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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A recently conducted census revealed that the population of Asiatic lions has increased outside the protected area of Gir National Park and Sanctuary. Therefore, the Gujarat government has decided to form a high-level task force to study their growing habitat.

The forest department will form the task force to analyze the census data in the wake of growing lion population outside Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, the sole home of the Asiatic lions, officials said.

“The aim of the task force will be to prepare a report about growing habitat of lions outside the sanctuary and suggest measures to reduce man-animal conflicts,” they added.

P K Taneja, Additional Chief Secretary in State Forest and Environment Department said, “We will chalk out a plan based on the census data, which suggests increase in habitat area of lions. I have asked the officials to form a task force comprising 4-5 senior officials to suggest corrective measures on how to reduce threat on lions and decrease man-animal conflicts.”

The lion population has gone up to 523, which was 411 in the 2010 census, as per the 14th lion census.

Gir forest is spread over 1,412 sq kms, and the census report of 2015 suggests that the habitat area of the lions has increased to around 22,000 sq kms, which is almost double than 2010.

Out of the total number of spotted lions i.e 523, 268 were registered in Junagadh district, 44 in adjoining Gir-Somnath district, 174 in Amreli and 37 in Bhavnagar.

On being asked about the extension of the sanctuary limits or form a new sanctuary where lion habitat is found, Taneja said the committee will also look into these aspects. He also pointed out the need for re-deployment of forest staff to keep a check on lion movement outside the sanctuary.


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