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By: Sudipta Mitra
254 pages, Maps, col plates
India holds the unique distinction of having a combination of tigers and lions since the prehistoric epoch. The Asiatic lion is on the verge of extinction and is enlisted in the Red Data Book of IUCN as "critically endangered". The ultimate habitat of the Asiatic lion has been preserved and protected for centuries in Gir Forest in Gujarat. The vibrant culture of Junagarh had an overwhelming influence over the forest. The ancient settlers still living inside the forest are a cosmopolitan admixture originating from Iran, Baluchistan, Africa and northern India. The later migrants, in course of time, drove out the original inhabitants-the Bhils and Koles. A comparative account of the Maldharis of Gir and the ethnic Maasais of Africa has evolved a remarkable facet, which was never discussed before. This enchanting account of living in harmony with the wilderness is interwoven with a number of anecdotes of their hardship, struggle for existence, dependency on the forest for livelihood and their occupation as pastoralists.
The book is not just a text describing a species, but also captures a fleeting glimpse of all cross-sections of the colourful forest. Written in an archetypal style with 32 coloured photographs, this book will be highly informative and useful for all wildlife enthusiasts.
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