Trivia / Gujarat

Only about a ______ of Asiatic Lions were left in India at the end of the nineteenth century, all of them in the Gir Forest.

  1. dozen
  2. hundred
  3. thousand

dozen

The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the only region in Asia where Asiatic Lions occur. It is a part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion. At the end of the nineteenth century, only about a dozen Asiatic Lions were left in India, all of them in the Gir Forest. This was due to the heavy hunting by the British colonial officers and Indian rulers. The population of the Asiatic Lion increased from 20 in 1913 to 523 in 2015.

The Gir Forest is a host to 2,375 distinct fauna species, around 200- 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and more than 2,000 species of insects. The sanctuary is famous for carnivores such as Asiatic lion, Indian leopard, jungle cat, striped hyena, Golden jackal and honey badger. The herbivores present in Gir include chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope (Chowsingha), chinkara and wild boar.

An Interpretation Zone has been created at Devalia within the sanctuary to promote nature education and to allow better sightings of the animals of Gir to the tourists. It is basically a fenced-off compound that covers all habitat types and wildlife of Gir wherein the tourists can get a 30 min tour of the zone from a bus. Since the zone is not very big, tourists have a really high chance to spot the lions in their natural habitat. It is thus recommended to also take the Devalia tour along with the safari whenever one visits Gir Forest.