Census of Asiatic lions in Gir concludes, figures awaited
The field survey to count the Asiatic lions in the Gir sanctuary of Gujarat spread over 20,000 sq kms concluded today, officials said.
The numbers would be announced by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on May 10 after the final compilation of the data collected, they said.
Asiatic lions, who are found only in Gir, fall in the "endangered" category of wildanimals.
"We today finished the field exercise for census in eight regions in and around the Gir sanctuary and now we will start compiling the data collected in the last five days," additional principal chief conservator of forest S C Pant said.
"The final figures of lions will be announced by the Chief Minister on May 10," he added.
When asked whether the number of lions had increased, Pant said it would be known only after the compilation of data.
Around 600 teams of enumerators including wild-life experts, government officials, trackers and volunteers of NGOs were involved in the exercise.
The sanctuary was divided in 30 zones and 106 sub-zones for enumeration. Around 2,500 volunteers took part in the exercise which is always conducted in the first week of May.
In 2010 census the lion population was found to have increased to 411 from 359 in 2005.
The area covered in the census is 20,000 sq km, spread over Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Devbhoomi-Dwarka, Bhavnagar and Amreli districts.
The first lion census was carried out in 1936, when the area was a part of the princely state of Junagadh. It recorded existence of 287 lions.