English language news articles from year 2007 plus find out everything about Asiatic Lion and Gir Forest. Latest News, Useful Articles, Links, Photos, Video Clips and Gujarati News of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary (Geer / Gir Forest - Home of Critically Endangered Species Asiatic Lion; Gir Lion; Panthera Leo Persica ; Indian Lion (Local Name 'SAVAJ' / 'SINH' / 'VANRAJ') located in South-Western Gujarat, State of INDIA), Big Cats, Wildlife, Conservation and Environment.
Praveen Singh, the scriptwriter and director of India’s Wandering
Lions, on following the big cats in a human-dominated landscape.
When the sun goes down and the dust settles after a
bustling day in the forests of Gir, the Asiatic lions come out to hunt.
With the lioness at the forefront, they set out in prides of five to 10.
In the next few hours, the Gir National Park, the only place in the
world where Asiatic lions are found, throbs with a fierce energy that
very few forests can match. But what makes Gir special is that, in this
landscape, humans and lions co-exist. For over two-and-a-half years,
Praveen Singh and team followed the lions and lioness of Gir with their
camera to tell the story of how the animals survive in a human-dominated
area. The Discovery Channel airs their documentary India’s Wandering Lions on July 6.
people are happy that the lions are around,” says Praveen Singh, the
scriptwriter and director of the show, in a telephone interview. He
recalls how farmers he spoke to felt that their crops were protected
from animals such as deer if lions roamed their lands. “Close to a third
of the population is living in a human-dominated landscape,” he adds.
This situation has resulted in “casualties on both sides,” he admits.
“Lions as well as people have been injured.” There have been reports of
lions mauling people and lions falling prey to wells in the area.
there exists a certain tolerance in Gir that ensures a harmony. With
support from the Forest Department and NGOs, Praveen says that several
open wells have been covered up. It is this story that his documentary
tells — of the co-existence of man and one of the most magnificent
predators in the world.
He faced plenty of
challenges during the filming. Lions, being creatures of the night, he
had to follow them around in the dark to film them. He initially planned
to follow one particular animal or a pride, to tell their story. “But
lions move a lot, it’s difficult to follow one pride,” he says.
upon a time, the Asiatic lion roamed Central Asia and was found across
Northern India, all the way up to Bihar,” observes Praveen. But hunting
and cultivation of the plain savannahs, resulted in a massive depletion
in their population. He says that in the 1920s, their numbers were as
low as 20. But they gradually “bounced back”, as hunting was outlawed
and due to conservation efforts of the forest department, he adds. At
present, over 500 Asiatic Lions roam the forests of Gir and also spill
outside the sanctuary into villages in the area.
the wild, every moment is unpredictable. Praveen recalls how late one
night, his team travelled deep into the forest and set up their thermal
camera. But their subjects were nowhere in sight, and they decided to
call it a day and packed up. Suddenly, four lions crossed the highway
and strode majestically into the field nearby, right in front of their
eyes. “It was a beautiful sight,” says Praveen. “But we couldn’t capture
India’s Wandering Lions will be aired on the Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. on July 6.