Asiatic Lions once ranged from the Mediterranean to north-east India.
Today, only a single population of about 350 individuals remains in the Gir Forest, India. Chester Zoo’s majestic Asiatic Lions, Iblis, Kiburi and Kumari, are an important part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.
Asiatic Lions differ subtly in a number of ways from their African counterparts. They are smaller and have a distinctive fold of skin that runs along the belly. Asiatic Lions also have shorter, shaggier manes, longer tassels of hair on the end of their tails and longer tufts of hair on their elbows.
All three of our Asiatic Lions have wonderful characters! Iblis, our remarkably handsome male lion, is three years old. He’s typically very active and playful. Our lionesses, Kiburi and Kumari, are four years old and arrived from Rotterdam Zoo in September 2011.
Did you know that a lion’s roar can be heard from up to four miles away? So, you could potentially hear Iblis from the Roman Amphitheatre in the centre of Chester!
Where they live: Gir Forest, India
Habitat: Dry, deciduous forest
Size: Length (including tail): 350cm Shoulder height: up to 120cm
Weight: Up to 250kg
Conservation status: IUCN Red List: Endangered
Threats: Hunting and poaching. Habitat loss and fragmentation caused by increased agricultural development. Poisoning by farmers – the reduction in natural prey has led to increasing incidents of lions hunting livestock, bringing them into direct conflict with farmers. Particular vulnerability to unpredictable events such as natural disasters (flooding and fires) and potentially fatal disease epidemics.