Friday, August 31, 2007

Cloning Breeds Hope for India's Big Cats


Cloning Breeds Hope for India’s Big Cats

Shenyurt blog

Scientists’ $1m plan to save Asiatic lions and return cheetahs to the wild. Indian scientists have announced ambitious plans to use cloning technology to save the country’s dwindling lion population from extinction and return Asiatic cheetahs, which disappeared from India half a century ago, to the wild. Indian scientists have announced ambitious plans to use cloning technology to save the country’s dwindling lion population from extinction and return Asiatic cheetahs, which disappeared from India half a century ago, to the wild.

A team of a dozen scientists plan a $1m (£547,000) project to save the Asiatic lion, which once roamed India but is now only found in a small forest in western India.

Just 300 of the lions, smaller than their African cousins, are left.

The Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species, based in the south-eastern city of Hyderabad, also plans to revive India’s cheetah population.

The last three, a mother and her two male cubs, were shot by a maharajah during a hunting expedition in 1947.

“Biotechnological intervention for the long-term conservation of species is a sound and most modern way of saving species headed for extinction,” Lalji Singh told scientists at a conference this week.

Cloning has been floated as possible saviour for endangered species since Dolly the sheep was born in Edinburgh.

But many conservationists argue that the high costs of such experiments would be better spent on protecting animals in their native habitats.

India’s scientific community appears undeterred. The loss of the Asiatic lion, a symbol of India, would be a national tragedy. Dr Singh said he had to “save them from extinction”.

First rescued by a prince at the turn of the 20th century, the lions live in the Gir sanctuary in Gujarat.

Dr Singh said in attempts to increase their numbers he had overturned conventional thinking with a series of breakthroughs. The big cats were once thought to be beyond saving as they were descended from a few dozen individuals, and hence vulnerable to disease.

“Some western scientists had predicted that Asiatic lions will become extinct in a few years because of their genetic homogeneity. But this is not correct,” Dr Singh said.

Perhaps more daunting is the prospect of repopulating the Indian plains with Asiatic cheetahs. Described as “critically endangered”, just a few hundred are left in Iran.

Although the project has been mired in red tape for nearly a year, those working on the cheetah project are predicting it will take off.

“There have been some minor delays but we are confident that the government of Iran will lend us some cheetahs,” said Vazir Chand Aurora of India’s Central Zoo Authority.

The use of cutting-edge biotechnology is beginning to yield results throughout the world. US scientists produced the first cloned wild carnivore, an African wildcat, last August.


All these efforts used the technique pioneered by the team behind Dolly. But Dr Singh will not be allowed to use another cheetah as a mother, as the Iranians are unwilling to allow their declining breeding population to be taken abroad.

Instead a female leopard, plentiful in India and a close relation, will be used. There are also hopes that Indian scientists will eventually be able to derive a nucleus, and its DNA, from the apparently dead skin cells of a cheetah.

This blue sky research has many sceptics in India. “To attempt to revive dormant cells in the bone or skin of a dead animal really requires a level of sophistication that does not exist yet,” said Sher Ali of Delhi’s National Institute of Immunology.

Conservation groups in India say attempts to clone endangered species could lead to a cavalier attitude towards preserving the animals.

“We spend millions of rupees trying to clone cheetahs and lions but where will we put them?” asked Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

“We are losing forests thanks to highways and road projects and poachers are killing our tiger population. Cheetahs need antelope to eat and space to hunt. We do not have enough of either.”

Mrs Wright said there were commercial interests involved, which tended to eclipse any focus on protecting biodiversity. “The government has big hopes of biotechnology in India. This is really about science rather than conservation.”

Friday, August 24, 2007

State connection to Gir lion poaching?; Gujarat police taking help of their counterparts in State


State connection to Gir lion poaching?; Gujarat police taking help of their counterparts in State

The Hindu ePaper

Method of trapping lions similar to the one adopted by the Hakki Pikki tribe

Each lion’s claw is priced at Rs. 25,000 in the market

BANGALORE: Investigations have thrown up the possibility of persons from Karnataka being involved in the poaching of lions in the Gir sanctuary in Gujarat. The Gujarat Crime Investigation Department (CID), which is investigating the case, is taking the help of the Karnataka’s CID (Forest Cell) to unravel the network, if any, here.

The Karnataka angle came to light during the Inspector-General of Police, CID Crime and Railways, Gujarat, Keshav Kumar’s presentation on investigation with regard to the poaching of eight lions in Gir sanctuary in March and April. He was participating in a workshop conducted by the Karnataka CID (Forest Cell).

