(From Deccan Herald)
Travelling to the Indian state of Gujarat to sight the Asiatic lions in their natural habitat, we arrived at the entrance of the the Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary located at Sasan village.
Our first safari began at 3 pm. The safari office allotted us an open jeep for a jungle trail of 40 km through tall grass, teak trees and a rocky terrain — a perfect camouflage for lions. Gir is the largest dry deciduous forest in Western India.
The Sanctuary was set up in 1965 and spans an area of 1,412.1 sq km. The core area of 259 sq km was declared a national park in 1975. The hunting expeditions of the British caused the count of lions in 1913 to plummet to 20. Thanks to the timely efforts of conservation initiated by the then Nawab of Junagadh, these beautiful creatures were saved from extinction. The 2015 lion census puts the count at 523. Read More