The four-day exercise to count the number of Asiatic Lions at its only abode in the Gir forest in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, concluded on Tuesday.
The officials engaged in the census, refused to be drawn into the number game till all the reports were cross-checked and tabulations completed. But preliminary information indicate a steady rise in the lion population in “greater Gir,” including areas outside the national park where lions have strayed into lately.
Forest department sources said the lion population could have increased to 390 to 400 despite some incidents of poaching and natural deaths during the last five years. In the last census, held in 2005, the count was put at 359 (plus minus 10).
The final result of the lion census is expected to be announced on the Gujarat foundation day in May.