The number of Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary of Gujarat increased to 523, according to 2015 Lion census report released in the first week of May 2015. This 14th lion census registered 27 percent increase in the number of Asiatic lions compared to 2010 census which had registered 411 Asiatic lions.
As per recent census, there are 201 female lions, 109 male lions and 213 sub-adults as well as cubs in Gir sanctuary and in other protected areas in Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat.
268 lions were sighted in Junagadh district and 44 lions in the Gir-Somnath district while 174 lions were sighted in Amreli district and 37 lions in Bhavnagar districts.
The lions’ habitat area almost doubled since 2010 and has considerably increased to 21000 square kilometers.
The 2015 Lion census exercise was carried out from 1 May to 5 May 2015. The lion population was registered using Global Positioning System (GPS) in case of direct sighting or direct contact methods.
The census was conducted by more than 2 thousand persons. It included 600 units of enumerators, government officials, trackers, wildlife experts, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Asiatic lions, which were once found in Syria, Iran, the sub-continent and in Central Asia, are an endangered species. Now, they are found only in the Gir sanctuary and its surrounding areas. They are categorized as endangered species in International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list.
The first lion census was carried out in 1936 by the erstwhile princely state of Junagadh when the lion population was around 287. During the 1975 census, their number stood at 177. The 1990 census counted 234 lions and in 2001 their number increased to 327.
Lion census is carried out after every 5 years by Gujarat state forest department.
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What: Increased to 523