July 26, 2012
Watercolour in progress of a Lion (Panthera leo)
Lion, king of the jungle. Well not really as lions don’t live in the jungle, they live out on the African Savannah.
Maybe it’s because lions are at the top of the food chain that they have become labeled with “king”.
An interesting related fact is that the King of Sparta between 488BC and 480BC was called King Leonidas’. The name actually meant “lion-like,”.
Perhaps some people associate Africa with jungles, and since Lions live in Africa they make the erroneous association.
Well, there is some truth in lions being kings of the jungle. Some lions do live in the jungle. Well, the Gir Forest of Gujarat in India. The Asiatic lion is a subspecies of lion that lives in the Gir Forest of Gujarat, it is the only place in the wild where this species is found. It was established as a wildlife santuary in 1965. It is believed that their habitat used to range from Northern India to Iran, south to the Arabian Peninsula and west towards Greece.
A number of factors have contributed to the decline in their population. The big three are habitat distruction, farming and poaching.
At the moment it is believed there are 411 lions in the sanctuary of the Gir Forest of Gujarat. It is scrub and open deciduous forest. The population in 1907 was believed to consist of only 13 lions when the Nawab of Junagadh gave them complete protection. This figure, however, is highly controversial because the first census of lions in the Gir that was conducted in 1936 yielded a result of 234 animals.
The Asiatic lion is listed as Endangered by the international Union for the conc=servation of nature (IUCN).
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