Asiatic Lion and Gir Forest

Review by: ravi chauhan

Destination: Sasan Gir National Park


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Gir Sanctuary and National Park
India’s State of Gujarat is in the forefront of development, Saurashtra is the westernmost, mainly dry and dough-prone region of Gujarat, and Gir is the jewel of Saurashtra. Spread over 1412 sq. km. Of undulating land with dry deciduous forest, Gir is best known as the last of the Asiatic lion in the wild.

Over 400 lions, more that 250 leopards, and a number of other carnivores; ungulates crossing that 50,000 mark and 300+ species of birds flitting about among 500 types of tress; more than 2000 species of insects and other lesser know animals green revering patches of forest and dry scrub jungle; That’s Gir National park and Sanctuary a veritable paradise of biological diversity.

Asiatic Lion

The Asiatic lion once ranges from Iran/Iraq to UP and Bihar in India, the river Narmadawhich it never crossed-marking the southern boundary. Hunting and loss of habitant caused its disappearance everywhere except in Gir. Protection given by the Nawab of Junagadh and after independence, by the Gujarat State Forest Department has brought this magnificent animal back from the brick of extinction in the wild.

The Gir Sanctuary was created in 1965 and part of it was declared a National Park in 1975.

The Asiatic lion is some what different from the African lion. Its mean is smaller, and it has a prominent belly-fold. In Gir its main prey based comprises chital, sambar, wild boar.
Bird Life…

Impressed by the remarkably rich bird variety in Gir, Salim Ali, the great omithologist said if Gir did not have lions it would be known as a bird sanctuary! Among the 300+ species of birds found in Gir are; Flycatchers, Warblers, Parakeets, Kingfishers and Woodpeckers to name some; Crested Serpent Eagle, Paradise Flycatcher, Blossom Headed Parakeet, Small Blue Kingfisher, Golden Backed Woodpecker, Indian Pitta. Because of large reservoirs, Herons, Snake bird and Osprey are also seen.

Sanctuary Visit…
Sanctuary Visit is allowed only during day time between sunrise and sunset. Sanctuary visit permits are issued to the Reception Center on request and after filling the necessary form. Guides and vehicles are available on hire at the Reception Center on first come first served basis.
Lodging Arrangement…
Rooms booking in Sinh Sadan, the Forest Department Guest House, are done in the office of the Guest House Manager.

Public Facilities at Sasan…
Hospital PHC, Hospital CHC, Market, Petrol Pump, Post & Telegraph, Bank, Railway Station.

Places to Visit…
There are many places in Gir, visit to every one of which will be an exhilarating experience. Some of these places are:

A water reservoir created by a dam on the river Hiran, Kamleshwar presents a panoramic view of Gir, hills and forest. The water body also harbours of a large population of crocodiles and is a good spot to observe water birds.

Crocodile – rearing center
This center, situated in the Forest Department office complex was crated to rear crocodile hatchling to be subsequently released to restock crocodile population in the wild. There are some crocodiles for public viewing at the centre.

Gir Interpretation Zone (GIZ)
Gir Interpretaion Zone in Devaliya, 12 kilometers from Sasan, is a fenced area of 4.12 sq. km. The area represents typical Gir habitats and wildlife and depicts model wildlife management practices.
Nearest Places to Visit…
1). Somnath Temple
2). Diu
3). Junadath

Gir Orientation Center
The Gir Orientation Center, located on the Sasan Guest House campus provides basic factual and scientific information about Gir with the help of interactive Photographs, Paintings and models.

World’s only Asiatic lion sanctuary in Gujarat will be closed for visitors from 16th of June. The sanctuary will reopen on 15th of October.

Monsoon is a breeding period for lions. Moreover the sanctuary has muddy roads which are not motorable in four months of rain. Therefore the park observes closure every year during monsoon. According to Dr. Sandip Kumar, Deputy conservator of forest, both Gir wild life sanctuary and national park and Gir introduction complex of Devaliya will be closed for visitors during this period.

Millennium Figures:
According to the census of 2014, the number of animals in Gir continues to show, like in the past, a healthy increase.

Asiatic Lion - 420 - 450 (2014)
Nilgai - 937
Leopard - 311
Sambar - 2811
Chital - 46785
Chowsinga - 636
Chinkara - 461
Wild Boar - 3109

If you wish to travel Gir forest... we will be happy to help, guide and accompany you to explore Gir forest for the best experience.