Solitary home of Asiatic Lions, Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique place. The efforts of the Government, local villagers, many NGO's are wonderfully synced in conservation of this species. Reselience of the locals towards Lions is heart touching, perhaps that is why Lions visit these villages to say thank you in the night, and often pick on the cattle. But the locals say nothing. Nowhere else in the world would you see such compassion towards any animal species. With over 500 Lions, and 400 Leopards, perhaps the only park with specific count of how many males, females, and cubs. Gir has a rescue centre. The way they treat their animals is seen to be believed. One of the few parks where you will see women take a lead in patrolling and in the rescue centre. Gir also has over 300 species of birds, many types of reptiles, 38 species of mammals, and over 400 types of plants. This is one park where man-animal conflict is rarely heard. The mighty cat lives as friends with it's neighboring villages
Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is a 1412 sq km hilly tract of dry deciduous forests, acacia scrub, evergreen and semi-evergreen flora and grasslands, fed by rivers and streams. Among the many water-bodies in the reserve is the Kamleshwar Dam, known for its large crocodile population.
Originally protected by the Nawab of Junagadh, after British viceroys brought to his attention the plight of the lion in Asia, the sanctuary is the jewel of Gujarat's ecological resources.
Teak, dudhlo, khair, ber, desi baval, dhav, hermo, sadad, timru, ashitro, saledi, modad, khakhro etc.
The Gir forests support a rich biodiversity comprising 32 species of mammals, 300 species of birds and 26 species of reptiles and thousands of species of insects.
Important animals : Lion, leopard, hyena, chital, sambar, bulbul, chaushinga, chinkara, wild boar, crocodile, langur, porcupine, ratel, jackal, fox, mongoose, civets etc.
Important birds : Malabar whistling thrush, orange headed ground thrush, paradise flycatcher, black naped fly catcher, Indian pitta, tawny eagle, Bonelli’s eagle, crested serpent eagle, king vulture, crested hawk eagle, painted storks, pelicans, peafowl etc.
The Asiatic lion, the most majestic big cat, is a unique gift of nature. It is an extremely intelligent animal with remarkable social habits and hunting techniques.
The prominent belly fold, smaller mane, lesser body size and the weight differentiate it from its African counterpart. Lions live and hunt in groups called "pride", which generally consists of adult females, their cubs plus a few males.
The Gir national park is a heaven to about 300 Asiatic lions. The Lion, Panther Leo, inhabits the forest of Gir in the Saurashtra peninsula, attracting sixty thousand visitors to this sanctuary of Gujarat every year. Gir today is the only place in the world, outside Africa, where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat. The Asiatic lion is slightly smaller than its African cousin; nevertheless, a large male lion of the Gir is quite a sight to behold. The best way to observe the big cats is, of course, in their natural surroundings, at dawn and dusk, when they are on the prowl. Wildlife viewing in the Girs is best done, by driving around the forest.
Gir offers a large number of activities and attractions within the premises of the reserve.
» The Asiatic Lion
Sasangir is the only place in the world outside the African continent where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat. It alone draws hordes of visitors to the park each year. Much of the Asiatic Lion’s time is spent snoozing where the shade is deepest, while the lionesses do the stalking, hunting and cub raising. But, when a kill is made, he is the first to come and claim his share.
The best time to observe lions in their natural surroundings is at dawn and dusk, when they are on the prowl. Though the Asiatic lion is an elusive creature, a morning safari awards a good chance of seeing it, in contrast to a hot afternoon safari.
» Jeep Safari
Jeep Safaris are very popular with tourists who are enchanted with the idea of a ride in the wilds! However one needs a permit, which is issued on the spot at the Sinh Sadan Forest Lodge office before setting off on the jungle trail.
» Other Animals
The Gir forest is also home to a large number of other fascinating species like the leopard, chital, chinkara (gazelle), wild boar, wild ass, nilgai, spotted deer, and four-horned antelope. It is also a good place to watch monkeys, parrots, and India’s national bird, the peacock. A crocodile-rearing and research centre also flourishes adjacent to Sinh Sadan Lodge, where hatchlings are reared and then released into their natural habitat.
» Other Attractions
Gir forest area also includes the Nalsarovar Lake and Sanctuary, where birds like paradise flycatcher, back-headed cuckoo, pied woodpecker, various species of eagles, painted sand grouse, bush quail, flamingo, partridge, parrot, and peacock may be seen. The park also has a small temple dedicated to Lord Krishna near the Tulsi Shyam springs.