• In 1907, the ruler of Junagadh, India, ordered that the Asiatic lion be a protected species in Gir National Park in western India.  In the early 1900s, the lions were being hunted for sport, and when the prince protected them it was believed that there were only 13 lions in the park.  Over 100 years later, in 2010, the Indian government reported that 411 Asiatic lions were sighted in the park.  Today, the lions are still in danger of extinction due to the lack of genetic diversity, lack of natural prey, and habitat decline.

    1. How does the Asiatic lion differ from its distant relative, the African lion?

      The African lion is larger and travels in larger groups (called prides), and the males have bigger manes.

    2. Who does the Indian government think is responsible for poisoning some of these lions? Why are they being poisoned?

      The Indian government believes the Maldharis, herdsmen who also live in the park, are poisoning the lions because the lions are attacking Maldharis' livestock.

    3. Why doesn't the local government want to move the lions to a larger park?

      The lions are a big tourist attraction and the local government does not want to lose the money it receives from the tourists.

    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 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.

    endangered species Noun

    organism threatened with extinction.

    Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species
    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.

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