Based on the most recent population estimates of Asiatic Lions, Gir National Park & Sanctuary has 13.38 lions per 100 sq km, whereas its wild prey base has 11,023 individuals, stated Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Environment. This information was stated In response to MP Parimal Nathwani’s questions in Rajya Sabha on March 31, 2022.
Several studies have been conducted on the availability of food for Gir Lions in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, according to Choubey:- i. Ungulate diversities and biomass in the tropical dry deciduous forest of Gir, Gujarat, India by Jamal A. Khan and Ravi Chellam (1987-1989) and ii. Impact of management practices on lion and ungulate habitats in Gir PA by Diwakar Sharma (1991-1994). The Gujarat Forest Department also carries out prey base estimation exercises every year to monitor the prey base population in Gir. Details of the estimation exercise are as under:
Nathwani had questioned whether any study had been conducted on the availability of food for Gir lions in Gir National Park and Sanctuary, the actions being taken to increase the prey base of the lions so that they do not kill domestic animals in search of food, and the cost per 100 square feet. km carrying capacity of lions in Gir vis-à-vis availability of prey-base.
According to Choubey’s statement, a variety of habitat improvement techniques are employed in Gir National Park and Sanctuary to increase the prey-base population, such as grassland development, thinning, pruning, and pollarding of browseable plants.
As per the last official population estimation of Asiatic lions, the density of lions in Gir National Park and Sanctuary is 13.38 individuals per 100 sq. km. The wild prey base estimation includes spotted deer, sambar, blue bull, Indian gazelle, four-horned antelope, Hanuman langur, wild pig, blackbuck and Indian peafowl, the statement mentioned.
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