Asiatic lion who had lost his sight due to a severe bilateral cataract, was rescued by some Indian veterinarians, and was done with a surgery which replaced both lenses. The lion has now fully recovered his sight. As he recovers from the operation, the lion will be released in the forest of the Gir di Jamvala, a village in the state of Gujarat.
The Asiatic lion
The Asiatic lion is one of the five big cats of India, along with the Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, snow leopard, and clouded leopard.
Once its range extended from the Mediterranean to the north-eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent, but excessive hunting, water pollution and the decrease in natural prey have considerably reduced its extent. In the past, the Asian lion was divided into three races: Bengal, Arabian and Persian lions.
It is still a matter of debate whether the lions that lived in Europe during the Hellenic era were Asiatic lions or whether they belonged to another subspecies. It is sometimes considered the national animal of India, but this statement is wrong, as the symbolic animal of India is the tiger.
Scholars believe that the historical range of the Asiatic lions of the Persian subspecies extended, through present-day Iran, to northern India in the east, to the northern edges of the Arabian Peninsula in the south and to present-day Greece and Italy in the west.
It should be remembered that fossil remains of cave lion, a subspecies, now extinct, closely related to the Asiatic lion, have been found in numerous sites scattered throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Siberia, Alaska and much of 'Europe, up to Scotland.
As mentioned, experts debate whether to consider the lions that lived in Europe during the ancient period as Asiatic lions or whether they belonged to another subspecies. Some even claim that these were the last examples of cave lions, although this hypothesis is generally considered unlikely by the scientific community.
In India these big cats lost much of the open jungles and grasslands they lived in due to the increase in human population, which almost completely converted the plains into agricultural land. In addition, they became targets of both local hunters and British colonists.