The Gir National Park was established on 18th September, 1965, as a Forest Reserve, primarily to conserve the Asiatic lion. The total area under national park status is about 2,450 hectares. It is located in the Junagarh District of Gujarat, about 65 km south-east of Junagarh city, and 90 km east of Keshod Airport, in the Kathiawar (Saurashtra) Peninsula. Sasan, with a forest rest-house, is the headquarters of the sanctuary.
Gir is the only home in India of the Lion of which there are nearly 300 in the park. The terrain is rugged with low hills and the vegetation is mixed deciduous, with stands of Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Tendu and Dhak trees, interspersed with large patches of grasslands. On the hills of the trees are sparse and stunted.
Within the sanctuary, there are numerous human settlements of cattle herders called Maldharis with an estimated 20,000 head of livestock (which, incidentally, forms a significant part of the Lion's diet).
Birds in the park include the Paradise Flycatcher, Bonelli's Eagle and Painted Sandgrouse. Three unusual reserves, the Nalsarover Lake and Sanctuary, where large numbers of water-birds can be seen; the bare saline flats of the Rann of Kutch, incredibly the home of the Indian wild ass and the spectacular Flamingo island where nesting colonies of flamingoes are to be seen, make Gujarat an exciting place for wildlife enthusiasts.