150 new water points set up for Asiatic lions in Gir forest
In a bid to provide succour from the sweltering heat to the growing population of Asiatic lions, the forest department has set up 150 new artificial water points in Gir national park for the convenience of felines to quench their thirst.
Deputy Conservator, Gir National Park, said 150 new water points have been constructed in the last two years, apart from the 400 already existing water points across the wildlife sanctuary covering eight districts of Gujarat.
According to the latest announced early this month, the number of Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary, the only abode of these big cats, has increased from 411 in 2010 to 523 this year.
"These artificially created water points are being filled up at regular intervals. We are doing it manually, through tractor-driven water tankers, solar pump sets and wind mills," Kumar told PTI.
Earlier, there were nearly 400 artificial water points which have now been increased keeping in view the rising number of lions.
The water points are being filled from last couple of days after mercury soared to 44 degree Celsius across the Suarashtra region.
Since the seven rivers - Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Ghodavadi and Raval - which pass across the Saurashtra region tend to parch during summers, additional arrangements are ought to be put in place, he said.
As per the latest census, there are 109 male, 201 female and 213 sub-adult Asiatic lions (cubs below age of three years) in the sanctuary.
Apart from Asiatic lions, the Gir forest also has a considerable population of leopards, spotted deers, sambar, Neelgai, chinkaras, antelopes and over thousand species of birds.