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Home : : Wildlife Santuaries in India : : Gir National Park
Gir National Park
Asiatic lionAlso known as Sasangir National Park, Gir National Park was established to conserve Asiatic Lion, on 18th September 1965, initially as a Forest Reserve spread in an area of around 2,450 hectares. A part of Junagadh District of Gujarat, Gir National Park is 90 km from Keshod Airport in Kathiawar (Saurashtra) Peninsula. Sasan, a small town with a forest rest house is the headquarter of Gir National Park. This national park is known for a hilly terrain with a dense network of rivers. It was declared partially as a wildlife sanctuary and partially as a national park in 1975. It is regarded as one and only existing habitat of Asiatic lion whose statistical figures are around 300 at present. Asiatic lion is different from African Lion in its size, which is slightly smaller than its African cousin. This national park has three adjoining reserves. Nalsarovar Lake and Sanctuary inhabit myriad water-birds. Little Rann of Kutch sheltering Indian Wild Ass, and Flamingo Island rest of the two reserves, making Gir National Park an ideal place for wildlife enthusiasts.
Wildlife in Sasangir National Park Lion
Gir National Park homes a number of wild animals including chinkara, black buck, wild boar, striped hyena, common langur, porcupine, hare and jackal. Some of the major bird species among a total of around 200 include Bonelli's eagle, peafowl, grey partridge, jungle bush quail, crested serpent eagle, painted sand grouse, common green pigeon and doves of several species. Kamleshwar Dam in this national park is home to the marsh crocodile commonly seen in the river. The only crocodile-breeding farm is also here. The Gir is covered with mixed deciduous forests with teak, ber, flame of the forest, jamun and babool trees. This national park has a distinct belt of vegetation besides the main rivers and streams. Rarefied tree species including jambu, karanj, umro, vad, kalam, charal, sirus and amli can also be seen here abundantly.
Asiatic Lions in Gir National Park
Asiatic Lions were almost on the verge of extinction before their conservation in this national park. It is probably the last refuge of Asiatic lion or Panthera leo persica, a little different from its African counterpart. The mane of Asiatic Lion is not very luxuriant. Its skin is a lighter shade of that of its African counterpart. Asiatic Lions here are purely predatory. Mindless hunting of Asiatic Lions in 19th century brought the lion population to a few hundreds. It was the time when the erstwhile maharajah of Junagadh decided to set up a reserve to protect the Asiatic Lions. This reserve was later on developed as Gir National Park.

Other Attractions in Gir National Park
Chinkara Jeep Safari : If you want to explore the wildlife, driving via jeep around it. Forest Department organizes the lion shows for tourists every Sunday. Special trips with expert guides are also organized. The best time to observe this ferocious carnivore is to spot him during the dawn and dusk when they are on the prowl. Gir National Park boasts of many antique temples like Kankai Mata and Tulsishyam. The best way to explore the national park is jeep safari. Long jeep drives from Sasan are conducted to Baval Chowk, Kankai, Chodavdi, Kamaleshwar dam and Tulsishyam.

How to Reach Gir National Park
By Air : You can reach Keshod the nearest airport from Sasangir. You can travel there onwards to Sasangir via Veraval. Some flights are also operated from Mumbai to Keshod.
By Rail : Ahmadabad is the nearest railhead from Sasangir.

By Road : You can reach Ahmadabad and then drive to Sasangir via Rajkot, Junagadh and Mendarda. State transport buses are also very easily available from Junagadh and Veraval to Gir during November to June.

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