While he was showing the photographs of 50 arrested in three cases of poaching, Inspector-General of Police (CID Forest), Karnataka, K.S.N. Chikkerur intervened to say the accused No. 18 in the list resembled an offender involved in wildlife and forest offences in Karnataka. “He is a resident of Shikarikoppa in Shimoga district,” Mr. Chikkerur said. Mr. Kumar replied that the accused No.18 had given his name as one belonging Bahelia community of Madhya Pradesh and added: “I will give more details about the accused to you.”

Modus operandi:

Mr. Kumar’s presentation implied that the method of trapping lions was similar to the way members of the Hakki Pikki tribe trapped wild animals in Karnataka. Mr. Chikkerur told The Hindu that the way nets were tied at the scen e of the Gir poaching resembled the Hakki Pikkis’ method. “This nomadic tribe travels by foot and [its members] monitor animal movement very closely. They are active in Shimoga, Davangere and Chitradurga,” he said. Mr. Chikkerur said the department would help their Gujarat counterparts in finding the possible link.

During the presentation, Mr. Kumar gave a detailed account of the investigation into three incidents of poaching in Junagadh district of Gujarat, which, he said “was the first investigation into poaching in Gujarat”.

He said the accused, who belonged to Bahelia community, were trading “lion’s claws, bones and flesh.” The accused buried the remains, including the pelt, in several pits. Each lion’s claw is priced at Rs. 25,000 in the market. “While the accused look very poor, many … use expensive mobile phones,” Mr. Kumar said.

Later he told The Hindu that his department was in touch with the Karnataka CID to trace the calls made by the accused to persons in Karnataka. “Amar Kumar Pandey (Additional Inspector-General of Police, Karnataka CID Forest C ell) is looking into it,” he said. Similarly they were also in touch with their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

“We are coordinating with others to unravel the international mafia in poaching,” he said.

Two big cats found dead in Gir


Two big cats found dead in Gir

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

Rajkot: A lioness and leopard were found dead in Gir forests while three leopards were trapped in Amodra village by foresters following the recent killing of a 12 year old boy in the village.

The carcass of the leopard was found in a farm Tulsishyam range in Gir (East) forest late on Wednesday. Post-mortem was done on Thursday and officials say the cause of death was intestinal infection and that all 18 claws of the animal, aged about five, were intact.

A carcass of a lioness was found in the Jasadhar range in Gir (East) on Sunday. The claws are intact and visceral samples were sent for forensic tests in Junagadh though nothing suspicious was detected.

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Two poachers arrested for killing Gir lions


Two poachers arrested for killing Gir lions

Sahara Samay

Khandwa (MP), Aug 23: Two poachers allegedly involved in killing nine lions in Gujarat's Gir sanctuary were arrested with hides of wild cats at Badigaon village near here.

Anand Minter and Ira Khan, natives of Katni district, were nabbed by a Gujarat Police team during a raid this morning.

Several hides were recovered from them. Another accused escaped during the raid and efforts were on to trace him.

Gujarat Police have rounded up 31 people in connection with the killing of lions in the sanctuary in February-March.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cracks on hill create panic among Gir's maldharis


Cracks on hill create panic among Gir’s maldharis

Ahmedabad Newsline

Rajkot, August 20: Three huge cracks on Timbarva Hill in Gir Forest (East) in Amreli district have created panic among maldharis staying nearby. Residents also claim that there was landslide and some trees were uprooted on the hill.

The three cracks, each measuring about 40 feet in depth, look like deep tunnels running from the top to bottom of the hill. This has put the residents of adjacent Rajgaria nes (settlement of maldharis), some 30 km from Dhari, in a fearsome situation.

According to reports, about a week ago, Rana Bhammar, a maldhari from Rajgaria nes, noticed a major change in the landscape of the hill. Bhammar said that it was a mystery as the region had not experienced any tremors or quake.

On Monday, the district administration began assessing the situation and collecting related information. While preliminary reports indicated that largescale soil erosion following heavy rains could have caused the cracks, an expert team comprising a geologist would visit the site on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

“A team of experts will be sent on Tuesday to assess the ground situation. The team will consist of a geologist,” said Amreli Resident District Collector Keyur Sampat. “There is no reason to panic as the situation is absolutely normal,” he added.

The preliminary reports submitted to the collectorate by the mamlatdar called it soil erosion. “The review of the site by the mamlatdar pointed out to the possibility of soil erosion. Though it appears to be soil erosion, it is still too early to draw any conclusion with no expert opinion available yet,” said Sampat.

The region had received an average of 10 inches rainfall daily for five days about a fortnight back. The systematic pattern in which the cracks have emerged has led to panic and confusion among the locals.

