The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (also known asSasan-Gir, and गिर वन) is a forest and wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat, India. Established in 1965, with a total area of 1,412 km2 (545 sq mi) (about 258 km2(100 sq mi) for the fully protected area thenational park and 1,153 km2 (445 sq mi) for the Sanctuary), the park is located 43 km (27 mi) north-east of Somnath, 65 km (40 mi) south-east of Junagadh and 60 km (37 mi) south-west ofAmreli.It is the sole home of theAsiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) and is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supportedspecies. The ecosystem of Gir, with its diverse flora and fauna, is protected as a result of the efforts of the government forest department, wildlife activists and NGOs. The forest area of Gir were the hunting grounds of the Nawabs of Junagadh. However, faced with a drastic drop in the lion population in Gir, Nawab Sir Muhammad Rasul Khanji Babi declared Gir as a "protected" area in 1900. His son, Nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khan III later assisted in the conservation of the lions whose population had plummeted to only 20 through slaughter for trophy hunting.