The Gujarat State Forest Department is getting ready to conduct a lion census from April 24 in the famous Gir Sanctuary in Junagadh district.
Nearly 1,500 officials would be deployed in the census, conducted every five years for a head count of Asiatic lions at Gir, sources from the Department said.
The officials have been given special training for the job, sources said, adding the Department will have photographed every lion to make sure they have a perfect head count.
A primary head count will be conducted on the first two days and a final count over the next two days. GIS (geographical information system) will be used this time in the census.
National Park District Forest Officer (DFO) Sandip Kumar said nearly 1,500 officials will be on the job, including 900 assistants, 100 sub-zonal officials, 28 zonal officials and several region officers and observers. The final report would be submitted to the chief minister who will then disclose the exact number of lions in the Gir sanctuary, sources said.
In the last census, 359 lions were reported. Many lions fell prey to poachers or fell to their death into open wells in subsequent years. However, the Department expects a rise in numbers this time around.