“The hill reportedly got divided into equals parts. All the three cracks have emerged from a single point and they are about 40-feet deep,” said Sampat.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Toll-free number to protect wildlife


Toll-free number to protect wildlife

The Hindu

New Delhi: In a bid to check poaching and protecting forest wealth, the Ministry of Environment will soon provide a toll-free number on which wildlife lovers can call and report such illegal activities.

The number will be set up by the Ministry’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, which was created at the behest of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is the head of the National Board for Wildlife.

“The toll-free number will play an important role in encouraging people to report illegal wildlife activities,” a senior wildlife official said here, adding that one of the major causes for rampant poaching was poor monitoring and surveillance.

The pilot project will be first implemented in Delhi on an experimental basis and then extended to other metros depending on the response from the people.

The facility will be available round the clock . — PTI

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hi-tech security for Gir lions


Hi-tech security for Gir lions

Times of India, Pg-5 By Himanshu Kaushik

SASAN: The last abode of the Asiatic lion has finally blinked on the state government’s radar. To check poaching incidents, the state government plans to set up new check posts in the national park, some with close circuit televisions and night vision cameras to capture any suspicious movement in the jungle.

With nine busy roads passing through the sanctuary and the national park, it was necessary to have proper surveillance on these roads.

The government has proposed to set up 18 new checkposts of which five would be equipped with modern gadgets, like close circuit televisions (CCTVs) and night vision cameras.

These would come up in the Jasadhar, Tulsishyam, Dalkhaniya, Jamwada and Bamansa ranges. These ranges cover areas which reported poaching incidents in March and April this year.

Worried about the decreasing number of guards and the increase in the average age of the forest guards, the department has also completed the process of recruiting staff, say officials. Consequently, 81 guards in Gir west and 37 in Gir east would be joining the forest department within a fortnight.

He also said that also by paying a small amount of Rs 1000, the forest department would also have over 300 Van Sahayaks.

These sahayaks would not only keep an eye on the movement of animals but also on the activity of villagers and report directly to the range officers.

The forest department staff will also purchase .12 bore guns for forest guards at the checkposts or at sensitive points, to make up for the shortage of firearms in the field staff.

Additional chief principal conservator of forest Pradeep Khanna said that the check post with CCTVs and night vision cameras would be ready in two months but the strength of the staff would increase within a month as the recruitment process is almost completed.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

State seeks time on poaching petition


State seeks time on poaching petition

Times of India

AHMEDABAD: Worried about the increasing number of lion poaching cases in the state, Chandresh Rathod, a resident of Rajkot, has filed a petition at the Gujarat High Court. He is seeking directions for effective measures to protect the Asiatic lion and also transfer the investigation in the recent poaching cases to CBI.

The matter, which came up for hearing on Thursday, has been adjourned till September 11 after the state government sought time to file its reply about the action taken to prevent incidents of poaching.

The petitioner, through his counsel D R Bhatt, submitted that there have been a series of poaching incidents in the past few months in the Gir wildlife sanctuary — the abode of the rare Asiatic lion.

Responding to the PIL, a division Bench of Justice Y R Meena and Justice A S Dave, had issued notices to the state government, the forest department and the Union forest ministry to explain what measures were being taken to protect lions.

In the petition, Bhatt submitted that despite the presence of police, there were incidents of poaching. He argued that although police have been claiming to be inquiring into the matter, they have not taken any steps to nab the accused.

Rathod submitted that investigation into the incidents of poaching should be handed over to the CBI. He prayed that the high court should issue directions to the state government, the forest department and the Union government to construct parapets around the 9,000 open wells.

The petitioner also demanded that the government be directed to use hi-tech gadgets to curb the poaching menace. He also prayed that the government be directed to take steps to increase lion population in Gir.

Quoting various media reports, it was argued that the poaching incident had taken place about 500 metres off the Babariya range and the government officials were not aware about the incidents.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happy Independence Day






Kishore Kotecha

Royal Enclave Hotel Royal Inn Wildlife Conservation Trust

Rajkot - Gujarat

Monday, August 13, 2007

Symposium at Ahmedabad on "Emerging Conservation Strategies for Endangered Species"

For the first time in Gujarat, Vanishing Herds Foundation (VHF) and Gujarat Forest Department (GFD) jointly organised a two days global symposium on “Emerging Conservation Strategies for Endangered Species” with special focus on Asiatic Lion. The function was held at Karnatvati Club in Ahmedabad on 27th and 28th Feb 2007. The speakers at symposium were experts in the wildlife field from UK, USA, Kenya and India who shared their knowledge, experience and latest technologies in the conservation field.

