The native citizens of India have witnessed the tremendous efforts of the Indian Government to make better strategies to safeguard the Asiatic Lions. The increase in the population of Asiatic Lions in Gir National Park is outstanding, and if this increase goes high, we will be able to create a world full of lions, which is now suffering from extinction. After Africa, India serves the highest number of Lions in the Gir forest.
Till the late seventies, ample livestock owned by the Maldharis, the tribes of Sasan Gir, were found grazing in the forest, which remained the chief diet of lions. Owing to better protection by the Forest Department, many lions in the vicinity are dispersing and settling in areas beyond the boundaries of the Gir Protected Area. Today, the Asiatic Lions are found in several agro-pastoral landscapes of the Saurashtra region to extend their territory in the forest. They are the main attraction of tourists who come to Gujarat, only to venture to the historical wildlife sanctuary of India – Gir National Park.
Till 1971, before the enactment of the Wildlife Protection Act, to attract more tourists to this Gir forest, many people, including the forest department, performed several ‘lion shows’ to the travelers. In such shows, lions were bait to perform in front of the tourist, drawn to kill, to earn money. Due to interventions by the judiciary, baiting on the King of the jungle was stopped entirely by the management soon.
In recent years, Gir national park has gained exponential growth in tourist numbers. The park’s capacity is falling short to maintain the crowd in the forest after standing in the long serpentine queue outside the entry gate for Gir National Park Booking to enter the park. Among the very few who get the chance to enter the park to see the majestic lions in their habitat. This became an excellent opportunity for the dubious agents to entrap tourists for a lion sighting’, that also in live-action.
Knowing that baiting is illegal and unethical in Gir forest, they perform the same action, and tourists get thrilled to watch the big cat in action. Even resort owners, by joining hands with the agents, try to satisfy the demands of tourists by ensuring the tourists get lion sightings on bait. A tourist spending thousands of rupees to stay in luxury resorts can quickly pay for such an exciting event. Often, tourists are unaware of the violation of the law and can step into more significant legal trouble.
They also escort tourists for a jungle safari in the forest, which is very much illegal, and if caught, could be put into the bars as well. Always remember if you want to have a jungle trial, obtain tickets for the Gir Safari Booking from the entry gate; otherwise, it will be illegal and can be punished too.