Junagadh: A three-member central environment and forest department committee is on a two-day visit to Gir sanctuary interacting with villagers in the wake of incidents of poaching of eight lions in Gir. The committee visited various areas under the Gir sanctuary and also surrounding areas, which is a last abode of the Asiatic Lions, forest officials said. The committee also visited local settlements inside the sanctuary and interviewed the cattle grazers living there and also interacted with the village head and villagers residing on the fringe areas of the sanctuary where about 40 per cent of lions are residing, officials said.
The committee member visited Babariya range also where the six of the eight lions were poached and the killers took away their bones and claws. Officials said the terms of reference of the committee is to go into various aspects of poaching, examine the natural course deaths of the lions in the last three years, and to make a comprehensive note on reviewing security for these protected species. The committee has been asked to appraise the Centre for protection strategy for the lions taking into account the mortality of lions during the last three years.
The committee comprises western region deputy director (wildlife) Meeta Banerjee, northern region deputy director (wildlife) Sanotsh Tiwari and joint director (wildlife) Pramod Krishnan.(PTI)