Sunday, September 16, 2012
The last post at Gir
If you want to see an Indian lion born free, and living free, you have to visit Gir, in Gujarat, and keep your fingers crossed
Hugh & Colleen Gantzer
Taking care of the lion has a ripple-down effect. Smaller animals too thrive
More than 412 Asiatic lions roam free in the 1,412 sq km of protected wilderness at the Gir National Park
Deer sense the arrival of a lion much before it actually appears
Sidhi descendants of African immigrants share the wealth of wildlife in Gir
The Core Issue
The Government of Gujarat and its Forest Department have, very clearly, struck an exemplary balance between the rights of humans and wildlife in the use of forest resources. Not only do the Maldhari herdsmen and the Sidhi descendants of African immigrants share the wealth of the Gir National Park with its wildlife, but pilgrims, too, have access to the temples of Kamleshwar, Kankai, Banej and Tulsishyam during the festive seasons of these shrines. All this has had no adverse effect on the lions. Th Forest Department of Gujarat has not gone into an overdrive banning visitors from the National Park. It seems to have realised that no Forest Department will ever have enough funds to patrol its domains adequately. Some states have used tourists as a force-multiplier. Controlled entry of visitors deters poachers whose illegal activities are spotted by alert tourists. Forests belong to the people of India. So does its wildlife. Forest Depts do not own the forests and wildlife; they help to conserve them. It is a participatory effort between people and forest office
Getting There: Nearest Airport from Delhi: Ahmedabad
Railway Station: Sasan Gir or Junagad - 58 kms.
Road: Ahmedabad - 385 kms ; Junagad - 58 kms.
Accommodation: Sinh Sadan, Sasan Gir (Most convenient - run by Forest Dept.)
Tel: (02877) 285540;
FAX: (02877) 285508
Some other accommodation in surrounding area
Park opens in October after the monsoons.