Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Asiatic lion may continue to be in endangered category.
AHMEDABAD: The Asiatic lion, which is listed in endangered category in red list released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will continue to be critically endangered as the population of breeding male and female has not crossed 500. The last census has 411 population and the next census due next year will have around 500 lions, including the cubs.
It was in 2011 that the report of the IUCN based on 2008 field survey and the 2005 census has stated that the Asiatic lion exists as a single isolated population in Gujarat, numbering approximately 175 mature individuals, all occurring within one sub-population (but in four separate areas, three of which are outside the Gir forest protected area).
Since the population now extends beyond the boundary of the lion sanctuary, and the numbers are stable, the sub-species is listed as endangered based simply on the population size.
Officials said that as per the other criteria the lion population was increasing, they were found in separate areas and hence it qualified to be in the vulnerable category. But just because the population was 411 as per the 2010 census, the lion was listed in endangered category.
Officials said that Asiatic lion will continue to be in the endangered category till the time the breeding population was over 500. Generally the lion breeding begins at the age of 3.5 years. Officials said that as per the 2010 census there were 97 males and 162 females which was around 259 adult male and female lions. This meant that around 63% of the population was breeding population . Officials said that all eyes were on the 2015 census which would reveal the exact size of the population and the area covered by the lions. It is estimated that the lion territory was spread around 20,000 sq km area.