Gir National Park

Gujarat

The Gir forest is the largest compact tract of dry deciduous forests in the semi-arid western part of India, and is the last abode of the big and regal predator, Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), an endangered animal species. The sanctuary is internationally acclaimed for successfully saving this precious species from the brink of extinction. It was declared as a sanctuary in 1965.


People mostly link Gir with "Maldharis" who have survived through the ages by having symbiotic relationship with the lion. They are religious pastoral communities living in Gir. Their settlements are called “nesses". Unlike the other big cats, lion is tolerant of the presence of human being and it even lives near the human settlements. During the last century in British rule, lion population touched an all time low of 20 in 1913. The serious conservation efforts by the then Nawab of Junagadh saved the species from the brink of extinction. The subsequent efforts by the Forest Department has successfully brought the population to the present respectable status of 523 numbers of this majestic animal.

 

Wildlife and Birdlife

Leopards are the second largest predator here, second only to the Asiatic lion, and the park is one of the best places to see them. Other carnivores include jungle & rusty spotted cat, golden jackal, striped hyena, besides common and ruddy mongoose. The herbivores include sambar, chital, nilgai, chowsingha, chinkara and wild boar. The Kamleshwar dam in the middle of the sanctuary is home to a record number of marsh crocodiles.


Some of the more interesting birds found here are the Indian jungle nightjar, mottled wood owl, rock bush quail, sirkeer malkoha, white-bellied minivet, painted sandgrouse, black ibis, rufous-fronted prinia, tickell’s blue and the gorgeous Asian paradise flycatcher, which is a summer visitor. Raptors commonly seen here are the crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, shikra, oriental honey buzzard and the critically endangered white-rumped and long-billed vulture.

 

Quick Facts

 

State

Gujarat

Area

1412 sq. km

Core Area

260 sq. km

Altitude

150 to 530 meter above sea level

Location

Near Junagarh district

Temperature Range

40°C to 6°C

Annual Rainfall

1016 mm

Best time to Visit

November to February

Vegetation

Tropical dry deciduous, thorn scrublands, semi-evergreen riverine flora

Water Resource

Seven rivers, marshes, lakes and Kamleshwar dam in the middle of the sanctuary

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