Once widespread in the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere this majestic predator is now confined to a remote corner of Gujarat State of India.
Yes Asiatic or Indian Lion is now found only in Gir National Park in India where about five hundred plus survive. It has been a commendable conservation effort since only twenty of these
majestic predators where left alive after centuries of persecution by the hunters and land grabbers. By latter I mean takeover of land by human settlers as population in India began to grow rapidly. It is still growing and creating biotic pressure at Gir.
Nevertheless this tenacious population has managed to survive against all the odds.
The lions have spread over and area of twenty two thousand square kilometers in the neighborhood right down to Gujarat Sea near Junagadh.
The terrain at Gir is bush, thorn, dry deciduous forests and grassland and in this complex ecosystem the big cats have survived marvelously. The preference for relatively open habitat
keeps it from coming into conflict with the tiger albeit there no more tigers in Gujarat.
The Gir lion is related to the African cousin but has different morphology and hunting style. These hunters use part ambush and part chase to bring down their prey. They succeed in this
methodology because of enough ground to hide in Gir ecosystem.
Gir is not only the home of these predators it is an excellent birding destination as well. It is home to more than three hundred avian species including the winter migrants.
Other animals seen here are the leopard, sloth bear, Nilgai, spotted deer, chousingha, barking deer, chinkara, black buck, hyena, fox, desert cat, jungle cat and many species of reptiles
Tourism is conducted at Gir National Park in an organised manner. The Gujarat Government organises excursions at the National Park in the State. One needs permit for lion
safari at Gir National Park in Gujarat. This permit is available from the Government National Park website online.
The National Park is accessible from Jungadh and Velavar rail head. These are well connected to Rajkot City and Ahmedabad the Capital of the State.
Best season is from December to March before the hot summer arrives.