The population of Asiatic lions in the Gir forest has increased, and so has their distribution area, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today. "Population of the majestic Asiatic Lion, living in Gujarat's Gir Forest, is up by almost 29%. Geographically, distribution area is up by 36%," he wrote in a post shared on social media platforms this evening.
The Gir forest is located in PM Modi's home state of Gujarat. It is the last abode of the Asiatic lion in the world. The number of Asiatic lions in the Gir forest region has increased by almost 29 per cent to 674, the Gujarat forest department said.
In his post, PM Modi also thanked the people of Gujarat and others whose efforts have helped in the population recovery of a species that once faced extinction. "Kudos to the people of Gujarat and all those whose efforts have led to this excellent feat," he wrote while sharing four photos of Gir lions.
Two very good news:— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 10, 2020
Population of the majestic Asiatic Lion, living in Gujarat's Gir Forest, is up by almost 29%.
Geographically, distribution area is up by 36%.
Kudos to the people of Gujarat and all those whose efforts have led to this excellent feat.https://t.co/vUKngxOCa7pic.twitter.com/TEIT2424vF
According to data released by the Gujarat government, there are an estimated 674 Asiatic lions currently living in the Gir Forest. The population estimation of Asiatic lions is conducted at an interval of every five years. The last population estimation exercise was conducted in May 2015, which pegged the lion numbers at 523.
The department carried out a population estimation exercise on the night of June 5 and 6 this year when there was full moon. The exercise was undertaken as the five yearly census could not be carried out in May due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, it said.
The "Poonam Avlokan (full-moon night estimation exercise)" showed that the lions'' population had reached 674, a 28.87 per cent increase, the official release said. It was the highest growth rate recorded so far, it added.
Last year, PM Modi had also shared a striking image of a lion climbing a 'flame of the forest' tree.