More roars in Gir!

the guessing game regarding the number of Asiatic lions ( Panthera leo persica ) in Gujarat's Gir Sanctuary has come to an end. According to a census conducted by the sanctuary officials, there are 315 lions, an increase of 11 lions over the last five years.

The three-day census began on May 11, 2001. The last census was carried out in 1995 and 304 lions were counted. This must be pleasant news for conservationists because in 1930, only 20 lions were left in the sanctuary. But stringent measures introduced by the Nawab of Junagarh and Lord Curzon, including a ban on poaching, increased the population thereafter.

Officials say the increase is due to the implementation of the Gir conservation programme. The Gir forest is the only natural habitat of the Asiatic lions in the world.

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