Gir National Park of Gujarat, is the only other place besides Africa that allows tourists to spot lions roaming free in their natural wild habitat. Situated at a distance of 65 kms from the South east of the Junagadh District, the government had particularly notified the vast geographical extension of Sasan Gir as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1965 with an aim to conserve the Asiatic Lion.
Gir National Park covers a total area of 1412 sq. km out of which 258 km
consists of the core area of the National Park . Over the years of indiscriminate and
merciless hunting by the locals of Junagadh led to the prominently drastic decrease of this majestic population resulting in a complete wipeout on most parts of Asia but it was the kind initiative taken by the Nawab of Junagadh to protect the Queen Royalty in his own private hunting grounds till in due course of time the Forest Department officials came forward to take forward the responsibility and protects the world’s most threatened and endangered species. These thoughtful initiatives have made a drastic impact as the population of lions rose from 20 in the year 1913 to 523 according to the consensus of 2015. The wilderness of these 4 districts consists of 201 female lions, 106 male lions and 2013 sub- adult lions.
Here is a list of subtle glimpses that acts as a major attraction for tourists and visitors at Sasan Gir :
- ANIMALS AND WILDLIFE : Gir National Park is a stretch of dry and deciduous
forests which is the best possible habitat for Asiatic Lions to live in. According to the last consensus of 2015, the whole region of Saurashtra is home to at least 523 lions and 300 leopards. Apart from the obvious, it also is home to Sambar, the largest species of Indian Deer and Chowsingha, the world’s only 4 horned antelope. The striped hyena, Indian Fox and the Jackal are some of the smaller carnivores inhabiting Gir Forest.
- BIRDS AND AVIFAUNA : The Gir National Park has a range of exotic flora which
acts as a safe haven to over 200 species of birds and has been declared as a
significant area of the Bird Sanctuary by the Bird Conservation Network. This national park also shelters critically endangered species of raptors like long- billed and white-backed vultures.
- REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS : The Sasan Gir National Park is blessed with more
than 40 different species of amphibians and reptiles. It houses Kamleshwar as the
largest reservoir of the sanctuary which is an ideal spot for Marsh Crocodiles. It is
also home to numerous species of snakes like the King Kobra, Saw- scaled Viper,
Russell’s Viper and the Krait.