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.
The top court was informed that nine states and Union Territories (UTs) have filed affidavits giving requisite details, including on the procedure adopted in rejecting the claims of tribals over the forest land.
Gir forest and other protected areas spread across Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts are the last natural abode of Asiatic lions in the world. Entering the Gir-protected area without due permission is an offence.
In an oral order given on Thursday, on the basis of a report on the rising deaths of Asiatic lions in the world’s only sanctuary for the species in the state, a division bench of Justices S R Brahmbhatt and A P Thaker asked the state government to file its reply, and posted the matter for further hearing on July 11.
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.