Gir Lion Safari

Sasan Gir National Park, also known as the 'Lion's Den' or simply Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, is located in the Sasangir city of Gujarat state in India. This is a new level of observing forest wildlife where you get a chance to come close enough with the enticing flora and fauna that are in abundance here. The park area covers around 1,412 sq kms along with the Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary that is home to many endangered species of wildlife.

Most of the excitement lies in watching the conserved population of the Asiatic Lions that are preserved here since their mass killing that was enjoyed as trophies by many royal hunters during the days of kingdoms. In old times, the then Nawab of Gujarat invited Lord Curzon for hunting lions for pride but after learning the fact that the majestic animals are on a brink of extinction, he persuaded the Nawab to stop the hunting and in turn preserve and conserve the loins. Thus, The Gir Sanctuary was created in 1965 and part of it was declared a National Park in 1975. Since then, Gir Forest National Park has played an important role in the recovery of the Asiatic Lions in the region.

Currently, Gir region attracts tourists from around the world for its oscillating landscapes and a close encounter with the beautiful wildcats. It is the only place in the world, other than Africa, for rehabilitation of lions in natural environment and not cage-limited. Other than lions, the park nurtures other diverse population of big show mammals that include deers, leopards and antelopes.

Gir's dry deciduous forest and oscillating landscape is fully dispersed with scrub jungle, acacia, grasslands, and rocky hills that make it a perfect location for holidays. The national park region is known among adventure lovers for a thrilled wildlife safari during the holiday season.

The best way to spot lions is to take jeep safaris that are daily conducted by the park officials and also private ventures are allowed but only with guides accompanying. Sighting the roaring and playing wild cats is an impressive sight and you can treasure the moments as cameras are allowed in the park at a minimal cost.

Gir Forest National Park is open from October to May and closed during the monsoon season that lasts from June to October.

The national park's most popular safari routes open for tourists are:

  • Sasan Gir Village (Main entrance to the park) to Kamaleshwar Dam.
  • Sasan Gir Village to Kankai.
  • Sasan Gir Village to Chodavdi.
  • Sasan Gir Village to Tulsishyam.

In light to the initiative taken by the Gujarat government in saving the lions' habitat, many wildlife experts have agreed to the right doing of the state. But they also noted that while the state has done well the population of lions has exceeded the forest space and also a single calamity could wipe them out from the face of the earth and therefore some of them should be moved out to Madhya Pradesh national park to save them from extinction.

Insisting to this, the Gujarat government, and Chief Minister Narendra Modi, have been arguing that the Gir lions are the "pride of the state" and should not be moved out.

After months of thorough scrutiny, Supreme court has finally ruled out that the lions will be trans-located from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh. The court ruled, "The cardinal issue is not whether the Asian lion is a family member, but the preservation of an endangered species, while directing that the lions be moved within six months.