Recent “Poonam avalokan” or moonlight night observation revealed the Asiatic lion population in Gujrat – the only home to the specie in the world – is thriving.
Owing to the pandemic and related restrictions, and a chance to spread COVID-19 to the lions, the new way of observation replaced Lion Census 2020 and it turns out there has been a 29% increase in population, top sources said, Time of India reports.
As compared to only 151 lions found during the 2015 Lion Census, there’s now 674 of the majestic Asiatic lions in Gujrat. It is believed, informally the population might have touched 1000. The counting exercise was reportedly conducted by the forest department on June 5-6th.
“Lions have recorded a healthy growth in population due to effective conservation and management efforts by the state government with support from the center, additional chief secretary of forest and environment told TOI. Officials declined to comment on the exact date of the finding with media, and results are expected to be declared soon.
The lion population was stuck by a canine virus called canine distemper virus (CDV) outbreak in 2018. A number of measures were taken to curb the spread and prevent the loss of the big cat, including PM Narendra Modi personally ordering vaccines from the US for treatment, according to reports. In Africa, CDV wiped off 80% of the lion population as compared to only 36 in Gujrat.
Asiatic lions, a slightly smaller subspecies of their brethren in Africa is only found in Gujrtat’s Sasan Gir National Park. The lions arrived from the Middle East and now only a fraction is left in India. In the past, these majestic beasts were hunted in Gir’s woods, but now they’re heavily protected. Asiatic Lions are categorized as Endangered on IUCN Red List, given the numbers and the little territory they occupy.