matter went before the Indian Supreme Court. In April 2013, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the Gujarat state to send some of their Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh to establish a second population there.Anand, U. (2013). Supreme Court gives Madhya Pradesh lions' share from Gujarat's Gir. The Indian Express Ltd., 17 April 2013. The court had given wildlife authorities six months to complete the transfer. The number of lions and which ones to be transported will be decided at a later date. As of now, the plan to shift lions to Kuno is in jeopardy, with Madhya Pradesh having apparently given up on acquiring lions from Gujarat.NEWS, Sharma, R., The Times of India, Tired of Gujarat reluctance on Gir lions, MP to release tigers in Kuno,weblink 2017, 2018-01-27, NEWS, Hindustan Times, Stalemate on translocation of Gir lions Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh to be used as tiger habitat now,weblink 2017, 2018-01-27,


{{See also|Iran's Project Lion}}In 1977, Iran attempted to restore its lion population by transporting Gir lions to Arzhan National Park, but the project met resistance from the local population, and thus it was not implemented. However, this did not stop Iran from seeking to bring back the lion.NEWS, Dey, A., Times of India, Rajasthan to be home for cheetahs,weblink 2009-07-16, 2009-08-09, NEWS, Khosravifard, S.,weblink Russia, Iran exchange tigers for leopards but some experts express doubts, Payvand News, 22 May 2010, 6 August 2011,

In captivity

{{See also|Bahawalpur Zoo|Dublin Zoo|Nahargarh Biological Park|Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park|Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden|Sanjay Gandhi National Park|Tyavarekoppa Lion and Tiger Safari}}{{multiple image |align=right |direction=vertical
|image1=Asiatic Lion in Lucknow Zoo.jpg |caption1=A captive lion in Lucknow Zoo |width1=
|image2=| |caption2=Captive male lion at Chester Zoo, United Kingdom |width2=
}}Until the late 1990s, captive Asiatic lions in Indian zoos were haphazardly interbred with African lions confiscated from circuses, leading to genetic pollution in the captive Asiatic lion stock. Once discovered, this led to the complete shutdown of the European and American endangered species breeding programs for Asiatic lions, as its founder animals were captive-bred Asiatic lions originally imported from India and were ascertained to be intraspecific hybrids of African and Asian lions. In North American zoos, several Indian-African lion crosses were inadvertently bred, and researchers noted that "the fecundity, reproductive success, and spermatozoal development improved dramatically."BOOK, Tudge, C., Engineer In The Garden, 2011, Random House, 9781446466988, 42, BOOK, Avise, J. C., Hamrick, J. L., Conservation Genetics: Case Histories from Nature, 1996, Springer Science & Business Media, 9780412055812, 67, DNA fingerprinting studies of Asiatic lions have helped in identifying individuals with high genetic variability, which can be used for conservation breeding programs.JOURNAL, Shankaranarayanan, P., Banerjee, M., Kacker, R. K., Aggarwal, R. K. and Singh, L., 1997, Genetic variation in Asiatic lions and Indian tigers,weblink" title="">weblink Electrophoresis, 18, 9, 1693–1700, 10.1002/elps.1150180938, In 2006, the Central Zoo Authority of India stopped breeding Indian-African cross lions stating that "hybrid lions have no conservation value and it is not worth to spend resources on them".WEB,weblink Hybrid lions at Chhatbir Zoo in danger, 18 September 2006, The Times of India, 30 September 2014, Now only pure native Asiatic lions are bred in India.The Asiatic lion International Studbook was initiated in 1977, followed in 1983 by the North American Species Survival Plan (SSP).JOURNAL, Zingg, R., 2007, Asiatic Lion Studbooks: a short history, Zoos' Print Journal, XXII, 6, 4,weblink" title="">weblink The North American population of captive Asiatic lions was composed of descendants of five founder lions, three of which were pure Asian and two were African or African-Asian hybrids. The lions kept in the framework of the SSP consisted of animals with high inbreeding coefficients.In the early 1990s, three European zoos imported pure Asiatic lions from India: London Zoo obtained two pairs; the Zürich Zoologischer Garten one pair; and the Helsinki Zoo one male and two females. In 1994, the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for Asiatic lions was initiated. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) published the first European Studbook in 1999. By 2005, there were 80 Asiatic lions kept in the EEP — the only captive population outside of India.As of 2009, more than 100 Asiatic lions were kept within the EEP. The SSP had not resumed; pure-bred Asiatic lions are needed to form a new founder population for breeding in American zoos.WEB, The Asiatic lion captive breeding programme,weblink" title="">weblink,

