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Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project

United States Siegfried Offline
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#91

This is a good and interesting topic.  Don't delete.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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#92
( This post was last modified: 12-19-2014, 09:07 AM by GuateGojira )

The problem here is that all here are talking in absolute therms and not in relative ones. Lions in India have been both, succesfull and unsuccesfull, the problem is the area itself.

Indian lions seems to have a very successful population in Gir, independently of they size and origin. However, the populations in other parts of India were never large and the hunting records never showed more than 10 specimens in a beat. Even the numbers and records of lions in northern India are incredible rare, in comparison with the literally thousands of dead tigers and leopards. If you actually see the records of lions, like Valmik Thapar has done, we can see that the existence of the lion in India is more cultural and religious than natural. Even worst, the influence of Greek and Persian cultures were probably the real origin of the "lion culture" in India. Durga, one of the most famous goddess in India had probably a Persian origin or influence at least, and after its arrival to India, the lion was changed by a tiger, which show that even with the lion culture, the cult of the tiger, which existed since the Harappans, always have an important part in the native culture. I can go way deeper here, but I only put this to give an idea of the real origin of the influence of the lion in the Indian culture.

Evidence suggest that contrary to the old believes, the lions in India were never successful in any part, except in Gir. However, the new point of view is that the Indian lions were never native and that those lions hunted or recorded in the north of India, were just introduced specimens from several sources. However, in Gir, where there are several human populations with African origin and African culture, the lions not only survived but established a very successful colony. I guess that if those lions were not hunted, they could have a better genetic variation and probably were also larger than in present days: the largest lion in this area was of 298 cm in length between pegs and the heaviest lion ever recorded in India, also from this area, was of 255 kg (this last record is from 1623, so take it under you own risk).

Finally, Divyabhanusinh (2013) reported some fossils from the Orissa region that according with him, were from lions, in contradiction of Thapar et al. (2013). However, I think that this is just a desperate intent to kept the old believe. In fact, Divyabhanusinh in his book of 2005 clearly stated that there are no fossils of lions in Gir and that the fossils of other "lions" in India could be or tigers or leopards. As far I know, there are no DNA studies on these fossils and although other Indian experts claim that these were "lions", they base they statements only in the size of the rests, but in any case, this are actually large.
 
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United States Pckts Offline
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#93

Nice info Guate, much appreciated.

When information is written like this, with actual references, its much easier to come to a better conclusion On whether they are as successful, native or different sub species or not?
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United States Siegfried Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-14-2014, 02:54 AM by Siegfried )

If this document is accurate, there is quite a large area to be occupied by "introduced specimens."


*This image is copyright of its original author


 
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United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-14-2014, 03:33 AM by tigerluver )

Historical accounts from the Arabian and Roman empire are only familiar with lions if I remember correctly, especially in the case of Arabian accounts. From this, I infer that lions may have naturally spread to western most Asia. At the same time, many Roman and Arabian nations were mixing into Northern Africa, where we know for sure lions were found, thus it is also possible that the familiarity with the lion came from those experiences. The lion fossils from Israel that are allegedly 25 ka - 65 ka are indicators that lions natively arrived in western-most Asia. 

The question is did lions get deeper into Asia. There is no certain fossil record of lions beyond the Israel digsite if I'm not mistaken. Metapodial and long bones are often too easily given to the lion as the owner. The similar sized tiger and lion have subtle difference in long bones characteristics, and as data is scant on bone dimensions, I've a knack that often times those who claim they've found lion aren't checking for the subtle differences. In order to be certain of identity, width to length ratios must be accessed. None of the alleged Asian lion finds published any measurements to show these ratios for assessment. The metapodial claims are also difficult to identity simply due to the metapodials being evolutionarily one of the most volatile aspects of anatomy. 

 
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-14-2014, 10:41 AM by GuateGojira )

(12-14-2014, 02:50 AM)'Siegfried' Wrote: If this document is accurate, there is quite a large area to be occupied by "introduced specimens."


*This image is copyright of its original author


 

 
Some time ago, with the same debate, Pckts make an excellent recompilation of the many data showing that since the time of Alexander, several animals were transported to India in great numbers, just for the sake of the hunt and like gifts. The same happened to the other side.

