AHMEDABAD: The Gir lions and the leopards have more animals to feast on. The recent herbivorous count revealed that the prey base for the big cats has increased. The herbivorous count in Gir, the prey base for the big cats in Gir forest, has increased by over 18.40% in the last three years.
Data revealed barring Langur and peafowl, the density was 76.48 animals per sq km, while the same in 2010 was 66.86 animal per sq km. Officials said a two-day census was conducted on May 7 and May 8 this year. The count was organized as per set parameters, method and routes to cover all possible habitat and management units of Gir. Census was conducted and sample data were obtained from all the 19 routes.
Officials said that in 1974 census has shown the herbivorous count was less than 10,000. This has increased constantly ever since then. The biomass density in Gir was around 8000 kilogram per sq km. This was the best in any of the protected sanctuary within the country. "The biomass density was around 10,000 per sq km in Serengeti in Africa, we are fast catching with Serengeti," said a senior officer. He said that around 85 per cent of the lion kill is herbivorous animal, while 15 per cent depends on live stock this was the reverse in the late 1970 and 1980's. "Between 1970 and 1980, the 85 per cent of the kill was live stock," said the officer.
G A Patel former Principal chief conservator of forest said that the density of 76 animal is very good. "One pride of lion has his territory spread in an area of 40 sq km. Going by the figures there are over 3040 animals in one territory which is a good number," Patel said. He said that with the lion population increasing the herbivorous is also increasing which is a good sign.