Today as the world celebrates World Lion Day, Gujarat has aced the efforts towards Asiatic Lion Conservation and the lion headcount has shot up by 29% in the last 5 years with the latest lion census figures standing at 674 lions inhabiting the grasslands of Gir.
Lions seem to have been trending on Twitter since morning, with PM Narendra Modi, CM Vijay Rupani along with Parliamentarian Parimal Nathwani and other prominent personalities taking to Twitter to share their love and pride for the animal and also to applaud the efforts of the State Forest Department. To boost the conservation efforts, PM Modi had launched the Project Lion and keeping in tune with the PM, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani too spruced up the conservation efforts by setting up state-of-the-art Lion Hospital and Lion Ambulance for the forest department. To conserve and maintain the indigenous genetic traits of these Asiatic lions, 3 gene pool labs have been set up at Saurashtra and in the upcoming days, a disease diagnostic research laboratory with a state-of-the-art hospital will come up at Sasan Gir.
Attending via Video Conference, the celebrations of World Lion Day by the State Forest Department, CM Vijay Rupani congratulated the department on their conservation efforts and called out to fellow citizens to participate in this conservation program by spreading awareness and respecting the wildlife and building a sustainable future for them.
He pressed upon the fact that Gujarat is fortunate to be the only abode of these Asiatic Lions and the emotional bonding of these big cats with the natives and locals of Saurashtra Gir has only boosted the conservation and promotion program of Lions, taking their population count to 674 from 529 in the year 2015.
CM Vijay Rupani also opined that this rise in population count of lions is a testimony to the fact that we have adapted to the wildlife around us and conserving and protecting them is now part of our lifestyle. He stressed upon the fact of celebrating World Lion Day in a way that would benefit and befit the ongoing conservation and protection program of lions and the wildlife.
Reinforcing our bonds with these wildlife species, CM recalled the Vishnu reincarnation of Narsimha and also mentioned how we worship the “Shakti ” who rides the Lion. The Indian National Emblem too has the Lions Facing the four directions, the CM recalled in his address on the World Lion Day.
CM also informed the audience about the areas which now have become a familiar territory for the lion, viz. Chotila, Sayla, Amreli and Bhavnagar and shared that now a total of 30 thousand square kilometers of area is inhabited by the Lion King.
Ambardi in Amreli and Indrashwar at Junagadh are being developed as Lion Safari apart from the existing Sanctuary at Sasan Gir, added the CM.
Sharing details about how the conservation program has received newer help, CM Vijay Rupani informed about Lion hospital, Lion Ambulance, Rescue and Rapid Action Team, Trackers and Forest Friends are some of the latest additions to the State Forest Department which will give them a shot in the arm for their lion conservation project.
Ensuring indigenous gene pool, 3 gene pools for Lion Breeding have been established at Junagadh’s Sakkarbaug Zoo, Satvirda and Rampara.
CM expressed his gratitude for the Pride of Gujarat – Lions and the Sasan Gir Lion Sanctuary who have boosted the tourism sector in Gujarat and brought livelihood for the locals.
He proudly shared that in the year 2019, 5 thousand schools and more than 11 Lakh people joined hands on World Lion Day to celebrate the occasion and carve their names in the World Record Books and also highlighted the importance of the King of the Jungle!
The forest minister was quick to add about CM’s compassion towards these lions where the CM had ordered vaccines for these lions from America to help them with a protection cover.