In culture

{{details|Lion (heraldry)|Cultural depictions of lions}}File:Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.jpg|thumb|The famous original sandstone sculpted Lion Capital of Ashoka preserved at Sarnath Museum, which was originally erected around 250 BC atop an Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath. The angle from which this picture has been taken, minus the inverted bell-shaped lotus flower, has been adopted as the National emblem of India, showing the horse on the left and the bull on the right of the Ashoka Chakra in the circular base on which the four lions are standing back to back. On the far side is an elephant and a lion instead. The wheel Ashoka Chakra from its base has been placed onto the center of the National Flag of IndiaNational Flag of India

South and East Asia

{{See also|Kangla Sha}}
  • The Sanskrit word for 'lion' is 'सिंह' (siṃha), which also signifies the Leo of the Zodiac.Apte, V. S. (1957–1959). weblink" title="">सिंहः siṃhḥ. In: Revised and enlarged edition of Prin. V. S. Apte's The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary. Prasad Prakashan, Poona. The Mahabharata () contains literature on the lion, such as a comparison to the tiger.BOOK, 1883-1896,weblink The Mahabharata, 2016-06-15, Ganguli, K. M., Book 7: Drona Parva. Section LXVIII, John Bruno Hare,
  • Since ancient times, lion statues adorned palaces and temples and other important buildings in India, and in Buddhist culture, the lion was depicted as the protector of Dharma. In Hinduism lions are associated with Gods and Goddesses.{{citation needed|date=February 2017}} Narasimha (Narasingh or Narasinga – man-lion) is described as an incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu within the Puranic texts of Hinduism and is worshiped as "Lion God". Thus, Asiatic lions are considered sacred by all Hindus in India. A lion-faced dakini also appears in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. The Hindu deity is known as Narasimha and the Tibetan Buddhist form is known as Siṃhamukhā in Sanskrit and Senge Dongma (Wyl. seng ge gdong ma) in Tibetan.WEB,weblink Simhamukha,, 2010-12-14, The lion is found on numerous flags and coats of arms all across Asia and Europe, and also appears on the Emblem of India and on the flag of Sri Lanka. Singhāsana, meaning seat of a lion, is the traditional Sanskrit name for the throne of a Hindu kingdom in India and Sinhalese kingdom in Sri Lanka since antiquity.
  • The surnames Singh, Singha and Sinha are related to the Prakrit word siṁgha and Sanskrit word siṃhḥ which refer to lions, tigers and leopards.Turner, R. L. (1962–1966). A comparative dictionary of Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press. Includes three supplements, published 1969–1985. These are common Hindu and Sikh surnames dating back over 2000 years{{citation needed|date=November 2014}} to ancient India. They originally were only used by Rajputs, a Hindu kshatriya or military caste in India since the seventh century. After the birth of the Khalsa brotherhood in 1699, the Sikhs adopted the name "Singh" at the direction of Guru Gobind Singh. As this name was associated with higher classes and royalty, this action was to combat the prevalent caste system and discrimination by last name. Along with millions of Hindu Rajputs today, it is also used by up to 10 million Sikhs worldwide.McCleod, W. H. (1989). The Sikhs: History, Religion, and Society. Columbia University Press, New YorkSingh, K. (1963). A History of the Sikhs. Volume I. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey The Sinhalese people are the majority ethnic group of Sri Lanka. The name 'Sinhala' translates to "lion's blood" or "lion people" and refers to the myths regarding the descent of the legendary founder of the Sinhalese people 2500 years ago, Prince Vijaya, who is said to have migrated from Singhapur (Simhapura or Singur).The Wisdom Library: The Mahavamsa. The Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka. Chapter 34 − The Eleven Kings The words "singha" or "singham" meaning "courageous lion" are used as an ending of many surnames, such as "Weerasingha" used by the Sinhala people, and "Veerasingham" used by the Tamil people. The name Sinhala comes from the belief that Vijaya's paternal grandfather was a lion. An alternative theory places Singhapur in modern Sihor, which happens to be close to the Gir Sanctuary.
