Since 2016, August 10 is celebrated across the globe as “World Lion Day.” In line with the same, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel virtually graced an occasion in Gandhinagar to raise public awareness and pledge commitment to lion conservation and breeding. Officers from Gandhinagar, minister Jagdish Vishwakarma, Forest minister Kirit Singh Rana, Forest Chief UD Singh and senior chief Forest Conservator (wildlife) Srivastava were also present on the occasion.
The programme highlighted how Gir National Park in Gujarat is the lone abode of Asiatic lions in the wild. A combined effort of local communities and the forest department has helped in raising the population of the majestic cat to 674. In 1913, their numbers had dropped to a mere 20. This is a roaring success for conservationists and wildlife activists as the numbers have risen from 523 — an increase rate of 28.87 per cent, the highest so far.
On the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also applauded the efforts. Watch here:
Significantly, Gujarat will soon host the 36th National Games ( Sept 27 to Oct 10). The mascot for the event is a Gir lion.
It is not known to many but foundation of the Gir National Park of Gujarat, which is today considered the standard bearer for conservation of Asiatic Lions, was laid by the Nawabs of the erstwhile princely state of Junagadh. Historians report that Junagadh was among the earliest in India to make laws for the conservation and protection of the Asiatic lion.
The chief minster was also briefed on veterinary doctors, cutting-edge medical equipment for treatment, apparatus for rescue operations, trucks, and ambulances for lions equipped with the most recent medical technology for the swift treatment of lions in these rescue facilities.
A state-of-the-art lion hospital has been constructed in Sasan. For continuous lion monitoring, a Gir Hi-Tech Monitoring Unit has been put in place. In order to preserve the genetic makeup, gene pools have been built in Rampara, Saurashtra, Sakkar Bagh and Sat Virda.
In Saurashtra, a total of 15 lakh participations was registered from students across 6,800 schools, forest enthusiasts, trailblazers and wildlife lovers.