However, it is interesting that in the Roman records, there is not a single account of a lion transported from India, only records from Persia, but mostly from the Barbary region. Tigers, in the other hand, were transported mostly from the Caspian region, but there are some Bengal tigers that were taken to Rome, in fact, the first tiger ever know in Rome was an Indian tiger taken as a gift from an Indian Ambassador (more details in the book "Tiger, the ultimate guide", a magnificent book).

The distance was not to much relevant, even in the old world. It is a common mistake to think that the in old days, humans were unable to do such a feats, while in fact, humans made incredible trips and monuments in those "primitive" days.

Finally, check this map, the original one from where all the latter maps of lions born, thanks to Nowell & Jackson (1996):

*This image is copyright of its original author

It is interesting to see, that in fact, there are no reliable records of "India" lions in a huge section of its habitat. This area is mostly desertic, and although this doesn't mean that the lions have not traveled trough this area, I doubt that any viable population could survive in this place. This desert is more drier than that of Namibia and more like the Sahara, for example. In fact, half of Alexander the great army died in the travel trough this place.
 
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-14-2014, 11:01 AM by GuateGojira )

(12-14-2014, 03:30 AM)'tigerluver' Wrote: Historical accounts from the Arabian and Roman empire are only familiar with lions if I remember correctly, especially in the case of Arabian accounts. From this, I infer that lions may have naturally spread to western most Asia. At the same time, many Roman and Arabian nations were mixing into Northern Africa, where we know for sure lions were found, thus it is also possible that the familiarity with the lion came from those experiences. The lion fossils from Israel that are allegedly 25 ka - 65 ka are indicators that lions natively arrived in western-most Asia. 

The question is did lions get deeper into Asia. There is no certain fossil record of lions beyond the Israel digsite if I'm not mistaken. Metapodial and long bones are often too easily given to the lion as the owner. The similar sized tiger and lion have subtle difference in long bones characteristics, and as data is scant on bone dimensions, I've a knack that often times those who claim they've found lion aren't checking for the subtle differences. In order to be certain of identity, width to length ratios must be accessed. None of the alleged Asian lion finds published any measurements to show these ratios for assessment. The metapodial claims are also difficult to identity simply due to the metapodials being evolutionarily one of the most volatile aspects of anatomy. 

 

 
I could not say it better. To this, we most add that the famous Sri Lanka "Lion" is based only in two or three canines that Dereniyagala "think" that were like those of the lions, with no more base that his own interpretation.

The culture of the lion in Sri Lanka in probably based in foreign culture and religion and not in a true physical lion. It is interesting to see that most (if not all) the depictions of lions in Sri Lanka are highly stylized and by no means represent a real lion, just like the draws of tigers in Japan.
 
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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#98
( This post was last modified: 12-19-2014, 10:21 AM by GuateGojira )

Here are the books were is stated that Durga have a possible Persian origin or influence, if you like, and here are the source that I quote:

First: Romila Thapar in the book "Tiger: the ultimate guide" of 2004:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


Second: Divyabhanusinh in his book "The story of the Asia's lions" of 2005:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Both sources state that Durga had a possible Persian origin and that the original animal was the lion and latter was changed for the tiger in India. Other thing, is interesting to see that despite the relation of the lion with royalty, there are no "cults" for the lion in India, that is only reserved for the tiger, which seems to be the only cat that is treated as a "god" (check the blue squares). In fact, Valmik Thapar made a full book named "The cult of the tiger" (2002). In this moment is very expensive, but I don't discard to buy it in the future.

I think is fair to doubt about something, specially when you found evidence about that. This is not insulting, just good curiosity, specially when we found new things.
 
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United States Pckts Offline
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Its way to easy for a individual to disagree with another in the educational community. Not all agreed with einstein, everybody thought the world was flat at one time etc.
It is just as easy to find Romalia Thapar accolades as well.

Romila Thapar is Professor Emeritus of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?i...0674725232
Her book is used at Harvard university

"
It’s only to be expected that a Narendra Modi government will not mean acchey din for historians like Romila Thapar.Thapar butted heads with the previous NDA regime as well about changes made to her textbook on ancient India. She has complained about “an attempt to replace mainstream history with a Hindutva version of history.” It’s only natural that when an ideological shift happens in government, its reverberations will be felt within the intellectual class. Different think-tanks, different intellectuals, even different artists will come to the fore and enjoy newfound clout."

