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Is Gir Forest Only Abode For Asiatic Lion? – Free PDF Download


No abode for Asiatic lion outside Gujarat?

  • It seems the Asiatic Lions will not have a second abode outside Gujarat.
  • The Asiatic Lion once roamed the forests of north, central and eastern India.
  • But since the early 20th century, its range has shrunk to the Gir forest. Protected area status for the forest since the 1960s resulted in reviving the species from the brink of extinction.


  • The Supreme Court in 2013 had directed the Centre to shift Asiatic lions, found only in the state’s Gir forests, to a suitable place in any other state to avoid mass extinction due to an epidemic, the Centre is working to move the big cats to newly identified sites within the state only.
  • The reason, apparently, is Gujarat’s reluctance to share the animal with other states.
  • According to the 2020 Census, the lion population there had registered an increase of 25% in the last five years and now stood at 674.
  • However, this was also a cause of concern for the authorities in view of the growing challenges of habitat protection.

Lion’s death still a concern

  • In a short span of two years, 313 Asiatic Lions perished in the forests of Gujarat, of which 7.34 per cent died due to unnatural causes, the state government informed the state legislature on, March 5, 2021.
  • Of the total number of Asiatic lions that perished between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020, a majority 152 were cubs, 90 were lionesses and the remaining 71 were male lions

Major Reason

  • One of the reasons for the death of lions is that dead cattle is brought inside the Gir sanctuary as feed. The lions eat this rotten flesh and die and their deaths are considered natural.
  • Canine distemper virus
  • Babesiosis Protozona infection
  • The entire lion population was wiped off in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, in 1994 due to canine distemper virus.
  • In 2018, an entire pride of 26 lions in Gujarat’s Gir was wiped out within a month due to same virus.
    • CDV is highly contagious disease that attacks gastrointestinal, respiratory, central nervous systems, immune system and other vital orgasn in animals.
    • It is considered dangerous virus and is blamed for wiping out 30% population of African lions in East African forests.
  • 17 Death was recorded of Gir Lions by Babesiosis Protozona Infection, which is spread by ticks.

Translocation of Asiatic Lions

  • In August 2020, the Centre launched a lion conservation programme along the lines of Project Tiger.
  • Two months into its operation, the project identified six sites — two in Madhya Pradesh, three in Rajasthan and one in Gujarat — to relocate substantial numbers of Asiatic Lions from their current habitat in Gujarat’s Gir National Park.
  • These protected areas were in addition to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in MP which was earmarked as an alternative home for the animals in 1995.
  • But the government’s 25-year roadmap for Project Lion makes no mention of relocation. As reported by this paper, the plan to be launched on August 10 only focuses on “assisted natural dispersal” of the animal across Saurashtra and “potentially” to Rajasthan by 2047.

Still no Translocation… why?

  • A ministry official said Gujarat has clarified it’s not willing to move the big cats to any other state, “lions being the pride of the state”.
  • “That’s why the committee looked into alternate sites within the state,” he added.
  • A ministry official said Gujarat has clarified it’s not willing to move the big cats to any other state, “lions being the pride of the state”.
  • “That’s why the committee looked into alternate sites within the state,” he added.

  • A committee was constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with a view to assess the suitability of habitat for lions in potential sites in Gujarat and make recommendations regarding facilitation of natural dispersal of lions and the modalities for establishment of lion population in newly identified sites in the state of Gujarat.
  • The committee has recommended a participatory management approach for expanding lion population, greater involvement of communities and awareness and sensitization programmes, especially in newly occupied territories.
  • The ministry is providing financial assistance to the state of Gujarat for lion conservation activities, including habitat improvement, water management, grassland development and prey augmentation.

Asiatic lion

  • some facts

Protection Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule I

Gestation Period

  • The gestation period last for between 100 – 119 days after which 1 – 6 cubs are born.
  • Intervals between births can be 18 – 26 months.

Male vs Female

  • Male lionsThe male lions have dignified manes; long thick hair around their head, neck, and shoulder, making them appear larger and more intimidating. Unlike the female cubs, the male cubs are responsible for their own living post maturity.
  • Female lions- The female lions are smaller and faster. The female lions and their sisters live together. Even the female cubs are joined in the pride.

Lion Census

  • The first Lion Census was conducted by the Nawab of Junagadh in 1936;since 1965, the Forest Department has been regularly conducting the Lion Census every five years.
  • Last year in June, India witnessed one of the highest growth rates of 28.87 per cent in the population of Asiatic Lions taking their number from 523 to 674 in five years from the last population estimation done in 2015.


Which is the family of lion?

a) Chicldae
b) Canidae
c) Felidae
d) Mustelidae




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