Gir is the only home in India of the Lion of which there are nearly 300 in the park. The Gir national park lies in the Gujarat peninsula in SW India. The terrain is rugged with low hills and the vegetation is mixed deciduous, with stands of Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak trees, interespersed with large patches of grasslands. On the hills of the trees are sparse and stunted.
Within the sanctuary, there are numerous human settlements of cattle herders called Maldharis with an estimated 20,000 head of livestock (which, incidentally, forms a significant part of the Lion?s diet). There are also places of Hindu worship and pilgrimage and sulphur springs at Tulsi Shyam and Kankai Mata. At the edge of the park there are good populations of Indian Gazelle, protected by the religious sentiment of the local people.
Birds in the park include the Paradise Flycatcher, Bonelli?s Eagle and Painted Sandgrouse. Three unusual reserves, the Nalsarover Lake and Sanctuary, where large numbers of water-birds can be seen; the bare saline flats of the Rann of Kutch, incredibly the home of the Indian wild ass and the spectacular Flamingo island where nesting colonies of flamingoes are to be seen, make Gujarat an exciting place for wildlife enthusiasts.
The Lion King
Gir Sanctuary is the last and only home of the critically endangered Asiatic Lion. These lions are a smaller more compact version of their African version, and are best viewed at dawn or dusk when they are on the move. The major difference between the two is that the African Lion appears larger than the Indian Lion because of its large and luxuriant mane.
Leopard is considered to be one of the most beautiful and graceful animals in the jungle, also the most dangerous one. Popularly known as the Prince of Cats, this animal is the most adaptable from the family of predators, one the reason why it occupies a much larger spread of Gujarat forest cover, and in Gir National Park it has been found in all the varied habitats and vegetation types. The approximate population of 210 Leopards resides within the sanctuary area