The Asian Lion: All About It

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1) Discovery and Genetics
2) Nowadays
3) Group
4) Males and Females
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Today we are approaching the Asian lion which is less popular in France than the African lion as well as the white lion but just as interesting. The Asian lion called the Persian lion as well as the Asian lion is a subspecies of lion. To date, the last remaining Asian lions are found in Gir National Park and around the state of Gujarat in India.

Asian lion lying down

Here are the main characteristics of the lion:

COMMON NAMES: Asian Lion, Asian Lion

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Persian Lion (Panthera leo persica, Panthera leo sinhaleyus)

TYPE: Mammal

FOOD REGIME: Carnivore

Average life in nature: 16 to 18 years

WEIGHT: 130 to 230 Kg


1) Discovery and Genetics
Fossil remains of Panthera spelaea indicate that it was a genetically isolated and very distinct lineage. In addition, Asian lion fossils have been found in Pleistocene deposits in West Bengal.

A study on the evolution of lions was carried out using 357 samples of captive and wild lions from Africa and India. This study reports four lion population lines including: One in Central and North Africa to Asia, one in Kenya, one in Southern Africa and one in Southern and Eastern Africa.

The first wave of lion expansion is believed to have occurred about 118,000 years ago, from East Africa to West Asia, and the second wave of the Late Pleistocene or Early Holocene, from Southern Africa to East Africa.

It is important to note that the Asian lion is genetically closer to North and West African lions than to the group comprising East and Southern African lions. This discrepancy probably occurred about 186,000-128,000 years ago. The Asian lion is thought to have remained linked to lions in North and Central Africa until the gene flow was interrupted by the extinction of lions in Europe and the Middle East.

The first time this dominant male was described, it dates back to 1826 by the Austrian zoologist Johann n. Meyer. The Asian lion was present in Saudi Arabia until the 19th century and in Iran and Mesopotamia. At that time the feline was also present from eastern Turkey east of the Indu River, within central India and in Bengal, Narmada. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was only found in Gir Forest National Park and nearby areas.

Statue of Lion Bird

2) Nowadays
The 14th Asian Lion Census was conducted in May 2015, covering an area of approximately 20,000 km². The lion population was estimated at 523 individuals, including 109 males, 201 adult females and 213 pups. In August 2017, observers counted 650 wild lions.

Almost all wild lions live in sub-Saharan Africa, but there is a small population of Asian lions in India's Gir Forest. The dry teak woods of the Gir forest were once a royal hunting ground. Today, it is a reserve where these at-risk big cats are highly protected. The Asian lion and the African lion are subspecies of the same species.

On the IUCN Red List, it is listed under its former scientific name "Panthera leo persica" as endangered (EN = endangered) due to the small size of its population and its area of occupation.


3) Group
Lions are the only cats that live in a group, called pride. Pride is a family unit that can include up to three males, a dozen females and their young. All lionesses of pride are related and lionesses usually stay with the group as they age. Young males eventually leave and can establish their own pride by leading a group led by another male.

Lioness Group

4) Males and Females
Only male lions boast of having a mane, the impressive fringe of long hairs that surrounds their heads. Males defend the territory from pride. They mark the area with urine, roar threateningly to warn intruders and hunt animals that encroach on their territory.

Female lions are the main pride hunters. They often work together to attack large mammals.

After the hunt, group effort often turns into quarrels over the sharing of the slaughter, with the youngest ones at the bottom of the hierarchy. Young lions do not help in the pride hunt until they are about a year old. Lions will hunt alone if the opportunity arises, and they will also steal prey from hyenas or wild dogs.

For the most enthusiastic of felines with imposing manes, our team offers a range of statues including an Asian statue available in the collection below.

Lion Statue


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