Asiatic Lions Gir Forest – Gujarat, India
The Last Asiatic Lion Reserve
It’s hard to believe we almost wiped out the King of the Jungle! There are currently 527 Asiatic Lions Gir Forest in Gujarat according the the census. Gir is the last reserve for the Asiatic lion, that used to roam freely through the whole of Asia.
527 may seem alarmingly low, however this has increased from just 300 over recent years. A true demonstration of the progressive attitude India has towards wildlife!
The difference between the two lions- African and Asiatic, is that the Asiatic has a much smaller main than the African.
Lions live in packs and have a strong family system, unlike tigers who prefer to live a solitary life, making them near impossible to spot in the wild.
Some of the portraits (I photographed) below are the protectors of the reserve. With the education provided from local conservationists these people strive every single today to protect and conserve this species.
Seeing lions in the wild is a surreal experience. Lions that you see as a kid when on school trips or field days to the Zoo seem bored and frustrated- often pacing while we peer through the glass at them.
Lions in the wild walk peacefully, hunt buffalo, relax and play. This is the life they are supposed to lead, not one in confinement for the amusement of humans.
What took me by surprise, was how peacefully two full-grown male Asiatic Lions walked passed our jeep. They seemed so content and relaxed. They are home.
The forest is respected by locals and protected by the government. The number of visitors allowed to visit the forest each year is very limited. It felt quiet and peaceful, not over-run by tourists, just the way it should be.
I stayed very close to the Gir Forest in Gujurat. I stayed at the Asiatic Lion Lodge, wonderful accommodation, delicious local Gujarati delicacies and close to the Reserve, perfect for budding photographers those wanting to go on early morning and dusk safaris.
Have been to the Gir Forest in Gujarat to visit the last Asiatic Lion Reserve? Have you seen a lion in the wild? Comment below and let me know! Id you love this post on Gir Forest Gujarat share it!