Asiatic Lion – A Success Story
Conservation of Asiatic lion Panthera leo persica illustrates a global success story and showcases commitment and efficacy of India’s conservation governance in protecting an endangered large carnivore (Divyabhanusinh 2005; Singh & Gibson 2011). Asiatic lions that once ranged from Persia to Palamau in eastern India were almost driven to extinction by indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss (Joslin 1973). A single population of less than 50 lions persisted in the Gir forests of Gujarat by late 1890's (Divyabhanusinh 2005). With timely and stringent protection offered by the Nawabs of Junagadh and subsequently by Gujarat State Forest Department (GFD), Gir lions have increased to the current population of over 500 (523 to be exact) with an annual growth rate of about 2% during past six decades.
Lions were restricted to the Protected Area (PA) of Gir (1,800 km2) till the late 1980's, but have since dispersed to occupy over 20,000 km2 of human-dominated agro-pastoral landscapes of Saurashtra peninsula.
Know more about Asiatic Lions:
The Official website of the Gujarat State Lion Conservation Society (http://gujaratlion.com/)