ZSL's Asiatic Lions Campaign

male Asiatic lion relaxing in Gir Forest National Park

There are approximately 500 Asiatic lions left in the wild. You can help secure a future for them by supporting our conservation work in India, helping us to build a new breeding centre at ZSL London Zoo or signing up as a Wildlife Champion for Animals Under Threat

Help ZSL protect the Asiatic Lion

ZSL is working with the Wildlife Institute of India and Gujarat Forest to safeguard the future of the Asiatic lion population. Just over 500 individuals survive in one part of Gujarat. This small population is vulnerable to natural disasters and potential disease.

Lions have coexisted in this landscape with local communities for hundreds of years. ZSL is supporting the Government of Gujarat to ensure that local communities continue to be engaged and supportive of lion conservation.

Help Asiatic lions by supporting ZSL today

DONATE NOW

Liontrust, the specialist fund management company, are proud sponsors of the Asiatic lion pride at ZSL London Zoo.

Lions400 donation interactive

Explore Land of the Lions

Explore the interactive map and find out how you can help protect Asiatic lions

Become A Wildlife Champion

Our Asiatic lions campaign forms a cornerstone of our work secure a future for those Animals Under Threat of extinction.

By giving just £3 a month and you can become a Wildlife Champion, receiving regular updates on our work and champion pack containing more information on our global conservation work.

Sign up now

 

To help secure the future of the majestic Asiatic lion, ZSL conservationists will work in the field in India, collaborating with Indian and international conservation agencies:

 

  1. Preparing Indian communities around forest expansion

Some of the lions living in the Gir Forest will be encouraged to expand their range into a new area of forest  being prepared in the same region of India, to increase numbers and dispersal to minimise the risk of disease or natural disaster wiping out the population. The Gir Forest is at capacity for the lions living there and in recent years more and more lions have started wandering outside the forest into unsafe territory in search of food. ZSL will play a key role in ensuring that a new forest being given protected status is a safe place for the lions to move, by working with local communities who have not previously come into contact with lions. This community engagement will focus on work with schools and womens’ groups.

 

  1. Providing technology

ZSL has developed leading conservation technology that is currently either in use, or being tested in Africa and Asia. We plan to extend this technology, which allows realtime data to be available directly to forest rangers, to the custodians of the Gir Forest. With this technology, combined with a unique ‘lion hotline’ set up by ZSL, the forest ranger rapid response team will be able to act immediately on problems and maintain the harmony of the forest with the community that lives in and around it.

 

  1. Providing veterinary training

We will begin a vet exchange programme to train forest rangers and the Gir lion rescue team in the latest and best disease surveillance techniques and veterinary procedures. This will allow them access to cutting edge techniques learned from our zoo breeding populations that can be applied to ensure wild lions can be treated successfully. We will also send our expert vets to India to run accessible veterinary training courses for trainee rangers. In the long term there is potential to assist with a vaccination programme to protect a proportion of the lion population from disease threat.

 

  1. Rescue kit

We will use funds to bring the Gujarat Forest veterinary laboratories up to date, and to provide and maintain essential kit to the forest ranger teams, including vehicles and veterinary equipment.

 

ZSL's Asiatic Lions campaign also incorporates the work of ZSL's world class zoo:

  1. Land of the Lions

Building a breeding facility with combined visitor experience at ZSL London Zoo that will engage and inspire visitors to support us in our bid to save the Asian lion.

Using inventive and original ways to bring the story of the Asian lion and the communities who live in and around the Gir Forest to life, we aim to provide visitors with an exceptional experience that will stay with them long after their visit ends.

Asian lion in Gir forest India

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Asian lions are on the brink. Donate now to support ZSL's work...

Key facts

  • There are only several hundred Asiatic lions in the wild, and they only live in the Gir Forest, India, in an area that is smaller than Greater London.
  • Asian lions are slightly smaller than African lions.  Unlike African lions, the males do not tend to live with the females of their pride unless they’re mating or have a large kill.
  • Asian lions used to range from Turkey, across Asia, to eastern India, but the rise of firearms across the world meant that they were hunted to near-extinction for sport.
  • The male Asiatic lion has a relatively short, sparse and darker mane compared to the fuller mane of the African lion. As a result, the male Asiatic lion's ears tend to remain visible at all times.
  • The most distinguishing characteristic of the Asiatic lion is the longitudinal fold of skin that runs along its belly. This is absent in African lions.
  • Today, the remaining wild lions are vulnerable to disease, disaster and potential poaching, and have to live alongside a growing human population that also needs the land for cattle and crops.

Conservation status

The Asian lion population has recovered from the brink of extinction to several hundred individuals. They occupy remnant forest habitats in the two hill systems of Gir and Girnar that comprise Gujarat’s largest tracts of dry deciduous forest, thorny forest and savanna. Five protected areas currently exist to protect the Asian lion: Gir Sanctuary, Gir National Park and Pania Sanctuary to form the Gir Conservation Area (GCA) covering an area of 20,000 km2 of forest representing the core habitat for the Asiatic lion. The other two wildlife sanctuaries, Mitiyala and Girnar, protect satellite areas within dispersal distance of the Gir Conservation Area. An additional sanctuary is being established in the nearby Barda forest to serve as an alternative home for Gir lions.

