(Last Updated on : 08/08/2016)
Gir National Park is one of the biggest national parks in India. It was established in early 1965. It is also known as Sasan Gir and Girvan Forest as there is the highest population of Lions present. The total area of Gir Forest acquires 1411 sq km. Among this the 260 sq km is fully protected which is for National Park and the rest which is 1151 sq km is for the sanctuary. The Gir National Forest is situated 64.7 km to the south east of Junagadh.
Lions are being preserved with great care and attention. The indiscriminate hunting of this royal specie brought about a drastic fall in the numbers of lions in the whole of India. The story of the Gir National Park has a rich heritage. It was upgraded to a national park in the year 1975. After a famine in 1913, the lion population reportedly dwindled to 20. Gir National Park has a number of lions; almost three hundred lions roam about in flocks.
Flora and Fauna of Gir Forest
Lots of things attract the tourists from everywhere. Lions, the star attraction of Gir, are accustomed to human beings and their vehicles, making close encounters possible. Leopards tend to be unseen though they are seen seldom hunting during the day.
Jeep safaris to the Kankai and Kamleshwar reservoirs in the Chodavdi and Baval sectors of the park are the best way to observe deer, Nilgai
(Blue Bull) and Wild Boar
. Gir is the home of more than thirty-six species of mammals. Leopard, Jungle Cat, Rusty-spotted Cat, Striped Hyena
, Jackal, Indian Pangolin
, Ratel, Spotted Deer (Chital), Sambar, Barking Deer
, Blackbuck, Chowsingha (Four-homed Antelope), Chinkara
(Indian Gazelle), Wild Boar, Common Langur
are note worthy.
Flora of Gir National park is ennobled by the wide variety of 450 types of plants. There are about thirty reptiles, widely prevalent in the muddy banks of rivers and water bodies. Amongst them, the most important is the Mugger, better known as Marsh Crocodile.
The lush topography of Gir National park makes it a region full with the tweeting of birds. Near about 300 species can be found, mostly found in woodland, scrubland and wetland areas. Near woodlands, Indian Peafowl
, Grey Francolin, Painted Francolin, Rock Bush Quail, Black-rumped Flameback, Great Hornbill
, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Indian Roller, Plum-headed Parakeet, Sirkeer Malkoha, Pied Cuckoo, Asian Paradise-flycatcher, Indian Pitta, Rufous Treepie, Large Cuckoo, Jungle Myna are prevalent.
Among various hunting birds, Crested Serpent Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Shikra, Bonelli'i Eagle, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Eurasian Eagle Owl are no less significant.
One cannot remain from being enchanted by the melodious tunes of sweet birds like Glossy Ibis, Darter, Painted Stork, Demoiselle Crane, Greylag Goose, Ruddy Sheiduck, Spotbill Duck, Pied Kingfisher and White-browed Wagtail.