Almost 80% permits for lion-safari in Gir booked in advance online, Sinh Darshan to resume from October 16, Gypsy to be used in Devaliya too, 4 new lion safari routes added in tourist zone

Junagadh:Almost a week before the reopening of Gir sanctuary for tourists after the annual four months closure during monsoon season, almost 80% of the permits for Sinh Darshan or Lion Safari trip has been booked in advanced online.
This is despite the fact that the number of permits have also been increased to more than double.

A senior official of the forest department today informed.

He also said that this time Gypsy vehicles would also be used for seeing lions in Devaliya interpretation zone where earlier only mini buses were used for the same.

In the main lion safari zone 110 square km tourist area of the Gir which starts from Sasan Gir, 4 more routes for lion seeing have been added taking the number of routes to 12 from 8,’ the official said.

He also said that the number of permits on normal days has been increased from 70 to 150 and on the holidays it has been increased up to 180.

Notably, the famous Sinh Darshan (Lion safari) in the around 110 square kilometer area of the total 1412 sq km Gir National Park and Sanctuary more commonly known as Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions situated in Saurashtra region of Gujarat, meant for tourist activities remains closed from June 16 to October 15 every year during monsoon.

It is closed as per the provisions of the wildlife act 1972 to provide safe environment to the Lions and other wild animals during their mating season in Monsoon period.

The five yearly Lion Census conducted last time in May 2015 had estimated the population of Asiatic lions at 523 (27% up compared to previous census in 2010). The population was 411 in 2010 and 359 in 2005. As per the 2015 census, the population of lions in Junagadh district was 268, Gir Somnath 44, Amreli District 174 (highest increase) and in adjoining Bhavangar District was 37. Of them there were 109 males, 201 females and 213 cubs.

During the closure period the forest department also conducts various operations in the national park including locating any stray new born cub and rescuing it.