29% rise in Asiatic lion numbers, says Gujarat

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News: According to the Gujarat forest department, the Asiatic Lion population in Gir national park has increased by 29% in the past five years — from 523 in 2015 to 674 in 2020.

Facts:

  • Characteristics: Asiatic lions are slightly smaller than African lions.The most striking morphological character is a longitudinal fold of skin running along the belly of Asiatic Lions.
  • Habitat: At present Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the only abode of the Asiatic lion.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule-I
  • Threats: a) Poaching and Habitat Fragmentation b) vulnerability to diseases c) death from linear infrastructure such as road, rail and electric fences and d) man-animal conflict.
  • Initiatives: Asiatic lion conservation project was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to protect and conserve the Asiatic Lion.It is a 3 year-long conservation project.It focuses on disease management, habitat improvement, creating a wildlife crime cell among others.

Additional Facts:

  • Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary: The Gir National park was established in 1965.It is situated in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat.It is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests Ecoregion.