Is enough being done in order to keep a steady trend of the once falling population of the endangered Asiatic Lion (Panthera Leo Persica) or should they be left to die as they are only a subspecies?
The Asiatic Lion or sometimes referred to as the Indian Lion is a sub species of Lions derived from breeding between the lion in North Africa and South-West Asia, “which formerly stretched across the coastal forests of northern Africa and from northern Greece across south-west Asia to eastern India1”. The Asiatic Lion is currently situated in India’s Gujuat State, “numbering approximately 175 mature individuals, all occurring within one subpopulation1” – According to Red List. The Asiatic Lions exist mainly in the sanctuary of Gir Forest, in an area of 1153km2. They are a sub population.
The Asiatic Lion has decreased since 1974, however, recent analysis shows that Asiatic lions are now sable1, but, poaching has increased2. They have been poached more commonly now for their fur and meat making them extremely vulnerable outside Gir Forest (See Fig.1).
The highlighted section shows the approximately 300 Asiatic Lions located in Gir National Park.
1The Lions have been closely monitored by many organisations including Red List which shows the decline from the year 1986 to 2000 (figure 3):
Endangered (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)
Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
Endangered (IUCN 1990)
Endangered (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
This clearly shows the decrease from an already endangered. Due to a small gene pool between 70-80 percent of the male Asiatic Lions sperm is deformed, making it difficult to retrieve offspring2. This also leads to further infertility when these lions are captive in zoos. Therefore, the issue illustrated, is that there is currently not enough being done in order to stop the decline of Asiatic Lions.
It is clear that the subspecies has been well separated from any other Lion, such as that in Africa. These Lions are a lot smaller than the Lions in Africa and their hunting is a lot less efficient, meaning they only manage to claim a small dear often2. This may suggest their trail to extinction is more applicable and that a solution to letting them die out is necessary. Furthermore, the Asiatic Lions lack of skill to hunt puts a threat on local farmers as the easiest way for the Lions to retrieve food is to hunt down captivated livestock which is a threat on the production and distribution of the commodity itself2.
It is a very problematic and controversial issue whether to keep the species alive or to let them die out. It may be that the lions are doing more harm than good, such as the killing of livestock and the lack of ability to hunt. Although the current population of the lions are steady with only 300 left in the wild and 200 captivated in zoos around the world, is it worth the high costs and the chain of problems that the lions are...