Wild Chronicles journeys to India where the survival of the only wild population of rare Asiatic lions hangs in the balance.

  • The world's last wild population of Asiatic lions lives within the confines of India's Gir National Park. The 350 lions, smaller than their African cousins, compete with a human population for habitat and resources.

    1. Why were Asiatic lions hunted nearly to extinction in the 19th and 20th centuries?

      The British government in India (the Raj) had a policy of killing all large predators.

      Lion habitat shrunk as people used land for agricultural and urban development.

    2. Why are lions more easily hunted than their big cat cousins, the tigers?

      Lions do not live (or "hide") in the shadowy forest. They walk in the open.

    3. Why are the lions of Gir at risk?

      They have little genetic diversity to protect them from disease.

      They are experiencing continual habitat loss due to agriculture, development for homes and businesses, and infrastructure developments such as railroads and tourism businesses.

      Lions are being poisoned, most likely to punish and prevent them from preying on local livestock.

    4. Imagine you are in charge of keeping these lions healthy and safe.  What would you do?

      Two possible actions would be to move the lions to a larger park further away from people and help make sure the lions with enough natural prey to eat.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Asiatic lion Noun

    (Panthera leo persica) species that split from African lions approximately 100,000 years ago, now native only to Gir Forest National Park, India.

    development Noun

    construction or preparation of land for housing, industry, or agriculture.

    endangered species Noun

    organism threatened with extinction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species
    habitat Noun

    environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: habitat
    lion Noun

    large cat native to sub-Saharan Africa and Gir Forest National Park, India.

    national park Noun

    geographic area protected by the national government of a country.

    sanctuary Noun

    protected area where wildlife can live and breed without threat from hunting.

    tourism Noun

    the industry (including food, hotels, and entertainment) of traveling for pleasure.