The first in our series of guest blog posts comes from Ajay Parmar – a Wildlife Photographer from India. In the below posts he writes passionately about the little-known Asiatic lion.
The globally famed Asiatic Lion aka the Indian Lion, Asian Lion or Persian Lion is a subspecies of Panthera Leo Persica. Gir National Park in Gujurat state is the only place in the India where you can see Asiatic Lions in wild surroundings and capture images of them in their natural habitat. Asiatic Lions are smaller and lighter than their African counterparts, though are equally aggressive in nature. In the past, Asiatic Lions were classified into three different types – Bengal, Arabian and Persian Lions.
Whilst Gir is renown for the Asiatic lion, there are actually a variety of big cats found in the forests of Gujarat, whilst Indian national parks are home to five species of big cats: The Asiatic Lion, the Bengal Tiger, the Indian Leopard, the Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard. In earlier times Asiatic Lions had a range that spanned from the North-Eastern parts of the Indian subcontinent all the way to the Mediterranean. Over the years their wild habitat has been reduced by excessive hunting, water pollution, population expansion and a decline in natural prey.
The Forest Department of the Gujarat Govt facilitates visitors to watch and capture photos of lions through the Lion Safari Service in the Sasan village. You can visit a safari park for photography in an open vehicle along with forest guide after gaining permission from the Forest Department. There are three safari schedules are available for visitors to take an opportunity to visit them. Apart from Asiatic Lions there are numerous different sized mammals, as well as migrant birds to watch out for in the local dry deciduous forest. Leopard, Striped Hyena, Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, some Antelopes, monkeys and small mammals like Mongoose, Porcupine etc. are frequently seen, whilst on birds include Eagles, Owls, Flycatchers and Pitta. (Brush up on your wildlife spotting skills by reading our guide.)
If you’re planning on trying to photograph Asiatic Lions in their natural habitat you’ll need to be very careful about your position and the movement of the lion. Your alertness can produce some awesome Asiatic Lion pictures and lion photos for your portfolio. If you have professional camera having long zoom range, you can snap some amazing Indian birds as well.
Must Do Things Whilst In Gir National Park:
– Prior permission from forest office to enter the national park
– Wearing the right safari clothes increase your chances of photography
– Keep binoculars and a camera with you
Where To Stay When Asiatic Lion Spotting:
There are many good hotels and resorts are located in surrounding of Sasan village at affordable charges. Typical Gujarati food and entertainment in the form of Dhamal dance from Siddi’s group are added benefits of traveling to the land of Indain lions.
Photos of Asiatic Lions:
Taken on location by our very own guest blogger, Ajay Parmar.
Catch Ajay on his wildlife photography website