A dry deciduous forest in the western part of India, Gir National Park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1965. This 1412 sq km area of the sanctuary is home to various animals, birds, reptiles, and plant species, the last abode of the majestic Asiatic lions.
The national park is located just 360 km from Ahmedabad, in the Junagadh district in Gujarat. The topography of rugged ridges, plateaus, and isolated hills is unquestionably a beautiful abode for wildlife to flourish. Are you ready to explore the many details of Gir National Forest and its many hidden treasures? Keep reading to know more about this beautiful forest that houses majestic beasts and over 200+ bird species.
Details of Gir National Park
The forest area of Gir National Park is made up of dry and deciduous plants and grasslands, which is the ideal habitat for Asiatic Lions and other animal and bird species. Here is a detailed look at all the natural wonders this forest is home to:
- Fauna: The home of the Asiatic Lions, most of which reside in the Sasan-Gir part of this forest, Gir National Park is home to a range of animals like the Indian leopard, King Cobra, Four-horned Antelope, Mongoose, Langur Monkey, Golden Jackal, Blackbuck, Monitor Lizard, Chital, Pangolin, Marsh Crocodile, Python, Striped Hyena, Indian Palm Civet, and several others.
- Avian Fauna: The unique flora in this forest makes it a beautiful adobe for over 200+ species of birds, which include the endangered Bonelli's Eagle, Brown Fish Owl, Crested Hawk-eagle, Pygmy Woodpecker, Indian PItta, and several species of vultures.
- Flora: This region usually experiences dry spells with limited rainfall during the monsoon season. Hence, the forest is home to dry and deciduous plants like khakhra, Khair, samai, timru, asundro jambu, amla, kalam, simal, and others. Teak is the most prominent plant to be found in this region.
Asiatic Lions In Gir Forest
Gir National Park is a haven for the last remaining population of the majestic Asiatic Lions. These lions were seen as far as Arabia, Mesopotamia, Turkey, Baluchistan, and parts of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Sindh, and Bihar. But in 1900, their population was estimated to be just 100, mainly due to excessive hunting by British colonial and Indian rulers.
Today, this endangered species is found only in the Gir National Park. But on a positive note, thanks to efforts by the Indian forest department and wildlife activists, the population of lions is growing each year. In 2021, there will be 674 lions in Gir, comprising 161 males, 260 females, 116 sub-adult lions, and 137 cubs. The area inhabited by these lions has also increased by 36% to cover 30,000 sq km.
Gir National park is home to the Asiatic lions and other species of birds, animals, and rare plants that need to be protected. Despite being a protected area, there is a considerable threat to the animal population due to human-animal conflict. The lions and other predators are often a threat to humans and livestock, leading to illegal poaching and retaliation from farmers. In addition, there is always the threat of natural calamities like cyclones, floods, droughts, forest fires, and epidemics.
Through sustained efforts from the government and increasing awareness about the need to protect this rare habitat, the future of this unique forest is now in safe hands.
FAQs on Gir National Park
Q.1. What is unique about Gir National Park?
Gir National Park is a wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, the only protected area in the world that houses the rare Asiatic lions in their natural habitat.
Q.2. Which animals live in Gir National Park?
Famous for the Asiatic Lions, the Gir Forest is also home to diverse langur monkeys, jackals, striped hyenas, Indian fox, leopards, antelope, deer, marsh crocodile, King Cobra, Russell's viper, and over 200+ species of birds.
Q.3. Which is the best time to visit Gir National Park?
Gir National Park is a protected area closed for tourists from June to October. Therefore, the best time to visit is during winters, i.e., from November to March, or summer seasons between April to May. The hot weather is ideal for spotting rare birds and animals near the water bodies.
Q.4. How many lions are there in Gir National Park?
As per statistics shared in 2021, there are 674 Asiatic lions in Gir National Park, comprising 161 males, 260 females, 116 sub-adult lions, and 137 cubs.