Introduction

Gir Forest is one of the largest Compact tracts of dry deciduous forests in the semi arid western part of the country. Apart from being the only home of the last surviving Natural "gene pool" of Asiatic Lion, panthera leo persica it constitutes the catchment area of seven major rivers and provides ecological security and environmental Amelioration for the drought prone region of Saurashtra. Its' conservation assumes paramount significance in the wake of threats it faces from different quarters. Important conservation measures like launching of GIR Lion Sanctuary Project in early seventies, resettlement of maldharis families and shifting of their livestock, declaring core area as National Park, suspending tree felling operation, payment of compensation in case of livestock killing and human death by carnivores establishing check posts to control movement of people and livestock in the P.A. and strengthening of protection measures by introducing wireless communication network, vehicles & weapons, organising nature educational camps etc. are beginning to have positive impact on the ecosystem. Presently, there are about 46 maldhari nesses in the sanctuary having about 361 families. On the fringes or the sanctuary, there are 14 in forest settlement with total human population of about 4500 and that of livestock about 4250. There are 79 villages located within a periphery of 2 kms. all around the Gir sanctuary with human population of 1,36,000 and that of domestic livestock is about 1,00,000.

Gir National Park and Sanctuary has been selected as one of the seven implementation sites in the country it has world's only population of asiatic lion and the area faces the danger of fragmentation and degradation. Biotic pressures in the form of grazing, collection of other forest produce, vehicular traffic, tourism and pilgrims etc. are very high and require additional efforts in order conserve the bio diversity for posterity.