Asian, or Indian, Persian lion (lat. Panthera Leo Persica) – This is a subspecies of a lion from the Koshachi family, which lives exclusively in the territory of South Asia.
The subspecies of the Asian Leo was first described by the Austrian zoologist Meyer as one of the five largest species of cats (they include a tiger, Indian and smoky leopard, leopard). Previously, this subspecies of cats could be found in the territory from Persia to Israel and Mesopotamia.
The Asian subspecies Leo has its own characteristics that distinguish it from their African relatives:
- Smaller dimensions;
- The presence of a longitudinal fold under the belly;
- More significant auditory capsules;
- Developed brush on the tail;
- The structure of the skull (the length of the skull of the lion is up to 340 mm, and in lionesses it is up to 302 mm).
Asian subspecies has some vivid features (for example, a fold on the stomach) that distinguish it from other types of lions. This subspecies are a little smaller than African: so, lions weigh about 190 kg (with a body length of about 3 m, including the tail). Females are much smaller and have a slender body, characterized by light tanks on the lower part, and weighing no more than 120 kg.
Like all lions, this subspecies is distinguished by bright sexual dimorphism: males have a luxurious mane growing only on the upper part of the head, with a approach on cheeks and even neck (although in these areas the mane reaches only 10 cm). It is because of this arrangement of the mane that these lions are always visible ears. Thus, half of the lions of this species in one of the national parks of India (the Gir Forest) are distinguished by a divided by an inflammatory hole, while African lions are distinguished by one hole from two sides.
And if we talk about the Indian population, it has a smaller number of genetic variations than that of the African lion.
The wool of this subspecies is quite short and dense, it has a sand-brown shade. These lions are characterized by a more squat structure of the body, and this can create the impression of a more compact structure of his body compared to other species.
Lifestyle and behavior
Asian subspecies of Lviv does not live in huge prides, as the African lion does: in their prides, in addition to the male, there are only a few females with kids. The male joins the females usually exclusively during the reproduction period, or when there is a need to hunt large game.
In science, it is believed that this state of affairs is due to the feed base of this subspecies, which is much already: this lion does not need to hunt for large mammals, and their prey is mainly cattle and small ungulates. However, this statement requires study.
Where they live
The historical habitat of the Asian subspecies begins from the coastal forests of Africa, passing through Greece and Asia to East India.
Savanas are considered to be a key to the Asian lion habitat, which are partially interspersed with the territories of forests, which are necessarily accompanied by reservoirs.
So, in the Gir Park of India and the reserve, which was founded specifically to protect this type of lion, a fairly high level of humidity, and here you can find teak forests and acacia: such a climate is ideal for this population. For lions, this park (and there are about a thousand individuals there today), this territory becomes catastrophically small, which becomes the reason for increasing the levels of conflict situations and attacks on people.
What they eat
Indian lions, like all cats, are one hundred percent predators: their only diet is meat. And everything in these animals is imprisoned for opportunities effectively hunts. This species do not know how to pursue, and they prefer tactics of a lightning attack without the possibility of salvation for the victim. The sources of food for the Indian lion include large ungulates, wild boars, roe deer, livestock, zebra and many other mammals.
With a rather long absence of food, these animals can gather in flocks to attack large and rather dangerous animals (crocodiles, elephants), despite the unsafe hunting conditions.
If we talk about the diet, then an adult lion requires at least 50 kilograms of animal food, of course, based on the size of the animal.
The Indian Leo is the only representative of this subspecies in India (Gujarat). And it is listed in the Red Book due to its low number, despite the fact that it is steadily increasing: today their number has increased by almost half as compared to indicators of the end of the last century.
This species was not so long widespread in Asia, from the Middle East to India, where the struggle for preserving this species began in the middle of the last century, after India gained independence: for this purpose, special national park was created under the name Sasan-Gir on the peninsula Kathiyavar.
Females of the Asian lion (like other lionesses) are able to bring offspring throughout the year, and the process of pregnancy in this species lasts almost four months.
The period of marriage is usually the nature of seasonality, and usually occurs with rains; And to attract the attention of females, Indian lions actively use their long mane.
The lioness before the start of childbirth chooses for herself a shelter in the form of caves of others by natural places – And there it brings the litter in the amount of up to five babies. Lionians are born about 30 cm long, with a mass of about 500 grams, helpless and blind, with spotted coloring, which can be preserved until maturity. After a month and a half, lioners are able to eat meat, and from three months they are already starting to participate in hunting (though as spectators). At the age of two, kittens are already leaving the mother.