Gir National Park

Junagadh, Somnath and Amreli, Gujarat

#Adventure/Trekking #Forest #Nature and Scenic


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Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is the last abode to the surviving population of the Asiatic Lion in the wild. The park comprises 1412 sq. km of deciduous forest interspersed with semi-evergreen and evergreen flora, acacia, scrub jungle, grasslands and rocky hills. Fed by perennial and seasonal rivers and streams, the sanctuary has large water bodies like the Kamleshwar Dam that are good for marsh crocodiles, reptiles and birds.

The count of 2,375 distinct fauna species of Gir includes about 38 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and more than 2,000 species of insects.

The carnivores group mainly comprises the Asiatic lion, Indian leopard, Indian cobra, jungle cat, striped hyena, Golden jackal, Indian and Ruddy mongeese, and honey badger. Desert cats and rusty-spotted cats occur but are rarely seen.

The main herbivores of Gir are chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara and wild boar. Blackbucks from the surrounding area are sometimes seen in the sanctuary.

Among the smaller mammals, porcupine and hare are common, but the pangolin is rare. The reptiles are represented by the mugger crocodile, tortoise and monitor lizard which inhabit the sanctuary's bodies of water. Snakes are found in the bush and forest. Pythons are sighted at times along the stream banks. Gir has been used by the Gujarat State Forest Department which formed the Indian Crocodile Conservation Project in 1977 and released close to 1000 marsh crocodiles into Lake Kamaleshwar and other small bodies of water in and around Gir.

The plentiful avifauna population has more than 300 species of birds, most of which are resident. The scavenger group of birds has 6 recorded species of vultures. Some of the typical species of Gir include crested serpent eagle, endangered Bonelli's eagle, crested hawk-eagle, brown fish owl, Indian eagle-owl, rock bush-quail, Indian peafowl, brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, black-headed oriole, crested treeswift and Indian pitta.

Gir National Park and Sanctuary does not have a designated area for tourists. However, to reduce the tourism hazard to the wildlife and to promote nature education, an Interpretation Zone has been created at Devalia within the sanctuary. Within its chained fences, it covers all habitat types and wildlife of Gir with its feeding-cum-living cages for the carnivores and a double-gate entry system.

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