|You’ve seen the big cats in their enclosures. Now prepare to see the majestic lions and tigers in their natural habitat while you stay inside a secure safari van. The rare Asiatic lions from the Gir forest of Gujarat roam through the thirty acres of the safari park’s dense scrubs, open Savannah grasslands, and rocky plateaus. The pride of lions usually prefers the shade of the Lantana bushes and the protection of the Acacia trees.
Lion, © R. Nair
The tiger safari, covering an area of forty-two acres, is home to a healthy streak of tigers – the national animal of India. Surrounded by an eighteen foot high wall, the safari park provides a unique opportunity to see the awesome felines without leaving the confines of the city. Adult tigers are fiercely territorial. A tigress may have a territory of 20 km² while the territories of males are much larger, covering 60 to 100 km². While females can at times be aggressive towards other females, their territories can overlap and they do tolerate each other. Lions and tigers live from ten to fifteen years in the wild but can reach twenty five in captivity.
On your journey through the safari park, don’t miss the endangered sloth bears perched up on the trees. Although their name may suggest otherwise, the sloth bear can easily outrun a human but generally avoids people like most wild animals. The sloth bear’s fondness for honey has earned it the nickname “honey bear”. The safari also is home to a herd of mighty bison. Bison can reach up to 6 feet in height and 10 feet in length, and weigh 400 kg to 900 kg. Make sure to plan for the safari when you visit the zoo.
Sloth bear, © M. Hasan