Sarasiya is the range where more than two dozen Asiatic lions had died following an outbreak of canine distemper virus a year ago. Sarasiya is one the biggest ranges in Gir forest, the last natural abode of Asiatic lions. The range is a mixture of forest and agro-pastoral land.
Gir forest and other protected areas spread across Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region are the last abode of Asiatic lions in the world. Population of these endangered big cats was estimated to be 523 in year 2015. However, 167 of them were living outside protected forest areas.
The Herbivore Census covers ungulates such as spotted deer, blue bulls (nilgais), sambars, Indian gazelles (chinkaras), four-horned antelopes (choshinga) and wild boars, as well as Indian langurs and peafowl.
“Each of the 64 teams comprise a forester, two beat guards and a lion tracker. These teams will carry out the exercise under the supervision of respective range forest officers," said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.