Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court was today informed by the state government that its plan to set up an eco-tourism zone on the outskirts of Gir Asiatic Lions Sanctuary in Amreli district will not affect the movement of lions.
In an affidavit filed before the bench of acting Chief Justice V M Sahai and Justice R P Dohalaria, the state forest department said that lions generally move during the night, and the tourists would be visiting only in the daytime.
"Movement of animals, especially the lions, takes place generally from sunset to sunrise," it said.
Last September, the high court took up the issue suo motu as a PIL and sought clarification on the tourism plans.
The affidavit also said that though the tourist footfall in Gir increased from 1,30,285 in 2006 to 4,58,585 in 2013-14, it did not affect the corridors through which the lions move.
The new eco-tourism zone will only reduce the burden on Sasan Gir area, it added.
The new zone in Jasadhar, Chikalkuda and Khothariya villages will provide employment opportunities to those living in the forest area, it said.
The plan has been approved by the chief wildlife warden according to the provisions of law and tourism activity is permissible in this extended area of forest, which is not a prohibited zone, the government further said.