Female Asiatic lion to join male companion in Iran

June 2, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran will play host to a female Asiatic lion from Ireland to accompany the recently returned male lion under a population management program aiming at endangered species reproduction by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), a veterinarian at Eram Zoo has said.

The female lion, born 4 years ago, now is coming back to its motherland after being extinct for 8 decades, YJC quoted Iman Memarian as saying on Saturday.

The 6-year old male lion was sent to Tehran Zoological Garden from Britain’s Bristol Zoo on May 1, he said.

He went on to say that the lion has undergone genetic tests and diagnostics under the EAZA supervision, and the results have showed that the animal is completely healthy.

Both will be kept at Tehran Zoological Garden separately for a period, and then will live together, Memarian concluded.

On the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, it is listed under its former scientific name Panthera leo persica as Endangered because of its small population size and area of occupancy. It was also known as "Indian lion" and "Persian lion".

Historical records in Iran indicate that it ranged from the Khuzestan Plain to the Fars in steppe vegetation and pistachio-almond woodlands. It was widespread in the country, but in the 1870s, it was sighted only on the western slopes of the Zagros Mountains, and in the forest regions south of Shiraz. Some of the country's last lions were sighted in 1941 between Shiraz and Jahrom in Fars province, and in 1942, a lion was spotted about 65 km northwest of Dezful. In 1944, the corpse of a lioness was found on the banks of Karun River in Khuzestan province.

Conflicts with humans, wildfires, poaching, canine distemper virus, decreases in population sizes of native ungulates are of the threats to the lions.

FB/MQ/MG

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