Where do lions live?

The range of Panthera leo (p. 2)

Where do lions live
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EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD

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lion face

A detailed map of the range of the lion (Panthera leo) is shown below.

Clearly, the the lion was formerly far more widespread than it is today. Now, even in sub-Saharan Africa, the lion’s range is highly fragmented. The present distribution as shown here is based on a map created by the African Lion Environmental Research Trust (ALERT).

North of the Sahara, there are no lions today except in zoos, with the exception of a tiny population of wild lions in western India. The Asiatic lion, also known as the Indian lion or Persian lion, was once widespread in much of southwestern Asia. It now clings to existence as a single population in India’s Gujarat state. On the map, look closely and you can see a small green dot showing the location of these last few individuals in Gir Forest National Park. Though still minuscule in comparison with days of old,

the Asiatic lion population has steadily increased at Gir

during recent decades. From a low of 180 individuals in 1974, it had more than doubled to 411 (97 adult males, 162 adult females, 75 sub-adults, and 77 cubs) as of April 2010. The Asiatic lion is listed as endangered by the IUCN.

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