Sunday, October 20, 2013

Record tourists flock Sasan Gir to watch lions as new season begins

Record tourists flock Sasan Gir to watch lions as new season begins
The Indian Express

This is the time when lions fight for territory. Sandeep Kumar

On the first day of the new season, as many as 1,785 tourists visited Sasan Gir to watch the Asiatic lions in their only natural habitat of Gir forests in Junagadh district on Wednesday.

The number was almost double as compared with 935 tourists registered last year, deputy conservator of forest (wildlife division) Sandeep Kumar said.

People from many parts of the country also went on safari in the tourism zone of Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and Gir Interpretation Zone in Devaliya, forest officers said.

"Rainfall has been very good this year and due to better rescue operations and treatment, more number of lion cubs are seen," Kumar said, adding that around 80 cubs of the big cats were observed after the monsoon, the breeding season for lions.

Cases of infight are high during the season as lions fight for dominance and sometimes even kill cubs. According to the 2010 Census, there were 411 lions in the Gir forest and protected areas.

Forest officers said that there was a high booking for safaris till January. "As many as 9,000 persons have sought permission online for safaris this season. Out of them, around 900 are foreign tourists," Kumar said.

Incidentally, a record 4.16 lakh tourists had visited Gir during 2012-13 season. The sanctuary remains open for tourists from October 16 to June 15.

In April this year, the Supreme Court had ordered the translocation of Asiatic lions from Gir forest to Madhya Pradesh for better chances of survival of the endangered species. But the Gujarat government filed a review petition against the apex court verdict.

Residents of Sasan Gir and nearby two villages had threatened last month to boycott tourists in protest of inclusion of their villages in Mendarda taluka after pulling them out of Talala taluka of Gir Somnath district. The protests ended after local politicians gave villagers assurance that the three villages would go back to Talala.

1 comment:

Jim Sam said...

You are right one of the favorite place to see Asiatic lion in India.

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