The Gujarat Forest Department has recently announced that the number of Asiatic lions in the state has gone up till 674 from 523 that were reported in a Lion Census done five years ago.
Lion population of Gujarat: The Gujarat Forest Department has recently announced that the number of Asiatic lions in the state has gone up till 674 from 523 that were reported in a Lion Census done five years ago. What is interesting about this year’s announcement is that the number was not estimated via Census but some observational method called Poonam Avlokan. Now the question is what exactly is this Poonam Avlokan exercise.
According to a report by the IE, the exercise is carried out monthly and in-house every full moon. On this day, all the officers and field staff members assess the number of lions for 24 hours across various areas within their respective jurisdictions. The exercise this time involved around 10 districts where lions have been spotted over the years by 13 forest divisions. The exercise took place this Friday in the afternoon from 2 pm to Saturday 2 pm and the forest department announced the lion number announced yesterday was based on this method. All these divisions are also a part of Lion Census too, the report said.
It is to note that the exercise is a bit different from how usually the Lion Census is taken. There are around 2,000 experts, officers and volunteers that were a part of 2015 Lion Census. This year, around 1,400 forest staff members as some experts observed the population via Poonam Avlokan exercise. It is to note that census still remains a more accurate way of identifying lion population. The report highlighted that it is done in more than two days and has a preliminary and a final census. It includes using a block counting method. The census enumerators are stationed at some water points which signals the number of lions drinking water at least once in a day.
This year, the report explained that Lion Census (which is taken after every 5 years) was not taken as the state forest authorities had sent many officials to policing duties in order to ensure a proper lockdown to curb the transmission of Coronavirus.