Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Times of India

Gir Lions' Sex Ratio Improved Considerably In The Last Census, But Experts Say The Situation Is Far From Ideal

The male female ratio in Gir's lion population has improved and there are now 1.67 females for every lion. In the sanctuary, against 97 males, there were 182 females. Though the sex ratio has improved, wildlife experts say that a lot more is to be done before that sigh of relief. In an ideal situation, for every one lion there should be two lionesses, they say.

The experts and foresters point out that among the sub adult lions, the ratio was one male for each female. In this category there are 29 cub, which are yet to be identified.

G u j a r at 's chief minister Narendra Modi too, in his official, wrote, "When our society faces the irrational female feticide I would say that it is worthwhile to learn from the lions where male-female ratio is 1:1.67. The future of lion lies in their cubs and sub-adults and 40 per cent of the Asiatic lion population comprises cubs and subadults."

The forest officials, however, say that this ratio means that we are not far from the danger sign. One forester told TOI that in an ideal situation one male should have two female. At one point in the late 70's, the ratio was skewed in favour of the males. The official says that the ratio of 1:1.67 is also questionable as several wondering lonely lions have not been taken into account. He says their number was well above 100, where the government has announced only 97. This would bring the male-female ratio to 1:1.5.
Ravi Chellam, a lion expert, puts the ideal ratio at three to four female for every male. The improvement is a healthy sign though, he says. Sanat Chauhan, former principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) agrees that the change in the said ratio in favour of lionesses is better than the past ratio of 1:1.

For the lion population to flourish one needs to see that there are more females than males, he says. Usually one male impregnates two females in one matting season, and this maintains the forest ecology.

GA Patel, also former PCCF, says that the present ratio is not very satisfactory. The increase in the number of lionesses will prevent infighting between two males, further helping their population. He said that the ratio has been increasing gradually as seen in last two census as well.

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