Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Reasons for being in news

21 lions have died in Gir forest since September 12,2018.The government authorities have attributed deaths to infighting and viral infection.Most of the deaths have been reported from Gir’s Dalkhania and Jasadhar range

About Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Map Guj Nat Parks Sanctuary.png

Today, it is the only area in Asia, where Asiatic lions occur, and is considered one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species.

Location  

Junagadh, Gir Somnath and Amreli Districts of Gujarat

Area 

1,412 square km of which 258 square km is fully protected as national park and 1,153 square km  as wildlife sanctuary.

Established 

1965

Ecoregion

It is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion.

Census of the lions

The census of lions takes place every five years. Previously indirect methods like using pugmarks of the lion were adopted for the count. However, during the census of April 2005 , “Block-Direct-Total Count” method was employed . It means that only those lions were counted that were “spotted” visually.

The 14th Asiatic Lion Census 2015 was conducted in May 2015. In 2015, the population of the lions has been 523.

Rivers and dams

The seven major perennial rivers of the Gir region are Hiran, Shetrunji, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Godavari and Raval. The four reservoirs of the area are at four dams, one each on Hiran, Machhundri, Raval and Shingoda rivers, including the biggest reservoir in the area, the Kamleshwar Dam, dubbed ‘the lifeline of Gir’.

Flora

Teak occurs mixed with dry deciduous species. Savannah forests of Gir are locally known as “vidis”. It is the largest dry deciduous forest in western India. Several species of acacia are found. Also found here are ber, jamun, flame of the forest, zizyphus, tendu and dhak.

Fauna

The carnivores group mainly comprises the Asiatic lion, Indian leopard, jungle cat, striped hyena, Golden jackal, Indian and Ruddy mongoose, and honey badger. The main herbivores of Gir are chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara and wild boar.

Among the smaller mammals, porcupine and hare are common. The reptiles are represented by the mugger crocodile, Indian cobra, tortoise and monitor lizard .

Some of the typical species of avifauna of Gir include crested serpent eagle, endangered Bonelli’s eagle, crested hawk-eagle, brown fish owl, Indian eagle-owl, rock bush-quail, Indian peafowl, brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, black-headed oriole, crested treeswift and Indian pitta.

Threats to Asiatic lions

Even though the Gir Forest is well protected, there are instances of Asiatic lions being poached. They have also been poisoned for attacking livestock. Some of the other threats include floods, fires and the possibility of epidemics and natural calamities.