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HISTORY   |   POPULATION
HUMAN ANIMAL CONFLICT
  |   BREEDING PROGRAM
  
 HUMAN ANIMAL CONFLICT

Historical records show that lion in the Gir preyed mainly on the domestic livestock of Maldharis (Joslin 1973, Berwick 1974), which constituted nearly 75% of their diet. However the latest studies conducted by Dr. R. M. Naik, Ravi Chellam and A.J.T. Johnsingh (1993) have shown that 36% of the kills are still from domestic livestock. Therefore, the domestic livestock contribute significantly to the lion’s food in Gir forests. The reason for this may be the fact that the Maldhari “Nesses” are located along valleys in flat to gently undulating terrains where domestic livestock provide an easy kill compared to the wild herbivores which being swifter, may escape into the more rugged zones of the forest.

Conflicts between wildlife and humans in the Gir are escalating owing to increasing human population, extensive loss of natural habitat and a sustained increase in wild animal population due to adoption of successful conservation strategies in protected area. Among herbivores, the wild boar and the Blue bull have been reported to cause extensive damage to agriculture of villages surrounding the Gir forest. Similarly the Lion and the Leopard have been make frequent forays into peripheral areas for hunting of livestock. In the last 5 to 6 years frequent reports indicate that the Gir lions have started wandering from what is supposed to be “the only abode of the Asiatic Lion”. In December 1995, a pride consisting of one lioness and two cubs was reported in Diu, quite unusually. They were captured and brought back to their original home.

The increased population has intensified territorial competition and conflict among the lions in the Gir. Territorial conflicts have been occurring among the lions and only those that are stable and strong enough manage to retain their territories, resulting into dispersal of sub-adults from the pride.

The displaced lions have been moving out of the Gir in search of fresh territories. In fact, the lions virtually want to regain 2560 sq. km of their territory which they used to occupy in 1956, when their population was 290. Natural dispersal of the lion started since 1990 and one group has occupied territory in Girnar and the other is coastal forests. This indicates that population of lions in the Gir has reached the carrying capacity of National park and Sancturay area. At present there are 4 to 5 satellite populations of the lion found outside the Gir (Girnar, Mitiyala and Coastal forests).

 

 
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