Documentary reveals Gir lions co-existing with humans

Kolkata, June 30 (IANS) Lions roaming among humans may be a scary thought for many, but to those who live close to the Gir National Park, it is a matter of pride, says filmmaker Praveen Singh, whose documentary “India’s Wandering Lions” captures the incredible tolerance of the people to the big cats.

The one-hour film premieres on July 6 at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

The documentary shows how an increase in the numbers of Asiatic lions have forced the cats to spill over the borders of the Gir National Park and how one of nature’s most majestic predators have found a way to become an integral part of the farming community in Gujarat.

“We wanted to show how a number of lions are living outside the national park and understand and reveal how they are surviving.

“The lions seemed to be doing well and the people seemed to tolerate them. You might have one or two incidences in a year, but by and large most people see it as a matter of pride that lions are living among them,” Praveen Singh told IANS.

Tracking the lions for over two-and-a-half years, the filmmaker and his team interacted with farmers, NGOs and forest guards.

“The farmers are positive about it. A lot of farmers say if the lions are there, the deer won’t come to their fields, so it helps them in a certain way,” he said.

Through the show, viewers will get a close look at wildlife through the deployment of special thermal, starlight, infrared and hidden cameras.

Praveen Singh said one of the major challenges during filming was following and sighting lions since they are mainly nocturnal.

Asiatic lions are endangered and over 500 are found in the Gir forests.


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