Monday, November 27, 2006

Asiatic Lion gets first safari outside Gir

Source: Times of India News Paper Ahmedabad edition Dtd. 26-11-2006
Dhari (Amreli): The wandering lions of the Gir are making the Gujarat Govt. draw plans for a second safari outside the protected Gir sancturay. The officials have identifieed Ambarwadi near Dhari, about 70 Kms from the original sanctuary. This would, in effect, be the first safari outside the Gir sanctuary.
Given that a large population of these wild cats already drifted away from Gir and made the new site their home, officials said many tourists have already started visiting Dhari to see Asiatic Lions, even as it is yet to be given the safari status. Nearly 80,000 people visit Gir every year. Thanks to the good amount of rains received this year, the forest department is expecting about one lakh tourist this year.
Forest officials added that the new site - with Shetrunji river passing and Khodiyar Dam being in vicinity - is ideal for a safari. Besides it will also attract tourists who are on their way to Diu and Tulsishyam, as the new sarari site falls on the way to Diu. Earlier, tourists coming from Ahmedabad, wanting to visit Diu and Gir, would have to take a special detour through Junagadh.
Principal chief conservator of forest (Wildlife) Pradeep Khanna sai, "The sarari would be more of an interpretation centre, where research will also be conducted." The state wildlife board has cleared the proposal and sent it to the central govt. for the final nod.
Conservator of forest, Gir Bharat Pathak said, "The proposed safari park is ideal, as more people want to know about the Asiatic Lions today." He added that the park would be on the lines of the Devaliya in Gir. Apart from Asiatic Lions, information will also be provided on the range of birds spotted in the area.
The new safari will also help in sensitising the local populace about the big cats. There have been number of instances of man-animal conflict given that the lion is a comparatively new migrant here.

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