Sasan (Gujarat), June 16 (ANI): The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, the only home of the Asiatic Lions in Gujarat, on Wednesday closed its doors to tourists for four months to provide some privacy to the big cats during their mating season.
The sanctuary will remain closed till October 14.
Forest officials say that this period is crucial for the conservation of the endangered animal.
"Since we supervise the conservation efforts, we want to prevent any disturbance in the conservation activities, which could also be caused by the tourists. So we closed the sanctuary," said Sandeep Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
The rise in the number of Gir lions from 359 in 2005 to 411 in 2010, has led to a sharp surge in the number of visitors keen to have a close view of the wild cats.
Covering a total area of 1412 kilometres, the area is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species.
It is also a natural habitat for leopards and antelopes like the sambar, spotted deer, blue bull, black buck, and wild boar, jackal, hyena, langurs, porcupine, bear and crocodiles and over 250 species of birds. (ANI)