August 10 is World Lion Day, observed across the entire world to edify people about these royal beasts, and the concerns regarding the conservation of this species. Asiatic lion, the kings of Gir Forest is now having its place in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of endangered species. However, the famous Gir National Park houses Asiatic lions in large numbers.
One of the major attractions of Sasan Gir safari, Asiatic lions have some physical dissimilarity with African lions. Asiatic lions are a bit smaller than African lions and moderate mane growth on their head makes their ears visible, African lions don’t share this feature. Another intriguing physical trait of the Asiatic lion is a longitudinal skin fold, which is visible along with its belly, very uncommon in African lions.
These majestic predators generally choose to catch prey in night’s darkness and early morning. When preys are available, they can go hunting every two to four days. Lions can also stay hungry for over a week. Sambar, Nilgai, Chital, and wild pig are generally the preys it likes to feast on. 5 to 7 kg of meat daily is a necessity for them. But, when they have much for eating, lions can easily consume meat as much as 20% to 30% of their body weight.
The royal beast, and the main attraction of Gir National Park, never kill for amusement. And, this distinct nature makes these animals different than other predators. Without going for excessive killings, it kills only for food, and it performs the task with minute stratagems. Lions always hunt in a pack; they wait near water points of the forest, looking for animals, which come for drinking water. It remains silent; it remains ambushed and attacks its prey without giving a clue.
Why It is Important to Save Lions
Lions are the predators of the apex group, and its killings maintain the populations of grazers and browsers. Hence, conserving lions are important for keeping the forest areas and habitats protected. And, that is how the biodiversity of the planet also can be conserved.
Lions are one of the cultural identities of India. Hence, mentions of this majestic beast can be found in our rich mythology too. The local people of the Gir and the greater Gir area often showcase their pride, as they have the opportunity to coexist with nature. Lions have also taken part in many of their tales and stories.