World Lion Day is annually observed on 10th August across the globe to spread awareness about the lions and efforts for their conservation and protection.
The Lions (Panthera Leo) supposedly wandered amiably in the jungles of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East some three million years ago.
World Lion Day was initiated by Dereck and Beverly Joubert,Co-founders of Big Cat Initiative and National Geographic in 2013.
- The first World Lion Day was observed in 2013.
The main objective of World Lion Day was to safeguard lions in their natural environment and to collaborate on safety measures with local people.
i.Lions are designated as a vulnerable species on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- Lions are found in Africa, south of the Sahara desert and in Gir National Park in Gujarat, India.
- According to the United Nations, lion populations have dropped by more than 40 per cent in the last two decades.
ii.To ensure the safety of lions, it is crucial to increase public awareness of the threats they face, protect their natural habitat, and build more of these kinds of habitats.
- There are currently between 30,000 and 100,000 lions left in the world.
- Tanzania has the highest number of lions in the world followed by South Africa and Kenya.
The lion population in India:
i.The lion is divided into two subspecies: the African lion (Panthera leo leo) and the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica).
ii.India is home to the majestic Asiatic Lion, who inhabit the protected territory of Sasan-Gir National Park in Gujarat.
- The population of Asiatic lions has steadily increased in Gujarat’s Gir forest and the larger Saurashtra protected area after experiencing a long period of decline.
- Between 2015 and 2020, their population increased from 523 to 674. The same period witnessed a 36 per cent increase in the distribution area of the lions from 22,000 sq km in 2015 to 30,000 sq km in 2020.
About Asiatic Lion Conservation Project:
The “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” was launched by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC). It was approved for three financial years from 2018 to 2021.
i.The programme was launched for the conservation of the Asiatic Lion, whose last remaining wild population is in Gujarat’s Asiatic Lion Landscape (ALL).
ii.It envisaged scientific management with the involvement of communities in coordination with multi-sectoral agencies for disease control and veterinary care for overall conservation of Asiatic lions.
The Asiatic Lion census:
The first Lion Census was conducted by the Nawab of Junagadh in 1936 and since 1965, the Forest Department of Gujarat regularly conducts the Lion Census every five years in India.