CHIEF MINISTER Vijay Rupani on Sunday said that the state government was mulling over a project to allow tourism activities in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary and building infrastructure for lion safaris. “The state government is drawing plans to allow tourists to go on lion safaris inside Girnar forest very soon. State government has made necessary arrangements and tourism activity in this forest will begin in around three months,” an official release from state information department quoted the CM as saying.
Rupani was addressing his relatives and acquaintances after having darshan of his community deity in Chanaka village of Bhesan taluka in Junagadh district. His family members were also accompanying him to Chanaka, the native village of the Rupanis. The CM further said that the lion safari park in Amreli will be thrown open after getting due clearances from Central government.
Asiatic lions are an endangered species. Their only wild population in the world is surviving in Gir forest and other protected areas in Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region in Gujarat. According to 2015 census, the population of Asiatic lions was estimated to be 523.
Presently, safaris are allowed inside tourism zone in Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Junagadh district. Tourists can also watch lion at Gir Interpretation Zone, Devaliya.
If the tourism activity is allowed inside Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to 28 Asiatic lions, it will be second project to boost tourism around Mount Girnar. The central government had recently cleared a ropeway project for Mount Girnar.