The lion safari park at Ambardi village in Dhari tehsil of Gujarat’s Amreli district will help in developing the area as a tourist hub, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said.
The chief minister on Tuesday inaugurated the park, spread on nearly 400 hectares of land.
The park aims to take the tourist load off the existing Gir National Park. It will have three zoo-bred lions for public viewing in the forest environment.
As per the latest census carried out by the state forest department in 2015, Gujarat is home to 523 Asiatic lions in the Gir forest and other areas in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts.
“The lion safari park will help Dhari, a tehsil headquarters, to emerge as a tourist hub,” Rupani said.
“It will attract a large number of visitors as devotees from various parts of the country have been visiting the famous temple of Khodiyar goddess located in the area,” Rupani said.
The park will help in providing jobs to local youth, hotels for accommodating the tourists and promoting the business of hired taxis in the area, he further said.
Rupani criticised the previous UPA government at the Centre for not granting approval to the state’s proposal for the lion safari park.
The present Narendra Modi-led government approved the project in June this year, he said.
Gujarat’s forest and tribal welfare minister Ganpat Vasava said at present, there are three lions along with 250 deers for public viewing in the new park.
The forest department aims to increase the number of lions for public viewing to eight, for which permission will sought from the Central Zoo Authority in future, he said.