Sunday, March 04, 2007

Big cats (Asiatic Lion) 'camping out', Gir villagers kept In

Source: Indian Express Date: 3-3-2007


ONCE again, a group of four lions ( Asiatic Lions ) has made their den at a village outskirt, thus stopping the villagers from venturing out in their agricultural land. Since last one week, four lions have been camping at Karia village, located at some 20 km from Junagadh. The village is situated on the periphery of dense Girnar forest.


On January 4, a group of four lions had reportedly created havoc for about 20 minutes, after entered Dervan village near Junagadh. However, this time the big cats are reportedly at safer distance from human habitation. Villagers say lions are seen roaming at about half a kilometre distance from residential area and killed a bullock and a blue bull. Chandu Patel, a farmer said, “Since last six days, four lions are roaming in the surrounding area of the village and the villagers can’t go out for work in agriculture land, even during day time.” This when the agricultural season is at its peak.


A month ago, Karia villagers took to agitation demanding daytime power supply, due to constant threat of wild animals. Authorities had accepted their demand, but since last one week and that too without any intimation, the power supply have continued on the old pattern at night time. In fact, as a result of this, farmers could not meet the water demand for their standing crops, Patel said.


Range forest officer (Girnar north range) S K Jadeja said, “Animals have made kill at the village outskirt but there is nothing to worry. Forest guards are there on forest-revenue border.” He said that lions roam about in the revenue area surrounding Girnar forest, make kill here and then go back to the forest. Its nothing new or abnormal.


There are about 20 villages surrounding Girnar forest areas in 1-5 km range. Lions, in search of food, venture around these villages particularly during night. “People (read villagers), sometimes make foul cry to get their daytime power demand fulfilled,” he added.


According to forest report, since 1996, lions have made their permanent home here in Girnar forest whose estimated population is around 25 to 28. Besides, more then 30 leopards and hundreds of herbivores, including spotted deer, four horned-antelope and blue bull have been sheltering here in 200 sq km reserved forest.

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