"But for some reason, it is the 80-plus Romila Thapar who has emerged as the whipping girl of the sins of the old order. First Subramanian Swamy, in a moment of fiery hyperbole, and hopefully no more than hyperbole, suggested her books should be set on fire. Now Swapan Dasgupta sniggers in The Telegraph that the “real complaint” of Thapar was the “grim reality of change” that has left her feeling irrelevant. Dasgupta writes that “(f)or the first time in their living memory, the privileged ‘progressives’ of Delhi find themselves cut out.”What Dasgupta is implying is when Romila Thapar warns in a lecture about the “narrowing of liberal space in the last couple of decades” or the dangers of “organisations and institutions that claim a religious intention but use their authority for non-religious purposes” or the pusillanimity of intellectuals who “prefer not to confront authority even if it disbars the path of free thinking” -- what she is really upset about is that she is out in the cold. All her anxieties and worries and warnings are nothing more than the pique of a maharani who has suddenly lost not just her crown but also her privy purse."http://www.firstpost.com/india/whipping-girl-of-the-right-attack-romila-thapars-ideas-not-her-integrity-1792173.html


She is only attacked because hindu fundmentalism feels threatned.





There is much more on her major accomplishments and how highly reveared she is. You could of easily found this but chose to simply post one side to try and discredit somebody who is far more educated in the matters than any of us, spent her entire life studying and more knowledge in this area than any of us will ever have. 


 
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Germany Wanderfalke Offline
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(12-13-2014, 12:21 PM)'GuateGojira' Wrote: The problem here is that all here are talking in absolute therms and not in relative ones. Lions in India have been both, succesfull and unsuccesfull, the problem is the area itself.

Indian lions seems to have a very successful population in Gir, independently of they size and origin. However, the populations in other parts of India were never large and the hunting records never showed more than 10 specimens in a beat. Even the numbers and records of lions in northern India are incredible rare, in comparison with the literally thousands of dead tigers and leopards. If you actually see the records of lions, like Valmik Thapar has done, we can see that the existence of the lion in India is more cultural and religious than natural. Even worst, the influence of Greek and Persian cultures were probably the real origin of the "lion culture" in India. Durga, one of the most famous goddess in India was originally a divinity from Persia, and after its arrival to India, the lion was changed by a tiger, which show that even with the lion culture, the cult of the tiger, which existed since the Harappans, always have an important part in the native culture. I can go way deeper here, but I only put this to give an idea of the real origin of the influence of the lion in the Indian culture.

Evidence suggest that contrary to the old believes, the lions in India were never successful in any part, except in Gir. However, the new point of view is that the Indian lions were never native and that those lions hunted or recorded in the north of India, were just introduced specimens from several sources. However, in Gir, where there are several human populations with African origin and African culture, the lions not only survived but established a very successful colony. I guess that if those lions were not hunted, they could have a better genetic variation and probably were also larger than in present days: the largest lion in this area was of 298 cm in length between pegs and the heaviest lion ever recorded in India, also from this area, was of 255 kg (this last record is from 1623, so take it under you own risk).

Finally, Divyabhanusinh (2013) reported some fossils from the Orissa region that according with him, were from lions, in contradiction of Thapar et al. (2013). However, I think that this is just a desperate intent to kept the old believe. In fact, Divyabhanusinh in his book of 2005 clearly stated that there are no fossils of lions in Gir and that the fossils of other "lions" in India could be or tigers or leopards. As far I know, there are no DNA studies on these fossils and although other Indian experts claim that these were "lions", they base they statements only in the size of the rests, but in any case, this are actually large.
 

 

Very intersting read Guate! Thanks a lot for sharing.


 
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-19-2014, 10:35 AM by GuateGojira )

Here is an interesting statement: "so if lions were a later introduction (post 1700) so they were just left to roam freely? Harper's record shows lions were found in entire central India , Lions were found in most parts of Rajasthan especialy southrn Rajasthan suggesting they entered Gujarat from Rajasthan, this could also mean lion entered India from Pakistan. I also read of lion's existence in southern Bihar (now Jharkhand)."

