“This is Gujarat’s gift to the globe as we celebrate our golden jubilee,” Modi said.
Announcing the results of the Asiatic lion census 2010 carried out in the sprawling expanse of the greater Gir, the chief minister said benchmarked against the 1979 population of 205, the number today stands more than doubled.
In the 2005 census, their number was 358.
“Of the total 411 lions, 77 were cubs less than one year old and another 75 were in the one to three year age-group. Thus, almost 40 per cent of the lion population comprises the young - as does India’s, which bodes well for the future,” he added.
Modi pointed out that India and many other countries of the world are worried about the gender imbalances creeping into its demographic profile.
“Not so in the case of the Asiatic lion. Their latest population profile shows 97 males against 162 females, making for a ratio of 1:1.67,” he said.
“The immediate result of the rise in female population is that the incidents of male lions devouring cubs have decreased with the females bunching together to ward off such attempts,” he added.
The chief minister said the Rs.40-crore special package for the Sasan Gir lion sanctuary and its environs announced by the state government had reaped rich dividends following enhanced communication facilities and a crash programme to cover open wells.
“We would lose ten cubs on an average every year due to these open wells. This last year the loss was only one,” he said, adding that the sanctuary was today one of the best protected in the country.