Saturday, 30 August 2014

Gir National Park: An ideal home for Asiatic Lions

Gir National Park
Gir National Park, located in the Indian state, Gujarat, is an important wildlife sanctuary of Asia owing to the number of endangered species that it supports. The species of Asiatic Lion India managed to rescue from extinction have flourished in this national park. In recent times, it is the only natural abode of Asiatic lions on the planet. Owing to the efforts of wildlife activists, forest department and NGOs, the population of this animal species has seen a steady increase over the years. It is one of the big cats found in India; others being the Indian Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Bengal Tiger and Snow Leopard.

Gir National Park Asiatic lion
Johann N. Meyer, an Austrian zoologist, had first described the Asiatic lion under the zoological name, 'Felis leo persicus'. As compared to the African lion, it has a lesser developed mane and larger tail tuft. Since it formerly occurred in Persia, it is also known as the 'Persian Lion'. The advent of firearms was largely responsible for the extinction of Asiatic lions in regions like Palestine, Baluchistan, Mesopotamia, Iran and Turkey. As they are well-preserved in Gir, the national park has become a favourite destination of many wildlife lovers who desire to catch a glimpse of this animal. An accommodation in Gir gives them the opportunity to explore different species of flora and fauna in the wildlife sanctuary.

This national park is open to visitors from the month of November to May. It remains closed during the rainy season which falls between the months of June and October. Winter season from December to March is the best time to visit Gir for tourists, as the climate is pleasant around this time of the year and there are greater chances of spotting lions and other wild animals. They can also learn more about the wildlife of this region at the Interpretation Zone in Gir.