The answer: No lion survived in "tiger land", NO ONE, only in Gir, a place which don't even have lion fossils (Divyabhanusinh, 2005), and had a heavy African influence in they culture (watch the documentary "The last lions from India" from the series "Natural world" from the BBC). Captain Thomas Williamson, the author of the epic book about India’s animals, Oriental Field Sports, says that in the 1780s, while pig-sticking, one was likely to encounter tigers that had strayed into the open, but never lions, or for that matter, cheetahs. In his observations of the same period, Thomas Pennant says of lions: ‘Those who deny that those animals were natives of India, assert that here was a royal menagerie and that the breed was propagated from the beasts which had escaped.’ The debate about the origins and prevalence of lions and cheetahs in India must have been vigorous in the eighteenth century and later but it is intriguing the fact that it hasn’t been talked about much in recent years. In his book, Wild Animals in Central India, published in 1931, A. A. Dunbar Brander writes that there were no lions in Central India too. Why are pictures of lions as hunting trophies so rare and the few that exist tend to have been taken after 1886 in Gir?

Those lions hunted in Central India were single introductions for the sake of the hunt. You most remember that the bags of lions were never over 10 in India in a year, while those for tigers and leopards were of hundreds.
 
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-19-2014, 10:24 PM by Pckts )

Vinod says
"Further , Romila Thapar was given the award even though her research has demonized Hinduism and demolished the sense of Indian civilization.  Her co-recipient Peter Robert Lamont Brown meanwhile, according to the authors Malhotra & Neelakandan is a historian of early Christian monasticism and his work has brought out a positive picture of Christian monasticism that is equivalent to the Indian spiritual culture which Thapar herself has condemned as life-negating escapism. Thapar twice declined the Indian government’s highest award, the Padma Bhushan perhaps she didn't want to be seen as politically aligned to a particular ideology or government, but she gladly accepted the $1 Million prize with Peter Robert Lamont Brown,  why dual standards here?"

She specifically covers this
"It’s only to be expected that a Narendra Modi government will not mean acchey din for historians like Romila Thapar.Thapar butted heads with the previous NDA regime as well about changes made to her textbook on ancient India. She has complained about “an attempt to replace mainstream history with a Hindutva version of history.” It’s only natural that when an ideological shift happens in government, its reverberations will be felt within the intellectual class. Different think-tanks, different intellectuals, even different artists will come to the fore and enjoy newfound clout."

"But for some reason, it is the 80-plus Romila Thapar who has emerged as the whipping girl of the sins of the old order. First Subramanian Swamy, in a moment of fiery hyperbole, and hopefully no more than hyperbole, suggested her books should be set on fire. Now Swapan Dasgupta sniggers in The Telegraph that the “real complaint” of Thapar was the “grim reality of change” that has left her feeling irrelevant. Dasgupta writes that “(f)or the first time in their living memory, the privileged ‘progressives’ of Delhi find themselves cut out.”What Dasgupta is implying is when Romila Thapar warns in a lecture about the “narrowing of liberal space in the last couple of decades” or the dangers of “organisations and institutions that claim a religious intention but use their authority for non-religious purposes” or the pusillanimity of intellectuals who “prefer not to confront authority even if it disbars the path of free thinking” -- what she is really upset about is that she is out in the cold. All her anxieties and worries and warnings are nothing more than the pique of a maharani who has suddenly lost not just her crown but also her privy purse."http://www.firstpost.com/india/whipping-girl-of-the-right-attack-romila-thapars-ideas-not-her-integrity-1792173.html



 
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 12-20-2014, 12:20 PM by GuateGojira )

"At least two separate occasions of lion hunts are attested in our sources: the Sidonian lion hunt (in Phoenicia, 332 BC) and the lion hunt in Basista (a.k.a. Bazaira, Sogdiana, in 328/327 BC). Both events indeed match with periods in which parts of the army must have been relatively inactive: the long siege of Tyre, in between the battles of Issus and Gaugamela, and at the advent of the Indian campaign after subjugation of Central Asia. "

