Gir Forest National Park
Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and protected forest area in Gujarat, India. It is considered one of the most important protected natural areas in Asia due to the rare animals living here, particularly the pure Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo persica).
The park has a total area of 1412 km², from which 258 km² are in the fully protected national park and the remaining 1153 km² make up the sanctuary.
The Gir forest area and the Asiatic lions were first "protected" by the Nawab of the princely state of Junagadh as early as the start of the 20th century, which saved the lion population from fully disappearing as a result of trophy hunting. In 1965 the national park was established.
Flora and fauna
- Among the many species living here, the Asiatic lion is surely the most treasured of all, as the Gir Forest National park is the only place in the world where these rare lions have survived. A breeding programme was set up and so far succeeded in bringing forward some 180 lions. An April 2010 count placed the number of lions at 411, which would mean an increase of 52 in 5 years.
- Other fauna is diverse and plentiful and includes at least 38 mammals and some 300 species of birds. Some 37 different species of reptiles have been documented too. Among the most spectacular possible sightings are Indian Leopards, jungle cats, striped hyenas, sloth bears and Indian cobras. There are golden jackals, Indian mongoose, Ratels and Indian Palm Civets as well as chital deer, nilgai, four-horned Antelopes, wild boars and many other animals.
- Flora in the area is also of high value, with over 500 plant species documented.