  • The lion is the symbol of Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankara in Jainism.BOOK, Ansari, U., The Mega Yearbook 2018 – Current Affairs & General Knowledge for Competitive Exams with 52 Monthly ebook Updates & eTests, Disha Publications, 3, Mahavira, 102,weblink 2017, 978-9387421226, BOOK, Reddy, Indian Hist (Opt), Tata McGraw-Hill Education, 155,weblink 2006-12-01, 978-0070635777,
  • In the Burmese and Sinhalese animal and planetary zodiac, the lion is the third animal zodiac of the Burmese and the sixth animal zodiac of the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka.Upham, E. (1829). The History and Doctrine of Budhism: Popularly Illustrated: with Notices of the Kappooism, Or Demon Worship, and of the Bali, Or Planetary Incantations, of Ceylon. London: R. Ackermann.
  • The lion is the basis of the lion dances that form part of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, and of similar customs in other Asian countries. Chinese guardian lions and their Eastern, Southeastern and Southern Asian counterparts depicted in Chinese art were modeled on the basis of lions found in Indian temples.WEB,weblink Where does the Lion come from in ancient Chinese culture? Celebrating with the Lion Dance, Goswamy, B. N., 2002, The Tribune Newspaper, Chandigarh, India, 2010-12-14, Buddhist monks, or possibly traders, possibly brought descriptions of sculpted lions guarding the entry to temples in China. Chinese sculptors then used the description to model "Fo-Lions" (Fo ({{zh| s=ä½›}}) is a character for the Buddha) temple statues after native dogs (possibly the Tibetan Mastiff) by adding a shaggy mane. Depictions of these "Fo-lions" have been found in Chinese religious art as early as 208 BC. The Tibetan Snow Lion (Tibetan: གངས་སེང་གེ་; Wylie: gangs seng ge) is a mythical animal of Tibet. It symbolizes fearlessness, unconditional cheerfulness, the eastern quadrant and the element of Earth. It is said to range over mountains, and is commonly pictured as being white with a turquoise mane. Two Snow Lions appear on the flag of Tibet. Many East Asian languages borrowed from the Sanskrit word for lion.
  • Cambodia has a native martial art called L-bukkatao (, Pounding a lion).BOOK, Ray, Nick, Daniel Robinson, Greg Bloom, Cambodia, Lonely Planet, 2010, 99, 978-1-74179-457-1,weblink
  • The island nation of Singapore (Singapura) derives its name from the Malay words (lion) and (city), which in turn is from the Sanskrit {{IAST|siṃha}} () and {{IAST|pura}} () .WEB, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2000, Singapore, Fourth, Houghton Mifflin Company,weblink" title="">weblink According to the Malay Annals, this name was given by a 13th-century Sumatran Malay prince named Sang Nila Utama, who, on alighting the island after a thunderstorm, spotted an auspicious beast on shore that his chief minister identified as an Asiatic lion.WEB, Early History, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore, 2006-04-14,weblink" title="">weblink Recent studies of Singapore indicate lions have never lived there, unlike the tiger. Therefore, the animal seen by Sang Nila Utama would more likely have been a tiger,JOURNAL, D. L., Yong, Lee, P. Y.-H., Ang, A., Tan, K. H., 2010, The status on Singapore island of the Eurasian wild pig Sus scrofa (Mammalia: Suidae), Nature in Singapore, 3, 227–237,weblink 2016-08-11, though it would be odd for them not to recognize one.BOOK,weblink A History of Modern Singapore, 1819–2005, Turnbull, C. M., 21–22, NUS Press, 30 October 2009, 978-9971694302,
File:Mahavir.jpg|24th Tirthankara in Jainism, Mahavira with his lion symbol (Prateek)KumaraguptaFightingLion.jpg|Gupta emperor Kumaragupta I fighting a LionLion-MG 21162-IMG 8567-white.jpg|Afghani relief depicting a lionDeshaavathaaram4 narasimham.jpg|Narasimha, lion-headed fourth avatar of VishnuDurga Mahishasura-mardini, the slayer of the buffalo demon.jpg|Hindu Goddess Durga with lion as her divine mount Hoysala emblem.JPG|Emblem of the Hoysala Empire in Medieval India, depicting Sala fighting a lionSingha.jpg|Chinthe 'Singha' at Hua Viang Temple, Maehongson, ThailandJiaoshi.JPG|Relief of a lioness and cubs from the Yuan Dynasty, inside Peking's city walls in China

