Extinct Animal : Asian Lion
Panthera leo persica
The Asian lion once occurred in southeast Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and India. By 1884, it survived only in an area of about 3,000 square kilometres in northern India’s Gir Forest, under the private protection of the ruler of the small state. Official protection by the Imperial government was given in 1900, but with increasing human population, overgrazing, and destruction of forest cover, suitable habitat was reduced to about 1,300 square kilometers. In 1957, three African lions, hardly different from their Asiatic relatives, were released in the Gir Forest sanctuary. Their increase has indicated that such an approach may ensure the continued existence of the lion in Asia. About 85 Asian lions survive in captivity.