Gir's Asiatic lions face 'overcrowding' challenge
Delhi Daily News
Gir, Gujarat: The state government should be praised for the increase in the population of Asiatic lion in Gujarat forests. Also the people of Saurashtra region should be praised for nurturing it but with the rise of lion number comes the challenge of overcrowding for the majestic lions of Gir
The number of lions went up from 411 in 2010 to 523. However, now a tough conservation challenge lies ahead.
According to the 2015 census, only 4.4 per cent rise in the lion population is seen in the sanctuary and protected forest areas. However, there has been a rise of 130 per cent in areas where humans live with increasing commercial activities.
Ravi Chellam, a renowned wildlife expert says "It is to the credit of the local population that the lions have survived, flourished and grown, but the fact that the growth is happening outside the protected area in what are essentially human-dominated landscapes cannot remain a happy situation forever."
He says that the judgement of the Supreme Court regarding the trans-location of lions is valid and should be implemented.
As many as 14 lions have been killed during the last year alone. The cause is accidents, including 10 rail mishaps. This is because of the dispersal of the lions in search of water and prey.
The carrying capacity of the protected area is only 260 lions, informed the officials. Between the previous census in 2010 and now, as many as 258 lions have died of accidents and natural causes.
This means that the clash between the lions and human population and its economic activities cannot be avoided now.