In the southwest of the peninsular state of Gujarat, lies the 116 square-mile sanctuary created to protect the last wild population of lion outside Africa. The Gir is a mixed deciduous forest with teak, flame of the forest, some acacia and banyan trees. It is a hilly tract with many rivers and offers long pleasant drives of beauty. Since 1913 when the lion population fell drastically to just 20 animals, the numbers have increased to around 239 (1985 census). The Asiatic lion is slightly smaller than its African cousin is and its mane is smaller. Other animals in the park are leopard, sambar deer, chital spotted deer, nilgai antelope, chowsingha four-horned antelope, chinkara gazelle, wild boar, langur monkey, jackal, and hyena and numerous birds like paradise flycatcher, Bonneli's eagle, crested serpent eagle, woodpeckers flamingo etc. Located in the south-west fringes of the Saurashtra Peninsula, The Gir National Park is a haven to about 300 Asiatic Lions... unfortunately their last surviving population.This area flanked with three unique and unusual reserves, the Nalsarovar Lake and Sanctuary, where a large number of water birds can be seen; the bare saline flats of The Rann of Kutch, the home of the Indian Wild Ass and Flamingo Islands which is home to the flamingo, make it a very interesting tourist spot. The 1412.13 sq km sprawling park has a rugged terrain and the steep rocky hillsides are covered with mixed deciduous forests. Area : 1412.13 sq km Best time to visit : Dec - Mid June(closed during monsoon till mid October) Prominent Fauna : Asiatic lion, leopard, chital, nilgai, chinkara, antelope, wild boar, crocodile, wild ass, paradise flycatcher, Back headed cuckoo, pied woodpecker, Bonnelli's eagle, crested serpent eagle, painted sandgrouse, bush quail, flamingo, grey partridges. The park can be approached by road from the nearest town of Veraval which is about 42 kms away from Park. The nearest railhead is Sasan Gir which is again 1 km from the Park. The nearest airport is at Keshod which is 86 kms from Sasan Gir National Park One can stay away from Sasan Gir and stay in High end as well as economy hotels, but to be a part of the action one has to stay at the Lion Safari Lodge with reasonably good facilities For Additional Information: Conservators of Forests Sardar Baug, Junagadh, Gujarat 362001, India
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