247 pages, colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w maps, tables
Asiatic Lion: On the Brink is a comprehensive book about an area that celebrates unique symbiotic relationship between man and the most magnificent species of cat family, the lion. Exhaustive research and statistical analysis exemplifies that a country, which shares three percent of world's land area with twenty percent of world's population, some aura or religious belief or perceptions are a must to sustain the green cover.
Gir, located in the Saurashtra peninsula of Gujarat state, is renowned world over as the most successful conservation saga and Asiatic Lion: On the Brink is pioneer in resurrecting Gir as it was, as it is and as it will be under multifarious influences. It is difficult to deny that the forest has been preserved because of 'the king' yet even the lion's awesome presence cannot overwhelm the pulchritude of the 'changing faces of Gir'. Though the beauty of the book lies in the ease with which historical facts are entwined with scientific basis to give an in-depth and comprehensive picture.
Knowledge of the bygone years is a must to refrain from committing the same mistakes and evolve logical strategies for future. Relocation is one such highly debated issue that assumes new parameters with the findings of this book. Authors debate if it is just sufficient for third world countries like ours to have an area 'scientifically accurate with the right temperature, vegetation, prey base etc.' for the relocation of an endangered species like lion? Should we also not take into consideration the most imperative yardstick- of man-animal conflict in the proposed area and then weigh the pros and cons to come to a conclusion?
In addition the chapters trace different aspects of Gir and animal world through anecdotes in a way that it seeps down the conscience and tugs the strings of heart. Most significant of all is the scientific and historical explanation of well-known but hardly explored perceptions like 'lion the king, taming the king, lion the man-eater and traces of African origin in Asiatic lion. This is followed by the evolutionary history of lion and the eventual developments leading to the name Panthera leo persica.
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Asheem Srivastav and Suvira Srivastav, the authors, is a husband and wife team where Asheem is presently the Deputy Inspector General- wildlife in the Ministry of Environment and Forest and has been associated with Gir National Park and Sanctuary as it's Park Director. The foundation of this book was laid when he gained his Masters in Zoology from University of Delhi in 1979 and joined Indian Forest Service with Gujarat cadre in 1982, Since then he has written 21 research papers for national as well as international journals and was bestowed with Brandis award by Indian Forester. As a Park Director he was responsible for the implementation of world Bank aided Eco-development project and his exemplary service in this field has even been acknowledged and appreciated by the Bank. He happens to be the founder member of the Academy of Forest and Environment Science, ICFRE, Dehradun and is also a member of BNHS, He has received training in Forestry and Natural Resource Management and Participatory Management at University of Edinburgh and Wolverhampton, U.K.
Suvira Srivastav, who has been an Environment Columnist, did her Masters In English literature from Chandigarh University, and went on to acquire Post-graduate diploma in Business Management. Currently she is doing a course in journalism from Manchester, England. Besides, she contributes extensively on conservation and environment issues to leading dailies, International, National and Government publications.