Help­ing Lions In The Wild

The People's Friend - - Nature -

Asi­atic lions are now among the world’s rarest big cat species. Num­bers have fallen dra­mat­i­cally in the past 100 years, al­most to the point of ex­tinc­tion.

They once oc­cu­pied much of south­west Asia, but now they’re only found in In­dia’s Gir For­est, one of Asia’s most im­por­tant con­ser­va­tion ar­eas. At the

low­est point, there were only 200 of the lions left in the wild.

In May 2015, the 14th Asi­atic Lion Cen­sus, cov­er­ing 7,700 square miles of land, es­ti­mated that 523 Asi­atic lions now ex­ist, con­sist­ing of 109 adult males, 201 adult fe­males and 213 cubs. For­est fires or an epi­demic of dis­ease could still spell the end for the species.

Con­ser­va­tion work, in­clud­ing breed­ing pro­grammes like the one at Cotswold Wildlife Park, con­tin­ues to­day and the lions are clas­si­fied as en­dan­gered by the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture.

The grow­ing cubs await their own role in lion con­ser­va­tion. Jackie Thomas.

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