West Asia and Europe

  • The lion makes repeated appearances in the Bible, most notably as having fought Samson in the Book of Judges.
  • Having occurred in the Arab world, particularly the Arabian Peninsula, the Asiatic lion has significance in Arab and Islamic culture. For example, Surat al-Muddaththir of the Quran criticizes people who were averse to the Islamic Prophet Muhammad's teachings, such as that the rich have an obligation to donate wealth to the poor, comparing their attitude to itself, with the response of prey to a qaswarah (, meaning "lion", "beast of prey", or "hunter").QURAN, 74, 41, 51, ns, Other Arabic words for 'lion' include asad () and sabaÊ¿ (),BOOK, Pease, A. E., Sir Alfred Pease, 2nd Baronet, 1913,weblink The Book of the Lion, John Murray (publisher), John Murray, London, and they can be used as names of places, or titles of people. An Arabic toponym for the Levantine City of Beersheba () can mean "Spring of the Lion."BOOK, Qumsiyeh, Mazin B., Mazin Qumsiyeh, 1996, Mammals of the Holy Land, Texas Tech University Press, 146–148, 0-8967-2364-X,weblink Men with a reputation for bravery like Ali ibn Abi TalibENCYCLOPEDIA, Nasr, S. H., Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Ali, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2007-10-12, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,weblink" title="">weblink and Hamzah ibn Abdul-Muttalib,BOOK, Muhammad ibn Saad, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabair, 3, Bewley, A., 2013, The Companions of Badr, London, Ta-Ha Publishers, who were loyal kinsmen of Muhammad, were given titles like Asad Allāh ().
  • Depictions of the Mesopotamian lion show that it was an important symbol of Ancient Iraq. It is depicted in Ninevan reliefs.BOOK, Scarre, C., Chris Scarre, 1999, The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World, London, Thames & Hudson, The lion of Babylon is a statue at the Ishtar Gate in Babylon The lion has an important association with the figure Gilgamesh, as demonstrated in his epic.BOOK, Dalley, S., Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford University Press, 2000, 978-0-19-953836-2, The Iraqi national football team is nicknamed "Lions of Mesopotamia."NEWS, 2017-03-18, Iraq secure much-needed win over rivals Iran in friendly,,weblink
  • The symbol of the lion is closely tied to the Persian people. Achaemenid kings were known to carry the symbol of the lion on their thrones and garments. The name 'Shir' (also pronounced 'Sher') (}}) is a part of the names of many places in Iran and Central Asia, like those of city of Shiraz and the Sherabad River, and had been adopted into other languages, like Hindi. The Shir-va-Khorshid (}}, "Lion and Sun") is one of the most prominent symbols of Iran, dating back to the Safavid dynasty, and having been used on the flag of Iran, until 1979.ENCYCLOPAEDIA, Flags (of Persia),weblink Shahbazi, S. A., Encyclopaedia Iranica, 10, 2001, 2016-03-10, In Persian and in Indian literature, the lion is rivaled by the tiger. This is demonstrated in the book Anvar-i-Suhayli (}}, "Lights of the Canopus").BOOK, 1854, The Anvari Suhaili; or the Lights of Canopus Being the Persian version of the Fables of Pilpay; or the Book Kalílah and Damnah rendered into Persian by Husain Vá'iz U'L-Káshifí, Eastwick, Edward B (transl.), Edward Backhouse Eastwick, Stephen Austin, Bookseller to the East-India College, Hertford,weblink 2017-05-02,
  • The lion was an objective of hunting in the Caucasus, by both locals and foreigners. The locals were called 'Shirvanshakhs'.
  • The Nemean lion of pre-literate Greek myth is associated with the Labours of Herakles.BOOK, Wagner, R. A.,weblink Mythographi Graeci, I, Index nominum et rerum memorabilium, 9785874554637,
  • A Bronze Age statue of a lion from either southern Italy or southern Spain from around 1000–1200 years Before Christ, the "Mari-Cha Lion", was exhibited at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.REPORT, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism, Abu Dhabi, Annual Report 2017, 1: Culture, 52,weblink 2017, 2019-03-09,
Figureofalion.jpg|Golden lion figure from Ukraine, exhibited in National Museum of WarsawSouth Arabian - A Lion and a Leopard Attacking Animals - Walters 2171 - Detail A.jpg|South Arabian relief from the 5th century BC depicting a lion hunting an ungulate, exhibited in the Walters Art MuseumBabylon (1).JPG|The Lion of Babylon in IraqKelileh va Demneh.jpg|A page from Kelileh o Demneh dated 1429, a Persian translation of the ancient Indian Panchatantra

See also

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Further reading

  • BOOK, Abbott, James, Sir James Abbott, A Narrative of a journey from Heraut to Khiva, Moscow and St. Petersburgh, James Madden, 1, 26, 1856, Khiva,weblink
  • NEWS, Kaushik, H., Wire fences death traps for big cats,weblink The Times of India, 2005,
  • BOOK, Nair, S. M. (English edition); Translated by O. Henry Francis, Endangered Animals of India and their conservation, National Book Trust, 1999,
  • {{citation |last=Walker |first=S. |date=January / February 1994 |url= |title=Executive summary of the Asiatic lion PHVA |publisher=First draft report: Zoo's Print |pages=2–22 |location=Coimbatore, India}}
  • JOURNAL, Schnitzler, A., Hermann, L., Chronological distribution of the tiger Panthera tigris and the Asiatic lion Panthera leo persica in their common range in Asia, Mammal Review, Wiley Online Library, 10.1111/mam.12166,weblink 2019-08-19, 2019-09-23,

External links

{{Commons category|Lions of Asia}}{{Wikispecies|Panthera leo persica}} {{Panthers in India}}{{Taxonbar|from=Q182347}}

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Eastern Philosophy
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