VERAVAL: Authorities in the Sasan Gir National Park in Gujarat, which houses the largest number of Asiatic Lions, have constructed artificial water ponds for animals, as they often stray out towards human habitation in search of water to seek relief from the intense heat.
With the mercury soaring each passing day and natural water sources drying up, the forest authorities have constructed water ponds, which are filled periodically by tractor-driven tankers for the animals to quench their thirst.
Babra Range Forest Officer R D Vansh said the ponds are filled with water twice a day.
"The babra vidi falls under the Veraval range of the Junagadh district of Gujarat Forest Department. Total 14 lions are present in the babra vidi, out of which three are females, three are males and eight are cubs. Other then these 50-60 are spotted deer and 108 are blue bull. The forest department has constructed three artificial ponds for these animals, which are filled with water twice in a day," said Vansh.
However, such instances of wild animals entering into human populated regions are quite common because of human encroachments on animal habitats, which restrict their movement leading to man-animal conflict.
Established in 1965, the Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Sasan Gir, is the sole home of the majestic Asiatic Lions.
Covering a total area of 1412 kilometres, about 258 kilometres for the fully protected area (the National Park) and 1153 kilometres for the Sanctuary, the area is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species.
Seven rivers that pass through Gir namely Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Ghodavadi, and Raval have started drying up.
Less than 250 watering points are presently available for lions, leopards, ungulates, including spotted deer, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, antelope, and wild boar.
Besides, Gir harbours around thousand species of birds and 26 species of reptiles.