The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) also known as the Indian Lion, is a subspecies of lion. The only place in the wild where this species is found is in the Gir Forest of Gujarat, India. In 2010, the Gujarat government reported 411 Asiatic lions were sighted in the Gir forest; a rise of 52 over the last census of 2005.
The Asiatic lion is one of the five major big cats found in India, the others being the Bengal tiger, the Indian leopard, the snow leopard and clouded leopard. The Asiatic lions once ranged from the Mediterranean to the northeastern parts of the Indian subcontinent, but excessive hunting, water pollution, and decline in natural prey reduced their habitat. Historically, Asiatic lions were classified into three kinds – Bengal, Arabian and Persian lions. Asiatic lions are smaller and lighter than their African counterparts, but are equally aggressive.
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