Two 'kings of forest' who rule the biggest pride in Gir Park
Besides rejoicing a substantial rise in number of lions to 411 in Gujarat's Gir National Park, what has attracted attention of experts is the unique behavioural pattern being displayed by two male lions who now rule the biggest ever pride comprising 32 felines. "The Gir forest is well known universally. This is the kingdom of lions (Panthera Leo Persica), who are also called as Asiatic Lions. There is an increase in the lion population in the Gir forest. Today, more than 411 lions roam the sanctuary," Dr Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) told PTI. The officials attribute the rise in population to the factors like better protection and other facilities, including availability of abundant prey for the big cats, availability of water and overall improvement in the lion habitat in the area. "A group of lions having two adult males and several females with their cubs is called as a pride. Here, two males together guard a territory comprising sub-territories of female lions that is called as a sub-group. A sub-group is typically formed by 1 to 3 adult females, their cubs and sub-adults. Adult males regularly visit these sub-groups and father the most of the cubs," said Kumar. He further said two male adult lions are ruling 150 sq km of territory and display dispersal behaviour thus not allowing the sub-adults to feed, mingle with each other and even not let them come in vicinity of the pride. "This (Gir) forest range is ruled by two male lions known as "Kamleshwar males". They have established their territory in this area in 2005 and till date are maintaining, protecting and breeding in it," Kumar said.