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Biodiversity & Environment

Asiatic Lions

  • 05 May 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, eight Asiatic lions at Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

  • It is the first known case of the human infecting the felines and making them sick in India.
  • Earlier in 2020, Tiger being infected with Covid-19 was reported in New York (Bronx Zoo).

Key Points

  • About:
    • The Asiatic Lion (also known as the Persian Lion or Indian Lion) is a member of the Panthera Leo Leo subspecies that is restricted to India.
      • Its previous habitats consisted of West Asia and the Middle East before it became extinct in these regions.
    • Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than African lions.
    • The most striking morphological character, which is always seen in Asiatic lions, and rarely in African lions, is a longitudinal fold of skin running along its belly.
  • Distribution:
  • Threats:
    • Its vulnerability to unpredictable events such as a plague or a natural disaster, poaching and locals near the Gir National Park killing the lions in retaliation for attacks on livestock.
  • Protection Status:
  • Conservation Efforts:
    • The “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” has been launched by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
    • It has been approved for three financial years from 2018 to 2021.
    • It envisages 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.

Nehru Zoological Park

  • It is one of the largest zoos of India and one of the top sightseeing places to visit in Hyderabad, Telangana. Run by the Forest department, Government of Telangana, the zoo has been named after Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of the country.
  • It was opened to the public in the year of 1963.
  • It is situated near the historically important Mir Alam Tank, which is 200 year old and is the first multi-arch masonry dam in the world.


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