- Recently, the Gujarat Forest Department has announced an increase in the population of Asiatic lions in the Gir forest region.
- The count was estimated from a population observation exercise called Poonam Avlokan in place of the 15th Lion Census.
- More than two dozen lions died last year in an outbreak of canine distemper virus (CDV) and Babesiosis.
- a monthly in-house exercise carried out every full moon.
- developed by the Forest Department in 2014 as part of preparations for the 2015 Lion Census.
- carried out for 24 hours assessing the number of lions and their locations in their respective jurisdictions.
- conducted only by forest staff.
- The first Lion Census was conducted by the Nawab of Junagadh in 1936.
- Since 1965, the Forest Department has been regularly conducting the Lion Census every five years.
- The regular Lion Census is conducted once every five years. The last Census was conducted in 2015.
- usually runs for more than two days, including a preliminary census and a final census.
- done using the block counting method
Gir National Park
- located in the state of Gujarat.
- only natural habitat of Asiatic lions.
- often linked with “Maldharis” who are religious pastoral communities living in Gir.
- Their settlements are called “nesses“.
Protection for Asiatic Lions
- IUCN Red List: Endangered
- CITES: Appendix I
- Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule I
- The “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” has been launched by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
- a tiny parasite that infects red blood cells.
- Infection with Babesia is called babesiosis.
- usually transmitted by a tick bite, Babesiosis occurs in both Animals and Humans.
- Babesiosis outbreak was reported in Gir forest in 2020, and around two dozen lions were reported to be killed.
Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)
- Contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.
- caused by a single-stranded RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae (the same family of the viruses that causes measles, mumps, and bronchiolitis in humans).
- affects a wide variety of animal families, including domestic and wild species