The Asiatic Lion Once Lived In Armenia

The Asiatic Lions/Persian Lion (Panthera leo persica) once ranged from the Mediterranean to India, covering most of West Asia. This majestic lion once lived in Armenia in ancient times, before becoming an extinct species in the region.

The lion can be found in Gir Forest National Park of northwestern India. Now only 523 exist in and near the Gir Forest in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat.  Genetic evidence suggests its ancestors split from the ancestors of sub-Saharan African lions between 203 and 74 thousand years ago. Its closest relatives are North and West-Central African lions.

From ancient times until today the traditional theme of the lion trademarks to Armenian imagery and identification. The first Armenian kingdoms, way prior to when Armenia converted to Christianity also used the lion as a symbol.

These symbols are found on the Armenian Highland from times immemorial. Many Armenian dynasties, such as the Bagratuni and Rubenid, used the symbol of the lion in their royal insignia.

Bagratuni flag.svg
Flag of Armenian royal Bagratuni dynasty.
File:Rubenid Flag.svg
Flag of the Rubenid Dynasty



  • Popular Zoology, comprising memoirs and anecdotes of the quadrupeds, birds and reptiles, in the Zoological Society’s Menagerie, with figures. (To which is prefixed a descriptive walk round the gardens, etc.). Zoological Society of London. 1832.
  • “Asiatic Lion—History”. Asiatic Lion Information Centre. Wildlife Conservation Trust of India. 2006. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  • Singh, H. S.; Gibson, L. (2011). “A conservation success story in the otherwise dire megafauna extinction crisis: The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) of Gir forest”. Biological Conservation. 144 (5): 1753–1757. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.02.009.
  • Meena, V. (2016). Wildlife and human impacts in the Gir landscape. In: Agrawal, P.K., Verghese, A., Radhakrishna, S. and Subaharan, K. (eds)., Human Animal Conflict in Agro-Pastoral Context: Issues & Policies. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.
  • Burger, Joachim; Rosendahl, Wilfried; Loreille, Odile; Hemmer, Helmut; Eriksson, Torsten; Götherström, Anders; Hiller, Jennifer; Collins, Matthew J.; Wess, Timothy; Alt, Kurt W. (2004). “Molecular phylogeny of the extinct cave lion Panthera leo spelaea” (PDF).

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