Asiatic lions' census in May
Vadodara: Asiatic lion census held once every five years by the Gujarat government will be conducted at Gir sanctuary from May 2 to 5, a senior official said on Tuesday.
"The lion census is conducted every five years. The last census was conducted at Gir in 2010 when nearly 411 lions were counted. The census had covered Girnar hills, coastal areas, Bhavnagar and other parts outside the 1,412 sq km sanctuary," Deputy Conservator of Forest Sandeep Kumar told PTI over phone today.
"The census at Gir will be done from May 2 to 5 this year in a more scientific manner," he said.
In the past, the counting was based on pug marks. Now, the forest department will be using GPS system and counting will take place on the direct sighting of group of lions.
Several persons will be deployed for the exercise after providing them proper training in this regard, he said.
The land area in which the lions are found has more than doubled in the last several years, according to forest department officials.
During the 2010 census, the felines were spread over 10,000 sq km area but an analysis done a year back revealed that the big cats now have sway over 22,000 sq kms, which covers most of the districts located in Saurashtra region including Gir, Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Saurashtra, Veraval and Kutch.
Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the sole home of the Asiatic lions and is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia.
In wake of fear for the extinction of Asiatic lions from Gir national park, the Supreme Court had in April 2013 ruled that some lions in the Gir forest be shifted to Kuno wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.