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National Animal of Singapore, The Asiatic Lion

Singapore, known for its cityscape, surprisingly symbolizes itself with the Asiatic Lion, an animal representing courage and strength. However, it’s unlikely that wild lions ever lived in Singapore. The Asiatic Lion, primarily found in India’s Gir Forest, is at the top of the food chain, playing a vital role in its ecosystem.

The lion became Singapore’s national animal due to the story of Sang Nila Utama, a prince who supposedly saw a lion in Singapore in the 12th century. The Lion Head symbol introduced in 1986, stands for courage, strength, and excellence, values that Singapore wishes to embody. The Asiatic Lion is also part of the Merlion myth – a creature with a lion head and a fish body, symbolizing Singapore’s past as a fishing village and its current status as the Lion City.

Despite the debate over lions ever inhabiting Singapore, the Asiatic Lion’s status has sparked conservation efforts. In Singapore, the lion’s influence is seen in the Merlion Park, on souvenirs, and various emblems. The Lion Head symbol is used widely to promote national identity and reminds the country of its values.

The Asiatic Lion, known as Panthera leo persica scientifically, is critically endangered, with a few hundred left in the wild. Singapore leads in conservation efforts, with organizations like Mandai Wildlife Group working towards the preservation of African and Asiatic Lions.

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