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This article is intended to provide you with the current status of the Asiatic Lions. Explore Indian Lion present status.

Asiatic Lion Current Status

In the past, the natural habitat of the Asiatic Lion stretched from northern Greece, across Southwest Asia, to central India. However, slowly and gradually, the species became extinct from all the countries of the world, except India. In the Eastern Europe, Asiatic lions became extinct around 100 AD, while in Palestine, the species disappeared around the time of the Crusades. Asiatic Lions continued to roam the other countries till the mid 1800s. Around this time, firearms were introduced and became one of the primary reasons for the declining trend in the population of the lions.

People started hunting the animal on a large scale, which gradually led to their total extinction from most of the countries. The species became extinct in Turkey around the late 1800s. Even in Iran and Iraq, Asiatic Lions were last sighted in the year 1942 and 1918 respectively. By this time, the population of the majestic animal had dropped to alarming proportions in India also. By the turn of the century, Asiatic Lions were limited to only the Gir forests of India. The population of Asiatic Lions in India fell to only 13 lions in 1907.

It was then that the Nawab of Junagadh gave lions complete protection and banned their hunting within his province. The first census of lions in Gir, by the Indian Government, was carried out in the year 1936 and yielded a count of 234 animals. The next census was conducted in 1936, based on identification of individual pugmarks, and revealed a total population of 234 lions. The census was again carried out between 1968 and 1979, based on animal counts at live baits, and it estimated the population of lion to be somewhere around 100.

As per the census of 1990, there were 221 adults lions living in the Gir Lion Reserve and around 30-40 lions were found inhabiting the adjacent agricultural areas. The current status of the Asiatic Lions is based on the 2006 census, which revealed a population of around 359 lions in the Gir National Park. The entire population is living within an area of 1,412 sq km (558 square miles) inside the sanctuary. Though the population of Asiatic lions in India has increased considerably since 1907, much still needs to be done.