Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gir's lion numbers rise, may touch 500.

The first round of Asiatic lion census in Gujarat's Gir forest ended on Tuesday and it showed that population of big cats has jumped, touching around 500.

This is an increase of 15-22% in the last five years. The officials involved in the census said that the number of sightings of the lions was very encouraging, adding that their population outside the Gir sanctuary had risen substantially.
According to forest department officials, it was encouraging to see the increase in the number of cubs in the age group of 0-3. They were sighted in good numbers and this was a sign of healthy conservation. The officials said that in the sanctuary area, including the core area of Gir National Park, the count remained constant.
"This was because the sanctuary was saturated and had more lions than its carrying capacity. According to a study, the carrying capacity of sanctuary and the national park was around 250 lions and cubs but around 290 lions were estimated to be there in Junagadh and Sasan Gir Sanctuary," said an official.
Sources claimed that big cats were sighted more in the area of Amreli, Bhavnagar and even coastal areas and it is expected that their population would be higher in these areas.

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