"The Sidonian lion hunt is presumably represented in the well-known mosaic (found in Pella) showing Craterus and Alexander fighting a lion. The Sidonian hunt was originally commemorated by bronze sculptures made by Lysippus and Leochares (Plutarch Alex. 40; also Heckel, The Marshals of Alexander's Empire, 1992: p. 268-271). Alexander is said to have speared a great lion, so that an envoy from Sparta remarked the hunt had represented a battle between kings. Alexander's bodyguard Lysimachus also killed a lion of extraordinary size, but not before "his left shoulder had been lacerated right down to the bone" (Curtius, 4.14-17). "


"Another subspecies very closely related to the Asian lion - the Barbary lion or Panthera leo leo - became extinct in the wild in 1922 (in Morocco). This Barbary lion had been the dominant animal in the blood sports of the Roman arenas. Sulla had 100 lions killed during a festival in 90 BC. Pompey managed to have 400 lions butchered in 55 BC, as would Julius Caesar a few years later. Figures kept rising. Emperor Titus had a grand total of 5,000 animals killed during a single festival and Trajan surpassed all with 11,000 slaughtered animals during one event. Substantial numbers of these victims must have been lions. Some lions in Rabat zoo, Morocco, have recently been identified as Barbary lions (in 1974), though they are not 'flawless' specimens and a breeding programme has not yet produced very convincing results. "

"In March 2001 Martin Seyer published his dissertation on Royal hunting in Antiquity at the University of Vienna, Austria. Seyer emphasizes on the symbolic importance of lion hunts. As the lion "had been associated with monsters and demonical beings" the overcoming of these wild beasts confirmed the ability and the strength of the king to protect his subjects against enemies, rebellions and wars. The lion hunt became the ultimate allegory of legitimate power. Therefore, writes Seyer, not all representations of Alexander on a lion hunt need to refer to real events. Seyer: "Illustrations of this activity were an ideal instrument of propaganda within the frame of ideology."

http://www.pothos.org/content/index.php?page=lions

The alexander and craterus lion hunt image is on his wiki page as well as his invasion of the Indian sub continent with War elephants he brought with him.

and a little more on lion hunts


"As his biographer Plutarch put it, 'When he had time on his hands, he would get up and sacrifice to the gods ... then he would go on to spend the day hunting ...' . For example, in a safari park near Maracanda (Samarkand in Uzbekistan) in the early 320s, a bag of no fewer than 4,000 wild game, including lions, is reported. That was the reward for the capture of the fearsome Sogdian Rock."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/gre...t_01.shtml
Importing lions for slaughter


 
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( This post was last modified: 12-17-2014, 11:53 PM by Pckts )

"The Gir Forest's dry teak woods were once a royal hunting ground. Today they are a reserve where the endangered Asian lions are heavily protected. An additional 200 Asian lions live in zoos."
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/an...sian-lion/"Once widespread in Gujarat, the lion population shrank to a mere dozen in the early 20th Century, mainly due to hunting and drought.But Nawab Mahabat Khanji of then Junagadh state, an animal lover who kept 300 dogs as pets, banned lion hunting, and was able to preserve the big cat."
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-29009234

^^ This is about the ongoing debate on where to move the Gir lions.
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Greece teresek Offline
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(12-02-2014, 09:05 PM)'Amnon242' Wrote:
(12-02-2014, 09:03 PM)'chaos' Wrote: Unfortunately, middle east = eternal instability. What a shame it would be to lose relocated wildlife
to human conflict.


 

You are right :-( Turkey and Iran are quite safe right now, but no one knows what will be in 5 years (especially in the case of Iran). Perhaps Turkmenistan could be propriate home for lions but I´m not sure whether lions ever lived there...I think they didn´t...

Lions lived also in Greece about 2500 years ago...but reintroduction of lions into Greece is beyond my imagination :-)


 

Greece is better option than the other countries. It's a european country and is part of the european union. Greece has strict laws about wild animals. Τhe creation of a new 1000km2 National Park with fences all around somewhere in thessaly would be a nice reintroduction of asiatic lion.

Don't forget that not long ago it was its home. But from what i'am seeing i don't think India ever going to relocate lions in other countries even if they're going to extinct. They don't want to lose the "only in India" thing i suppose which is a bit idiotic nowadays.

 

 
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