|Maldhari are devoutly religious pastoral communities which has become an integral part of the Gir forests for over 125 years. They live in settlement called ‘nesses’ inside the forests and are engaged in the occupation of cattle rearing.|
The maldhari and their livestock exerted negative impact on Gir habitat due to consumptive use of both forest product and fodder. The practice of cutting and lopping of trees also affected the vegetation. In the fodder scarce year of 1972, there were 45000 cattle inside Gir forests competing with the resident ungulate and lion population spreading disease and morbidity. The Gir Lion Sanctuary Project launched in 1972 thus envisaged the relocation of maldharis outside Gir.
There were 845 maldhari families with a population of 4802 individuals and 16852 domestic livestock resident in 129 nesses in the Gir forests. 592 families have already been shifted outside Gir. However the program suffered due to resource crunch and non availability of facilities at the relocation site and subsequently the relocation came to a halt.
There are no maldhari settlements inside the Gir National Park.