The park remained closed for nearly four months from June 16 to October 10 this year on account of the mating season, said, Sudeep Kumar Nanda, Principal Secretary (Environment and Forests).
As per the animal Census in April, there were 411 wild cats in the park including 162 female lions, of which 75 had matured for sexual activity, he said.
According to wildlife experts, 10 female lions give birth to 23 cubs on an average. “It is difficult to say anything about their survival rate. However, we are expecting about 165 new cubs. If the mating has been successful, a gestation period of 3.5 months follows and new ones are likely to arrive sometime in November and December, bringing in a lot of visitors,” Sandeep Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests, said.
Spread in an area of 1412 sq km, the Gir comprises deciduous forests, evergreen vegetation, thorn scrub and grasslands. It is a natural habitat to leopards besides the Asiatic Lions.
The Wildlife Sanctuary has witnessed an increased inflow of tourists after it opened on October 10 following superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s visit for the ad shoot of Gujarat Tourism here.