Roar of the Wild: Top National Parks in India for Lion Spotting
On the occasion of World Lion Day, celebrated on August 10 every year to celebrate the magnificent lions that capture our admiration with their strength and magnificence, India announced that there had been a consistent rise in the lion population in India over recent years. It was also reported that the efforts to cherish and safeguard these creatures would continue, ensuring their thriving existence for generations to come.
Lion Day serves the purpose of raising awareness about the magnificent and powerful hunter known as the lion, often revered as the ultimate feline ruler of the wilderness. Scientifically identified as Panthera leo, lions stand as the world’s second-largest cat species, with the distinction of being outweighed only by the Asian tiger, weighing in between 300 and 550 pounds.
The origin of World Lion Day can be traced back to its establishment by Big Cat Rescue, the preeminent accredited sanctuary committed to the well-being of large cats globally. On August 10th, people worldwide come together to pay homage to the majestic lion through diverse channels. Amid the celebratory atmosphere, the occasion holds a grave significance: the lion population has experienced a substantial decline, leading to their inclusion on the endangered species list, echoing the plight of their larger relative, the tiger.
In 2013, the visionary couple Dereck and Beverly Joubert, driven by their profound dedication to large felines, conceptualized World Lion Day. Their initiative unified National Geographic and the Big Cat Initiative, creating a cohesive effort to protect the surviving populations of big cats as they flourish within their native ecosystems.
Lion Population in India
The global population of wild lions has faced a substantial decrease, though this trend finds an exception in the African continent. Nonetheless, lions have discovered a natural haven in India, resulting in a consistent upsurge in their numbers within the country, particularly within the Gir Forest. This forest stands as the second-largest habitat for these magnificent beings beyond the borders of Africa. The populace of Asiatic lions has maintained a steady growth within Gujarat’s Gir forest and the broader Saurashtra protected area. Between 2015 and 2020, the lion count saw a rise from 523 to 674 individuals. Since 2016, the Forest Department of Gujarat has been actively commemorating World Lion Day.
Where to Spot Asiatic Lions in India
The Asiatic lions are mostly seen in Gujarat’s Gir National Park, but there have been efforts to reintroduce them in other sanctuaries across the country.
Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat: Spread over 1,412 square kilometers, the Gir Forest National Park is a haven for the critically endangered Asiatic lions. Located in the Junagadh district of Gujarat, this national park offers a unique opportunity to witness the raw beauty of these big cats in their natural habitat. The rugged landscape of dry deciduous forests and grasslands provides an ideal environment for both the lions and the diverse wildlife they share it with.
Visitors to the Gir Forest National Park have the chance to embark on a lion safari. Guided by experienced naturalists and forest officials, these safaris offer a safe yet thrilling encounter with the kings of the jungle. The park is home to various other species as well, such as leopards, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild boars, and a rich variety of birdlife.
Barda Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat: Continuing the Gujarat legacy, the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is another hotspot for encountering lions. This sanctuary boasts a mix of grasslands, dry deciduous forests, and scrublands, providing a rich habitat for these majestic creatures. Apart from lions, visitors may also glimpse hyenas, wild boars, and various species of deer.
Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan: Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in the Rajsamand District of Rajasthan, finds its home close to the renowned Kumbhalgarh Fort. Within this sanctuary, an ongoing project for the reintroduction of Asiatic lions is being carried out. While an array of diverse species inhabit this area, the true spotlight remains on the magnificent lions themselves.
Trending on TFN