The rare Asiatic lions in Gujarat's Gir forests and surrounding regions will have radio collars fitted around their necks this month, similar to the lions of the African savannah and the Serengeti.
According to Chief Conservator of Forests in Junagadh D.T. Vasavada, since June 11 up to now more than 25 representative lions of as many prides have been fitted with radio collar devices imported from Germany.
A radio collar is a wide band of machine-belting fitted with a small radio transmitter and battery. The transmitter emits a signal at a specific frequency that can be tracked from up to five kilometres away.
When trying to locate a particular collared lion, the researcher dials the appropriate frequency and drives while listening for the beep signal. A directional antenna is mounted on top of the vehicle, and once the signal is detected, the researcher simply drives in the direction where the signal is loudest.
"This will help the forest department in monitoring of the group's movement, research, knowing the territory of the animal and other details. From Sasan, a high tech monitoring unit will monitor their activities. A total of 75 radio collars have been imported from Germany for the purpose," he added.
Vasavada said as all the members of a pride of lions normally remain within a distance of around half to one kilometer of one another, the location of the representative beast would in fact give the location of an entire pride.
Representatives of the entire lion landscape in and around Gir in Saurashtra region of Gujarat spread in the five districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Botad would be radio collared in around a month's time.
According to the last lion census of 2015, there were 523 male, female and lion cubs in the Gujarat forests.
During floods and other calamities and spread of diseases, the radio collars would be a big help for forest teams. The radio collars would also be helpful in letting the lion trackers know if any group of lions was close to the railway tracks or roads.