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The scientific name of Lion is Panthera Leo and 10 August marks World Lion Day (WLD) to raise awareness and celebrate this majestic animal. Called as the King of the Jungle, this ultimate feline and majestic hunter is often easily recognized with its thick mane, muscular body, and a loud, deafening roar.
World Lion Day 2021: Theme
This year in 2021 the theme of World Lion Day or International Lion Day is "Their Survival is in our hands". Their colour varies from light buff to deep sepia and they typically weigh around 300 and 550 pounds. Apart from this, there are also white coloured lions, but they have become rare to find.
According to the census of the majestic big cats that was conducted by the Gujarat government in June last year, it showed a rise. India recorded the highest ever increase of 29 per cent in its lion population from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020. The report also cited that their distribution expanded from 22,000 sq. km in 2015 to 30,000 sq. km in 2020.
Some reports suggest that with only 2300 species remaining and at the current rate of habitat loss and poaching, African Lions can be completely extinct by 2050.
World Lion Day: History and Significance
Lions are the second largest cat in the world and they are just behind the Asian tiger. These majestic animals roamed all over Africa and the Eurasian supercontinent three million years ago and due to changes in the natural environment, their range is reduced primarily to Africa and selected parts of Asia.
To celebrate, raise awareness and find sustainable solutions to protect and save global wild lion populations from extinction, World Lion Day (WLD) is celebrated. It was Dereck Joubert and Beverly Joubert who founded WLD in 2013. To protect the remaining lions in the world, they brought together both National Geographic and the Big Cat Initiative under a single banner.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, lions are a "vulnerable" species, meaning that their numbers could and should be higher. Currently, researchers estimate that there are between 30,000 and 100,000 lions left on planet Earth. Without significant intervention, there is a chance that they could find themselves on the endangered list alongside other species most at risk of extinction.
African lions have no natural predators but unthinkably their numbers have plummeted by over 40% in the last three generations, due to loss of living space and conflict with people and now this species are considered 'vulnerable' on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. In some parts of Africa, lions are classified as "critically endangered" because lion populations are still plummeting at an unprecedented rate, mentions WWF website.
In the last century, the lion population in Africa has decreased by 90% and they are extinct in 26 countries across Africa. Thanks to volunteer programs such as African Big 5 & Wildlife Conservation and Big Cat Wildlife Research & Conservation, the lion population is slowly bouncing back and thriving in some areas.
Aslo, as per the census of the majestic big cats that was conducted by the Gujarat government in June last year, it showed a rise. India recorded the highest ever increase of 29 per cent in its lion population from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020. The report also cited that their distribution expanded from 22,000 sq. km in 2015 to 30,000 sq. km in 2020.
World Lion Day: Interesting Facts
1. The name for lion in Swahili, an African language, is 'simba'.
2. Lions are the most sociable of all big cats and they live in groups called prides.
3. In the wild, males typically live 12 years; females average a lifespan of 15 years. Also, the male lions possess an iconic mane, long thick hair around their head, neck and shoulder which makes them appear larger and more intimidating.
4. Female lions are the main hunters and while they search for food, the males guard the pride's territory and their young.
5. Fully mature males weigh between 330 and 550 lbs.; females weigh between 265 and 395 lbs.
6. A lion's roar can be heard up to eight kilometres away.
7. Lions usually hunt in the dark due to the different skills of their eyes over dark and this provides them a huge advantage over their prey.
8. Lions have significantly more rod cells than cone cells in the retina of their eyes, especially when compared to humans. Lions have around 25 rods to each cone, while humans have about 4 rods to each cone.
9. A lion usually lives for max 16 years within the wild and 25 years in captivity.
10. A lion's heels don't touch the ground when it walks.
We now have all the more reasons why we all need to come together and participate to protect these majestic Lions. And now is the time to guard and protect these big cats, especially by protecting their habitat. This will truly make a difference to preserve and improve the population of lions.