The Asiatic Lion, also known as the Indian lion, is a lion subspecies and is listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small population size. The lion population has steadily increased in Gir Forest National Park, more than doubling from a low of 180 individuals in 1974 to a level of 411 individuals consisting of 97 adult males, 162 adult females, 75 sub-adults, and 77 cubs as of April 2010.
The most striking morphological character, which is always seen in Asiatic lions, and rarely in African lions, is a longitudinal fold of skin running along its belly. Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than African lions. Adult males weigh 160 to 190 kg (350 to 420 lb), while females weigh 110 to 120 kg (240 to 260 lb). The height at the shoulders is about 3.5 ft (110 cm). The record total length of a male Asiatic lion is 2.92 m (115 in) including the tail.
The fur ranges in color from ruddy-tawny, heavily speckled with black, to sandy or buffish-grey, sometimes with a silvery sheen in certain lights. Males have only moderate mane growth at the top of the head, so that their ears are always visible. The mane is scanty on the cheeks and throat with where it is only 4 in (10 cm) long. About half of Asiatic lion skulls from the Gir forest have divided infraorbital foramina, whereas in African lions, there is only one foramen on either side. The sagittal crest is more strongly developed, and the post-orbital area is shorter than in African lion. Skull length in adult males ranges from 330 to 340 mm (13 to 13 in), and in females from 292 to 302 mm (11.5 to 11.9 in).
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 and provide valuable habitat for a diverse flora and fauna.
Asiatic lions live in prides. Mean pride size, measured by the number of adult females, tends to be smaller than for African lions: most Gir prides contain just two adult females, with the largest having five. Coalitions of males defend home ranges containing one or more groups of females; but, unlike African lions, Gir males generally associate with their pride females only when mating or on a large kill. A lesser degree of sociability in the Gir lions may be a function of the smaller prey available to them: the most commonly taken species (45% of known kills), the chital, weighs only around 50 kg (110 lb).
Asiatic lions feed on wild pigs, cattle, antelope, deer, and water buffalo.