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Roaring success: Lion numbers leap in Gujarat

TNN, May 3, 2010

GANDHINAGAR: Increased numbers, improved sex ratio and more areas conquered — the lion king is healthy and prospering in Gujarat. Chief Minister Narendra Modi declared the lion census figures of 2010 on Sunday which showed that there were 411 of the big cats in Gir sanctuary and surrounding areas. This was a jump of 52 over the previous census in 2005.

In fact, the lion is reclaiming territory much further away from the Gir sanctuary than originally thought. As many as 33 big cats were counted 250 km from Gir National Park in semi-forest areas of Mahuva and Palitana in Bhavnagar.

No less than 74 lions are now roaming outside the sanctuary near human habitation. These are fast turning into the new habitats of the big cat. Coastal areas of Rajula and Jafrabad in Amreli have also recorded sizeable population.

Wildlife experts are excited about a number of findings. For instance, there are 97 males and 162 females. The rest are cubs. Youth power seems to be on the rise as there were 77 lions aged less than one year. Another 75 of them are categorised as sub-adult cubs — in the age group of 1-3 years.

Modi said the maximum number of lions - 297 - were found in Gir National Park and adjoining areas.

The sex ratio too has improved. While there were 1.2 females for every male in 2005, the 2010 census put the number at 1.67 females for every male.

Taking a dig at the skewed sex ratio in several parts of the country, including Gujarat, Modi said humans should take a lesson or two from the lions.Among their new dens, the lions have shown a special liking for Girnar sanctuary. Established in 2007, the new abode has 24 lions. In the 2005 census Girnar was not a sanctuary.


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