Friday, July 06, 2007

Flash floods kill 85 blackbucks, 2 (Asiatic) Lions


Flash floods kill 85 blackbucks, 2 (Asiatic) Lions

Ahmedabad Newsline By Bashir Pathan

There is a possibility that more dead blackbucks can be found once the flood waters start receding.

Gandhinagar, July 5: Flash floods have claimed the lives of around 85 blackbucks in areas outside the Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar in Bhavnagar district (and two lions have been found dead along the Shetrunji River). This has forced the state forest department to take precautionary measures in and around the Park areas. Meanwhile, in the peripheral areas of Gir National Park and Sanctuary, two lions have died in flash floods.

A senior official attached to the Blackbuck National Park said, “The forest staff has been able to recover the bodies of at least 85 animals. The possibility that more dead blackbucks can be found when the flood waters start receding cannot be ruled out.”

As the reports of death of blackbucks reached the state forest headquarters in Gandhinagar, the department directed Bharat Pathak, conservator of forest (wildlife), Junagadh, to rush to Velavadar and oversee the precautionary measures being taken at the Park and its surrounding villages.

Pathak said that no blackbuck has died in the Park due to the torrential rains and that all the casualties have occurred in the villages outside the Park. “I am camping in Velavadar at present. Fodder is being provided to a large number of blackbucks, which have taken shelter on the raised platforms created by the department in and around the Park,” he added.

Pathak further said that several villages located in the vicinity of the Park, including Nari, Ganeshgadh, Madhiya, Savainagar, Narmad and Kheta Khatli are still under water. Around 2,000 blackbucks live in the Park and as many are reported to be living in the surrounding villages.

Meanwhile, two lions have been found dead along the Shetrunji river because of heavy rains in the region. One of the lions was found between Chandgadh and near Amba village in Liliya Taluka village in Amreli taluka Distric, while the other was found in Chiroda village in Palitana Taluka in Bhavnagar district. (One was lioness aged about 8 – 9 years and was said to be living with her two cubs and male lion in Lililya village area. Nature lovers have demanded to search for this lions. Few News papers including Times of India have reported only one death but forest dept. has confirmed death of 2 so far).


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