Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary is the last abode to the surviving population
of the Asiatic Lion in the wild. The park comprises 1412 sq. km of deciduous forest
interspersed with semi-evergreen and evergreen flora, acacia, scrub jungle, grasslands
and rocky hills. Fed by perennial and seasonal rivers and streams, the sanctuary
has large water bodies like the Kamleshwar Dam that are good for marsh crocodiles,
reptiles and birds.
Gir has about 400 lions and 300 leopards, making it as one of the major 'big cat' concentrations in India. Deer such Sambar & Chital, Antelopes such as Blue Bull, Four-horned antelope, Indian gazelle and Wild Boar are in abundance in Gir. Jackal, Striped Hyena, Jungle and Rusty-spotted cat, Langur, Porcupine, Black-naped Hare are among the other mammals of Gir.
Gir has a large population of marsh crocodile, which is among the 40 species of reptiles and amphibians recorded in the sanctuary.
The park checklist has over 250 species of birds. Rare species such as Lesser Florican and the Sarus Crane are recorded in the grasslands along the periphery of the sanctuary.
When the site was first excavated by Maud and Ben Cunnington in 1930, they were interpreted as a timber equivalent to Stonehenge . 162 postholes were excavated, some with double posts and the remains of postpipes still visible. Later interpretations have made much of The Sanctuary's link with Avebury via the Avenue and suggested that the two sites may have served different but complementary purposes. The timbers may have supported a roof of turf or thatch and been a high status dwelling serving the ritual site at Avebury, although this can only be conjectural. Another interpretation is that it served as a mortuary house where corpses were kept either before or after ritual treatment at Avebury. Neolithic pottery and animal bone were recovered by the Cunningtons, indicating that the site saw some degree of occupation activity. Recent excavation by Mike Pitts has given greater credence to the Cunningtons' original interpretation of freestanding posts.