Gir sanctuary to remain closed for animal breeding season

GIR Wildlife Sanctuary will remain closed for visitors until October mainly due to approaching breeding season for animals, a senior forest officer said today.

"The closure is an annual feature here. The sanctuary closes from June 15 till October for two reasons: one it is breeding time for a lot of species there and secondly it is not easily approachable during monsoon," the official said.

Gir, the last abode for Asiatic lions, is a dry deciduous forest and a major attraction for tourists.

Forests where a majority of the trees lose their foliage at the end of the typical growing season are called deciduous forests.

According to the April 2010 census, the number of lions in Gir is 411, an increase of 52 from 2005 figures.

As many as 180 lion cubs were born under the special initiative of the Lion Breeding Programme which covers the park and its surrounding areas since its inception, the official said.

The major herbivores of Gir are Chital, Bluebull, Sambar, four-horned Antelope, Chinkara and Wild boar.

Blackbucks from the surrounding area are sometimes seen in the sanctuary, he said.