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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Lion Roars! – January 2012

How come “Asiatic Lions” are found only in Gujarat, India? What is so unique about Gujarat? What went wrong with the rest of the population? What is the connection between the lions found in the African countries and those found in India? Want answers? How about reading stuff like this? -> “The origin, current diversity and future conservation of the modern lion - Panthera leo”

January 2012. This is my third visit to the “Gir Forest National Park” as a nature lover, tourist! I was here in “2008” and “2010”. As of now the lion population in Gujarat has gone up! -> “411 lions in Gir forests”. I am told that once the population had gone down to less than 40 individuals in India as well. Kudos to everyone who contributed to this wonderful comeback!

Also, in recent years, a number of resorts and hotels have sprung up at Sasan, Gir to cater to tourist needs. ““Breath in a bit of Gujarat”” says Amitabh Bachchan as he goes on a safari inside the Gir Forest to photograph the lions! As a nature lover, I have actually been breathing a lot of Gujarat in recent years. Gujarat is a truly fascinating place that I cannot get enough of! May the lions keep roaring! 

This time I went along with M. N. Jayakumar. This was his last official visit before his retirement as the APCCF, Karnataka. On the 17th of January, 2012, we took the Jet Airways flight from Bangalore to Rajkot via Mumbai. We reached Rajkot at about 4pm. Rajkot is about 155 kms from Sasan Gir. On the way we made a brief halt for tea at the Junagadh Zoo and reached SINH SADAN, Forest Guest House at Sasan by dinner time, about 9.30 pm.

We stayed here from the 17th Night to the 21st Morning and had a good time in the company of lions. We saw three prides with six to eight lionesses and cubs. We saw three males (Two brothers and Raju!) We also came across three leopards (fleeting glimpse only!).

Very many thanks to Shri V J Rana, director of Sakkarbaug Zoo, who helped us immensely during our visit.

On the 20th evening we drove over to Somnath and visited the famous temple of Lord Shiva. An easy couple of hours drive from Sasan.

On the 21st Morning we drove to Junagadh to visit the zoo. Great learning for me. Rana Ji enabled us to take a complete and serious look at the zoo. We had a wonderful lunch with Rana Ji and staff before proceeding to Velavadar for our next adventure!

This wonderful male is called "Raju" by the Trackers and guides at Gir. For some reason he keeps roaring! A major tourist attraction as of now (Jan 2012) at Gir.

Do enjoy these images of the wonderful lions of Sasan, Gir hunting, eating and relaxing!

Vijay Cavale
January 2012