Gir National Park: Home of Asiatic Lion
Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is the last shelter of the surviving population of the Asiatic Lion. The park stretched in 1412 sq. km of deciduous forest covering semi-evergreen and evergreen flora, acacia, scrub jungle, grasslands and rocky hills.
The Gujarat forest department has said that the Asiatic Lion population in Gir national park has increased by 29% in the past 5 years from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020. The population of the lion was 411 in 2010 and 359 in 2005.
Gir National Park Location:
Wildlife at Gir National Park:
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Facts about Gir National Park:
• Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is the last shelter to the surviving population of the Asiatic Lion in the wild.
• The park is located at 43 km (27 mi) north-east of Somnath, 65 km (40 mi) south-east of Junagadh and 60 km (37 mi) south-west of Amreli.
• The Government declared a big extent of Sasan Gir as a wildlife sanctuary on 18th September 1965 in order to conserve the Asiatic Lion.
• Sasan Gir as wildlife sanctuary scattered in an area of 1412 square kilometers out of which 258 Km covers the core area of the National Park.
• The park is scattered in the area of 1412 sq. km (deciduous forest) comprising semi-evergreen and evergreen flora, acacia, scrub jungle, grasslands, and rocky hills.
• Most of the area of the park is rugged hills, with high ridges and densely forested valleys, wide grassland plateaus, and isolated hilltops.
• The forest area of Gir was the hunting grounds of the Nawabs of Junagadh. But when the population of lions declined drastically then Nawab Sir Muhammad Rasul Khanji Babi declared Gir as a "protected" area in 1900.
• The 14th Asiatic Lion Census 2015 was conducted in May 2015. In 2015, the population has been 523 (27% up compared to the previous census in 2010). The population was 411 in 2010 and 359 in 2005.
• Gir has about 674 lions and 300 leopards, making it as one of the major 'big cat' concentrations in India.
• The carnivores group mainly comprises Asiatic lions, Indian leopards, Indian cobras, jungle cats, striped hyenas, golden jackals, Indian mongoose, Indian palm civets, and honey badgers.
• Desert cats and rusty-spotted cats also seen but rarely.
• The main herbivores of Gir are chital, Nilgai, Sambar, four-horned antelope, Chinkara and wild boar.
• Blackbucks from the surrounding area are sometimes seen in the sanctuary.
• Gir has a large population of marsh crocodiles, which is among the 40 species of reptiles and amphibians recorded in the sanctuary.
• The park checklist has over 250 species of birds. Rare species such as Lesser Florican and the Sarus Crane are recorded in the grasslands along the periphery of the sanctuary.
How to Reach Gir National Park Gir:
National Park attracts large number of tourists to witness the Asiatic lion, as this is the sole place all across the world where these creatures are presently found. Once extinct, numbers have recovered owing to the conservation efforts. The Sanctuary is open for tourism from 16th October to 15th June every year.
Junagadh is perhaps the best approach to the park. The railway station in Junagadh receives trains from different cities like Ahmedabad and Rajkot and other major cities. Then, from here it takes approximately one and a half hour to reach Gir National Park.