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Location India, Gujarat
Central coordinates 70o 48.75' East  21o 17.50' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 141,213 ha
Altitude 150 - 642m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society



Site description Gir National Park and Sanctuary is one of the oldest sanctuaries of India and is famed for being the remaining habitat of the Asiatic Lion Panthera leo persica. Gir forest has become a very stable ecosystem with tremendous regenerating, self-supporting and selfsustaining capacity, due to its compactness and richness of biodiversity. It is one of the largest biologically intact continuous tracts of land in India reserved primarily for the conservation of its native wild fauna (Singh 1998, 2001). The site has an undulating, low, hilly terrain. The protected area is surrounded by flat agricultural land. The total area is 141,213 ha, comprising of the Wildlife Sanctuary (115,342 ha) which encircles the National Park (25,871 ha). This area enjoys protection of the highest order. A 380 km long stone wall borders the entire National Park. The area forms the catchment for seven major and two minor rivers. There are four dams and seven perennial rivers within the protected area. In all, 448 species of flowering plants and 96 tree species have been recorded in the area, including Tectona grandis, Acacia catachu, Boswellia serrata, dhak Butea monosperma, Lannea coromandelica, Anogeissus latifolia and Diospyros melanoxylon, Ficus glomerata and Syzygium cumini (Singh 1998).

Key Biodiversity 

AVIFAUNA: About 300 species of birds have been recorded from Gir (Singh 1998). Globally threatened species include Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis, Oriental White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis and Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus. The wetlands in Gir support several waterfowl species, especially in Kamaleshwar Dam. The area has always been and continues to be popular with birdwatchers (Raol 1969). Out of the 9 species of vultures in India, Gir has six. Two Gyps species have now become very rare. During a visit in 2001, not a single bird of these species was seen in two days (A. R. Rahmani pers. observ. 2003). The Lesser Florican Sypheotides indica is mainly seen in the surrounding grassland, very rarely inside Gir. Similarly, Sarus Crane Grus antigone is also found mainly in the surrounding areas. In the whole of Saurashtra region, Gir is the largest tract of natural forests, and represents the best example of the original flora and fauna. Except for the Grey Hornbill Ocyceros birostris, which has become extinct due to persecution by tribals, most of the birds of the Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Forests (Biome-11) are found in Gir. Gir was selected as an IBA based on A1 (Threatened Species) and A3 (Biome-11: Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Forests). The bird list of biome species is too long to be included here.

OTHER KEY FAUNA: About 36 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 33 of reptiles, 6 of amphibians, and 2,000 of invertebrates have been reported from the area (Singh 1998). Besides the famous lions, Gir also supports a large population of the leopard Panthera pardus.

Important prey species comprise Spotted Deer Axis axis, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Bluebull Boselaphus tragocamelus and Sambar Cervus unicolor, as well as domestic cattle. Other mammals include Fourhorned antelope Tetracerus quadricornis, Chinkara Gazella bennettii, Striped hyaena Hyaena hyaena, Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Common Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Porcupine Hystrix indica and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri winter  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca winter  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Vulture Gyps indicus non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Lesser Florican Sypheotides indicus resident  2004  present  A1  Endangered 
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2013 medium not assessed medium
  unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Gir National Park 25,871 protected area contained by site 25,871  
Gir Sanctuary 115,342 protected area contained by site 115,342  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Shrubland   -
Grassland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: Urban transport

Acknowledgements Key contributor: H. S. Singh.

References 

Raol, L. M. (1969) Birdwatching at Sasan Gir Forest. Newsletter for Birdwatchers 9(3): 3-5.

Singh, H. S. (1998) Wildlife Protected Areas of Gujarat, Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

Singh, H. S. (2001). Natural Heritage of Gujarat. Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/12/2014

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