11-04-2007 Ahmedabad Newsline - Sreenivas Janyala
With lion prides missing from some areas in Gir, unofficial census of lions begins, and that too, less than 2 years after official census
Ahmedabad, April 10: The State Forest Department has launched a massive exercise to conduct an unofficial census of lions in the
“We are anxious because at a couple a places where lion prides were expected to be seen (as it was their territory), were not found there. It is possible they moved out for some reason. But it is a cause for anxiety until they are found. We are scanning the entire Gir forest area minutely to find out if the prides are intact or not,”
One instance is of the
Chief Minister Narendra Modi, after a quick look at the modus operandi and unimpressive investigation reports during an unscheduled visit to Gir last week, is also learnt to have asked for an urgent head count of the lions.
While the forest department officials are sure that nothing untoward happened in the core Sanctuary area, they do not want to commit themselves about the fringe areas. “A bout 40 per cent of Gir lions reside on the fringes of the Sanctuary and often venture into unprotected zones, which has always been a cause of concern because here they have often drowned in blind wells or died because of various other reasons. But we were not prepared for the threat of professional and meticulous poaching. The evidence indicating to the involvement of Katnis, who were responsible for poaching in Sariska, is frightening. We have to meet this threat squarely and for that we have to know where we stand now?” Roychowdhury said after returning from a high-level meeting in
It is a tremendous task: