The Lion Queens of India

By School Library Journal

The Gir National Park in Gujarat, India, is a sanctuary for the last remaining Asiatic lions in the world. Once nearly extinct, they now number close to 600 and are part of the natural cycle of life in the well-guarded reserve. An all-women group of park rangers, known as the “Lion Queens,” protect the big cats from poachers, rescue them after accidents, and ensure their well-being. Rashila Vadher, the first woman to be appointed a park ranger at the sanctuary, describes working with the lions. Vadher and her fellow rangers also work closely with local villagers to offer education on the coexistence of lions and townspeople. Simple language and many photographs provide a clear picture of life among lions, although little is said of the dangers posed by poachers. The success of the sanctuary also presents additional problems as the lions outnumber the space provided. Vadher and her colleagues are working to acquire additional parkland to protect future generations of these magnificent animals. VERDICT A rare, positive look at saving a species from extinction aimed at younger readers. A useful resource for young children interested in big cats and suitable for classroom units.