Factors which are threats to the Gir PA and lion conservation identified as encroachment, forest fire, natural calamities, grazing, collection of fuelwood, Non-timber forest produce (NTFP), poaching, tourism, religious pilgrimage and accidental lion deaths due to human causes. Currently the Gir landscape is witnessing an unprecedented change of traditional land-use patterns owing to agro-industrial developments and urban sprawl. Lions in the human dominated landscape are long ranging, even venturing inside villages at night for food. But they need specific day time habitat patches (refuge sites) so as to avoid conflicts. Such patches are characterized by mostly grasslands, Acacia patches, Prosopis juliflora patches and orchards. Since the land ownership of these crucial habitat patches are complex and largely private owned, they are likely to succumb fast to such development induced habitat alterations thereby threatening the metapopulation dynamics of the lions in future.

What will ZSL do?

Asiatic lion on road, Gir

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Asiatic lions are on the brink. Donate now to support ZSL's work...

ZSL would like to thank our amazing supporters who in 2014 helped us to raise £3.7 million for our campaign to bring Asiatic lions back from the brink of extinction!

Funds raised have so far allowed ZSL experts to meet with local project partners in India and assess which training and resources are needed, such as monitoring systems to help predict lion movements and equipment for local vets. Work has also started on our new Land of the Lions exhibit at ZSL London Zoo, which will support a global breeding programme. 

There is still work to be done and we have £2 million left to raise. You can help us by purchasing one of our special donation gifts, such as a personally inscribed tile in our final exhibit. Alternatively, why not take part in one of our roaring challenges for lions!

 

Tree Planting

Sprucing up Land of the Lions

Your support could buy beautiful trees and exciting plants for our UK based breeding centre for Asiatic lions!

£20 donation

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Vet care and resources

Kitting out our conservation teams in the Gir Forest

Your gift could allow ZSL to provide vet kits and training to those working with Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest of western India, their only remaining natural habitat.

£20 donation

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Make your mark in our Majestic Mosaic

Give £400 or more and a personalised message can be inscribed on one of our 400 tiles in our Majestic lion mosaic, a focal point of ZSL London Zoo’s Land of the Lions exhibit – opening 2016.

£400 donation

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Lions400 Challenge Events


Take part in one of our Fundraising Events or if you want to organise your own fundraising activity, download our fundraising pack today. You can keep track of your fundraising on your very own Roar-o-meter too!

FIND OUT MORE

ZSL London Zoo is offering you the chance to be a part of its new Land of the Lions exhibit, which is due to open in spring 2016.

As part of the ZSL Asiatic Lions Campaign, ZSL London Zoo will be creating a Majestic Mosaic within the brand-new Asiatic lion exhibit. The mosaic will be made up of 400 individual tiles representing each of the 400 endangered Asiatic lions left in the wild.

The Majestic Mosaic, which will take pride of place in the new enclosure, will offer supporters the chance to dedicate a mosaic tile with a personal message.

tile-mosaic.jpg

Land of the Lions majestic mosaic
Artist impression of the Land of the Lions mosaic

Dedicating a tile is the perfect way to remember a loved one, acknowledge a special date or simply to leave a legacy in memory of a visit to the Zoo.

Inspired by the temples of India, the last stronghold of the Asiatic lion, each of the limited edition tiles which form the Majestic Mosaic will acknowledge a £400 donation to the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) campaign.

There are a number of ways to support ZSL's Asiatic Lions Campaign, from one-off donations of as little as £5 to help ZSL build the foundations of Land of the Lions, or £20 to plant trees for the lions to prowl behind, to £50 which will provide educational books for the exhibit’s interactive classroom.

ZSL is also offering direct debit options; for just £4 per month supporters can be a lion champion and help power an anti-poaching camera or train a ranger in the Gir Forest. Just £10 per month can provide veterinary training kits for treating injured lions in the wild, and £40 will enable ZSL to provide an expert for a week to share knowledge and expertise with local communities who share their surroundings with the Asiatic lions. 

ZSL’s Fundraising Director James Wren said: “The Majestic Mosaic will allow supporters to be personally recognised for their generous donations and will create a stunning legacy in the heart of the new Land of the Lions exhibit.

“These magnificent animals face a fight for survival every day, and are particularly vulnerable to the threats of disease or conflict with humans. By donating to the campaign not only can people make their mark on the Zoo, they will also be helping ZSL to ensure these big cats will survive for future generations.”

All donation options can be found on ZSL’s new interactive map of the Land of the Lions exhibit, along with the exclusive Majestic Mosaic tiles.

Explore Land of the Lions to find out how you can help

Dedicate a tile in the Majestic Mosaic

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