Lions are known as the "king of beasts" or king of the jungle". They are the second largest cats in the world after tigers.
In 2020, the population of Asiatic lions has increased by almost 29% in Gujarat's Gir forests.
Geographically, the distribution area of the lions also increased by 36%.
About Asiatic lions
They belong to the category of Pantherine cats.
The Asiatic Lions in Gujarat is restricted to Gir National Park in the state.
It is listed as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List.
It is listed in Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
In the initial stage, the lions were spread from the east of the Indus River to West Bengal and also to Narmada River in Central India.
Until the 19th century, it occurred in Saudi Arabia,, eastern Turkey, Iran, Mesopotamia.
Since the turn of the 20th century, it is restricted to the Gir Forest National Park and surrounding areas.
The lion is one of five pantherine catsinhabiting India, along with the Bengal tiger (P. tigris tigris), Indian leopard (P. pardus fusca), snow leopard (P. uncia) and clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa).
It was also known as the "Indian lion" and the "Persian lion".
Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
It is also known as Sasan Gir, a forest and wildlife sanctuarynear Talala Gir in Gujarat, India.
It is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forestsecoregion.
The seven major perennialrivers of the Gir region are Hiran, Shetrunji, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Godavari and Raval.
The four reservoirs of the area are at four dams, one each on Hiran, Machhundri, Raval and Shingoda rivers, including the biggest reservoir in the area, the Kamleshwar Dam, dubbed 'the lifeline of Gir'.
Asiatic Lion Conservation Project
It has been launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with an aim to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.
The project activities is envisaged in a manner to cause habitat improvement, scientific interventions, disease control and veterinary care supplemented with adequate eco development works for the fringe population in order to ensure a stable and viable Lion population in the Country.
It is a 3 year-long conservation project launched in 2018