Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Sasan Gir, is a forest and wildlife sanctuary near Talala Gir in Gujarat, India. It is located 43 km (27 mi) north-east of Somnath, 65 km (40 mi) south-east of Junagadh and 60 km (37 mi) south-west of Amreli. It was established in 1965, with a total area of 1,412 km2 (545 sq mi), of which 258 km2 (100 sq mi) is fully protected as a national park and 1,153 km2 (445 sq mi) as a wildlife sanctuary. In the 19th century, the rulers of Indian princely states used to invite the British colonists for hunting expeditions. At the end of the 19th century, only about a dozen Asiatic lions were left in India, all of them in the Gir Forest, which was part of the Nawab of Junagarh’s private hunting grounds. Today, it is the only area in Asia where Asiatic lions occur and are considered one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species. The Gir ecosystem with its diverse flora and fauna is protected as a result of the efforts of the government forest department, wildlife activists and NGOs. However, faced with a drastic drop in the lion population in Gir, after British viceroys brought to his attention the plight of the lion in Asia, the sanctuary is the jewel of Gujarat’s ecological resources. His son, Nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khan III later assisted in the conservation of the lions whose population had plummeted to only 20 through slaughter for trophy hunting. The seven major perennial rivers of the Gir region are Hiran, Shetrunji, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Godavari and Raval. The four reservoirs of the area are at four dams, one each on Hiran, Machhundri, Raval, and Shingoda rivers, including the biggest reservoir in the area, the Kamleshwar Dam, dubbed ‘the lifeline of Gir’. During peak summer, surface water for wild animals is available at about 300 water points. When drought hits the area following a poor rainfall, surface water is not available at a majority of these points, and water scarcity becomes a serious problem (mainly in the eastern part of the sanctuary). Ensuring the availability of water during peak summer is one of the major tasks of the Forest Department staff. The Asiatic lion’s habitat is dry scrub land and open deciduous forest. The lion population increased from 411 individuals in 2010 to 523 in 2015, and all of them live in or around Gir National Park. The first modern day count of lions was done by Mark Alexander Wynter-Blyth, the principal of Rajkumar College, Rajkot and R.S. Dharmakumarsinhji sometime between 1948 and 1963, probably early in his tenure as the principal during that period. Gir National Park and Sanctuary does not have a designated area for tourists. However, to reduce the tourism hazard to the wildlife and to promote nature education, an Interpretation Zone has been created at Devalia within the sanctuary. Within its chained fences, it covers all habitat types and wildlife of Gir with its feeding-cum-living cages for the carnivores and a double-gate entry system.