Lions In Gir Region May Top 800 In 2025 Census, Believe Forest Officials - Vibes Of India

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Lions In Gir Region May Top 800 In 2025 Census, Believe Forest Officials

| Updated: May 5, 2024 14:01

With the Asiatic lion expanding its footprint in newer territories in Gujarat, their number in the 2025 census may top 800, forest officials believe.

The lions are adapting well to the newer ecosystems of Gujarat and finding ample food sources to sustain themselves. The forest department has created facilities for water in the areas, which are also holding them back.

The lions have made almost the entire Saurashtra region — except Morbi, Surendranagar and Dwarka districts — their home. Jamnagar and Barda are new homes for the lions away from the Gir National Park and Sanctuary. This is a positive sign for conservation efforts towards protecting the Asiatic lion population found only in the Gir forest and its surrounding areas.

The last census, conducted in 2020, recorded a total of 674 lions in an area spanning 30,000 sq km. This number is expected to have increased, and the next census in 2025 will provide a clear picture on population growth.

The Purnima Avlokan, i.e. full moon census undertaken last month, put the count of the feline in the region at over 700. Given the average annual rate of 5-6% growth in lion population, the number in 2025 census can cross well over 800, believe officials.

The department has also initiated Project Lion to manage the habitat, enhance the prey base and mitigate human-lion conflicts.

The recent International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report, which categorised the Asiatic lion as vulnerable, highlights a significant difference in the risk of decline faced by African and Indian lions. The likelihood of a 33% decline in the lion population in Africa is 19 times higher than in India, primarily due to rampant poaching.

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