Ahmedabad: On a rainy night two days ago, a pride of seven lions was spotted strolling on a city road in Junagadh. The video of the lion roaming was captured by a passerby and has since gone viral on social media.
Located 100 km away from the commercial capital of Saurashtra region in Gujarat, Junagadh town is located in close vicinity of Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, which houses over 40 Asiatic lions.
“Lions often come out of the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary and are found roaming on the roads near Girnar Taleti road as it’s close to the sanctuary in Junagadh. It's a natural phenomenon here. This is a lions’ corridor and they come out during the night and return back to the wild. The forest department keeps a tab on the lions’ movement and if needed rescue the wild animals and release them back to the wild to avoid human-wildlife conflicts,’’ Dr Sunil Kumar Berwal, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Junagadh, told News18.
Gir forest in Gujarat is the last abode of the Asiatic lions in the world.
According to the last census of Asiatic lions, which was conducted in 2015, there were 523 lions in and around Gir wildlife Sanctuary in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Out of the total 523 lions, 33 were reported in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary. “There are around 35 to 40 lions in and around Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary,’’ said an official.
“Girnar forests was once a part of a major forest ecosystem comprising Gir and Girnar. Gradually, urbanisation and economic activities caused by major agricultural expansion and industrialisation have separated these two forests converting Girnar to an isolated compact patch of forest habitat of 178.8 square km,’’ an official added.