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Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary also known as Sasan-Gir is a forest and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, India. This is the only place outside Africa were Asiatic lions are spotted. This famous Lion sanctuary is located at the bottom of the Saurasktra peninsula 65 km South East of Junagarh district. It is the sole home of the pure Asiatic Lions and one of the most important protected areas in the world. The sanctuary was established in 1965 with a total area of 1412 sq. km. Out of which 258 sq. km is reserved for the National Park and 1153 sq. km for the Sanctuary.
Location The wildlife sanctuary is located 42 km from Junagadh, Gujrat.
Major Attractions : Asiatic Lion
Best time to Visit : December to April
Area 1,412.14 sq. km
About Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
The Gir National Park is located in the south-western parts of the Saurashtra Peninsula and is a home to about 300 Asiatic Lions. The Gir park is surrounded by three unique and unusual reserves, the Nalsarovar Lake and Sanctuary; the Rann of Kutch and the Flamingo Islands which houses the flamingo birds and a charm to the place. This park is marked by a rugged terrain and the steep rocky hillsides covered with mixed deciduous forests. Besides lion, other important animals in the area are leopards, wild ass, numerous chital, nilgai, chinkara, four horned antelope and wild boar.
The Flora in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Flora of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary mainly comprises mixed deciduous forest with Teak, Acacia and Banyan trees. The flora of the sanctuary varies in different areas of the park. Along the main rivers and streams of the park you will get a distinct green vegetation belt. Common trees found in the park include Karanj, Jambu, Umro, Kalam, Charal, Vad, Amli and Siru. With their broad leaves, these trees provide the park area a cool shade and extra moisture.
The Fauna in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Gir is not just about Indians Lions, the second most commonly found predator in the Gir is Leopard. Infact, Gir national park also houses one of the largest Leopard populations in any park in India, and especially in the hotter season they can sometimes be seen at night close to the tourist lodges. Other animal residents of the Gir national park are Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, Chowsingha, Chinkara Gazelle, Wild Boar, Langur, Jackal, Panthers, Wild Cats and Hares and Hyena.
The Avifauna in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
The presence of a large number of water bodies and suitable climatic conditions prevalent within the park has made it a haven for a large number of bird species. Numerous birds like Paradise Flycatchers, Black headed Cuckoo Shrike, Gray Drongo, Pied Woodpeckers, Coppersmiths, Indian Rollers, Crested Swifts, Fish Owls, Black Vultures, Shaheen Falcons, Bonelli's Eagles, Flamingo, Crested Serpent Eagles, Painted Sandgrouse, Rock Bush Quail, Gray Partridge, Painted Storks and White Necked Storks are found here.
The best way to see the big cats is, of course, in their natural habitats, at dawn and dusk, when they are on the prowl. Wildlife viewing in the Gir’s is best done, by driving a jeep around the forest.
How to Get there
The nearest airport from the Gir National park is Keshod via Veraval and lies at a distance of 90 km and daily flights from Mumbai to Keshod are available.
The meter gauge rail line of 395-kms from Ahmedabad is the nearest rail connection from Gir.
By Road :
Gir is located at a distance of 400-kms from Ahmedabad via Rajkot, Junagadh and Mendarda and state transport buses are readily available from Junagadh and Veraval to Gir, between the months of November and June.
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