Sunday, 14 February 2016 16:38

Gir Forest National Park (Gujarat, India)

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The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as Sasan-Gir) is a forest and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, India. Established in 1965, with a total area of 1,412 km2 (545 sq mi) (about 258 km2 (100 sq mi) for the fully protected area the national park and 1,153 km2 (445 sq mi) for the Sanctuary), the park is located 43 km (27 mi) north-east of Somnath, 65 km (40 mi) south-east of Junagadh and 60 km (37 mi) south-west of Amreli.

Water reserves:

The seven major perennial rivers of the Gir region are Hiran, Shetrunji, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Godavari and Raval. The four reservoirs of the area are at four dams, one each on Hiran, Machhundri, Raval and Shingoda rivers, including the biggest reservoir in the area, the Kamleshwar Dam, dubbed 'the lifeline of Gir'.

During peak summer, surface water for wild animals is available at about 300 water points. When drought hits the area following a poor rainfall, surface water is not available at a majority of these points, and water scarcity becomes a serious problem (mainly in the eastern part of the sanctuary). Ensuring the availability of water during peak summer is one of the major tasks of the Forest Department staff.

Wildlife:

The count of 2,375 distinct fauna species of Gir includes about 38 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and more than 2,000 species of insects.

The carnivores group mainly comprises Asiatic lions, Indian leopards, Indian cobras, jungle cats, striped hyenas, golden jackals, Indian mongoose, Indian palm civets, and ratels. desert cats and rusty-spotted cats occur but are rarely seen.

The main herbivores of Gir are chital, nilgai, sambar, four-horned antelope, chinkara and wild boar. Blackbucks from the surrounding area are sometimes seen in the sanctuary.

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