Gujarat's Junagadh district and neighbouring Amreli seem to be in competition for hosting the largest population of coveted Asiatic lions. As many as 108 lions have been sighted in Amreli, second only to Junagadh, which has recorded a lion population of 270. The Gir National Park Sanctuary is located in Junagarh.
Meanwhiles, the king of the jungle seems to be have taken a special liking for Bhavnagar's grasslands. However, Porbandar district has not seen a single lion.
According to the latest census, there are 77 cubs less than a year old and 75 that are less than three years of age, which prompted Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to compare with a similar 40-per cent youth component of the Indian population on Sunday.
Modi said the world needed to take note of the scientific approach of the lion census conducted by Gujarat this time. He added that relevant authorities should conduct a scientific study of the method and replicate it in other wildlife censuses too.
He said that the earlier methodology was somewhat unscientific, based as it was on the instances of lion sightings reported and arriving at estimates of population based on attacks reported on other animals. This time around though, a more scientific and systematic method had been developed and deployed to arrive at more accurate population figures.
According to the forest department, the latest census used GIS, GPS and wireless technologies for effective coordination and proper documentation, which had been done for each observation through direct sighting with the animals identified with distinct body-marks.