The men folk of African primitive tribe, Siddi, who were brought here as slaves by the Portuguese, are being trained to become eco-guides of the Asiatic lions last abode -- Gir Sanctuary -- by the Gujarat government.
This is a part of the project initiated by the state Tribal Development department in order to improve livelihood, housing, access to safe drinking water and electricity, increase literacy, health facilities and roads to the five major primitive Tribal Groups (PTG) of Gujarat, namely Kolgha, Kathodi, Kotwalia, Padhar and Siddi.
"Looking at the concentration of Siddi tribe near the Gir forests in Junagadh, we thought of training them to become eco-guides, which will help them take advantage of the growing eco-tourism in the state, especially around Gir forests region," Secretary, Tribal Development A M Tiwari said.
"As such we would be working with five primitive tribes in the state, but we have started with the training of Siddis, while the project with others is in the pipeline," he said, adding that the project for Siddi community was designed with focus on potential of eco-tourism in the area.
"This project is also aimed at conservation and development of the Siddi community," he said.