August 10: World Lion Day
World Lion Day is celebrated on August 10 every year in a bid to raise awareness on lions. The day also seeks to mobilise support for protection and conservation of Lion.
- As per World Wide Fund for animals (WWF), though lion is often referred to as the “king of the jungle”. But in reality, it only lives in grasslands and plains.
- India is home to majestic Asiatic Lion, who inhabit protected territory of Sasan-Gir National Park.
- According to WWF, lions were once found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. But over the years, their numbers have reduced across these continents.
Background of World Lion Day
Initiative to protect lion started in 2013 so the first World Lion Day was observed in 2013 itself. Since then, the day has become a symbol of fight towards protection of lion. Last remaining population of the Asiatic Lions are found in Gir National Park of Gujarat.
About Asiatic Lions
Asiatic lion is scientifically called as Panthera leo persica. They are approximately 110 cm in height. They have been listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and are considered as Endangered species on IUCN Red List. Weight of Adult males is in between 160 to 190 kg and that of female is in between 110 to 120 kg.
Threat to lions
Asiatic lions face significant threats of poaching and threat of genetic inbreeding. WWF has also recorded instances of deaths of lions as a result of falling into unguarded wells around Gir.
Population of Asiatic Lions
In 2020, population of Asiatic lions has surged by almost 29% in Gujarat’s Gir forests. The distribution area of lions has also increased by 36%.