About the Park
Gir National Park & Wildlife SanctuaryThe Gir Forests- the largest compact tract of dry deciduous forests in the semi-arid western part of India is the last abode of the big and regal predator, Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), an endangered animal species. The sanctuary is internationally acclaimed for successfully saving this precious species from the brink of extinction. It was declared as a sanctuary in 1965. Subsequently out of the 1153.42 sq. km area of the sanctuary, an area of 258.71 sq. km. was declared a National Park.
Gir Forests has a topography made up of successive rugged ridges, isolated hills, plateaus and valleys. Besides, being the last abode of Asiatic lions, Gir Forests forms a unique habitat for many mammals, reptiles, birds and insect species along with a rich variety of flora.
The overwhelming presence of the omnipotent big cat diverts the attention of the common man from the remarkable bird population that the sanctuary has. However, the birds of Gir sanctuary did attract the great ornithologist, Dr. Salim Ali who believed that, had the Asiatic lions not been there, the area would have been one of the most fascinating bird sanctuaries of the country.
People mostly link Gir with "Maldharis" who have survived through the ages by having symbiotic relationship with the lion. They are religious pastoral communities living in Gir. Their settlements are called "nesses".
At present, Gir forests of Gujarat (India) is the only place where this race of lions i.e. Asiatic lion is found in its natural habitat.At present, Gir forests of Gujarat (India) is the only place where this race of lions i.e. Asiatic lion is found in its natural habitat.
Brief History: The sanctuary was set up in 1965, and a 259-sq-km core area was declared as a national park in 1975. Since the late 1960s, lion numbers have increased from less than 200 to 674 (Census 2020).
Keywords: Gir,National,Park, sanctuary, birds
By: Akshata Jadhav
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