The symposium was inaugurated by Hon Minister for Forests & Environment Shri Mangubhai Patel by lighting the ceremonial lamp. Mr. P N Roy Chowdhary, Chief Secretary to Gujarat Govt. for Forests & Environment addressed the audience. There after Shri Harshadbhai Patel, founder of VHF gave his speech followed by introduction and information about VHF by Arrow Sinha Roy with the aid of Audio-Visual presentation. After coffee break national and international wildlife celebrities took over the dice.


List of speeches delivered on 27th Feb. 2007

“Bio-diversity & its Conservation in Gujarat” - Shri Pradeep Khanna, PCCF - Wildlife Gujarat Forest Dept.

“Saving Endangered Species” - Mr. Don Hunt, Chairman, Mount Kenya Conservation

“Conservation of Asiatic Lion” – Mr. Bharat Pathak, CF, Junagadh, GFD

“Conserving & Managing the Habitat in the Sanctuaries” – Dr. S A Chauhan (Ex-PCCF, GFD)

“Vulture Conservation” – Mr C N Pandey, Director, GEER Foundation. GFD

“Population Monitoring of Tigers & Lions” – Dr. Y D Jhala, Scientist, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun

“Population Census Monitoring & Behavioral Ecology of Lions” – Dr. Stephanie Dloniak, Head – Mara Carnivore Conservation

“Conservation of Endangered Species” – Dr. M K Ranjitsinhji, Chairman, Wildlife Trust of India, New Delhi

“An Introduction to disease in wild animals” – Dr Roger S Windsor, M.B.E. who has also worked with Joe & George Adamsons of Born Free fame.


List of Speeches delivered on 28th Feb 2007:

“Man – Animal Conflict in Gir Sanctuary” – Mr. H S Singh , CF, Research, GFD

“Man – Animal Conflict in Elephants” – Ms. Winni Kiiru, Project Incharge, Amboseli Park, Born Free Foundation, Kenya.

“Conservation through Mass Education” – Ms. Stefanie Powers, William Holden Wildlife Foundation, Mount Kenya, W/o Late Mr. William Holden and Holywood actress

“Reproduction aids for Endangered Species” – Dr. Betsy L Dresser, Vice-President & Director (Research), Audubon Centre for Reproduction Research in Endangered Species, New Orleans, U.S.A

“You need more than Medicine – Some thoughts on Animal Survival” – Dr. Roger Windsor, MBE

“A presentation on Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary” – Negi H. S., CF, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

“Importance of Animal Shelters for Endangered Species” – Ms Iris Hunt, Mount Kenya Animal Shelter

“Translocation of large Mammals” – Ms. Winni Kiiru, Project Incharge, Amboseli Park, Born Free Foundation, Kenya.


Introduction of speakers


Shri Pradeep Khanna:

Shri Pradeep Khanna is Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF). During his tenure with GFD wildlife of Gujarat has not only been conserved but also has flourished. His contribution to Gujarat forests and wildlife is a landmark achievement.

Don Hunt:

Don Hunt is Chairman of Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. Don Hunt helped save two species of animals which would have become extinct otherwise from Mt. Kenya – They are White Zebra and Mountain Bongo.

Iris Hunt:

She is the founder of Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage – a much needed, privately funded animal shelter and refuge for all and any wild animals with special needs.

Dr. Betsey L. Dresser:

Dr. Dresser is an internationally renowned animal reproductive physiologist. She is director of Audubon Center for Research in Endangered Species. She has lectured around the world and written prolifically on the use of assisted technologies for the preservation of the endangered species.

Dr. Roger S. Windsor MBE

He is consultant to Governments of several countries on Veterinary Science and its branches. He is widely acknowledged as GURU with experience of 40+ years in veterinary sciences. He has designed and equipped some of the foremost veterinary hospitals ranging from Kenya to Vietnam.

Shri Bharat Pathak:

He is Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) for Gir forest since last about six years. Due to his expert management and guidance population of Asiatic Lion has shown steady growth and conservation of biodiversity of Gir has been noteworthy.

Ms. Stefanie Powers

She is founder member and Chairman of The William Holding Wildlife Foundation. By profession she is an Hollywood actress and leads a double role as a hardcore preservationist for animals in the natural world.

Dr. Stephanie Dloniak

She is director of The Mara Carnivore Conservation Project. She holds a dual PhD in Zoology and Ecology. She did her doctorate on Spotted Hyenas in Kenya and currently she is working on conservation biology and behavioral ecology of the large carnivores including lions.

Ms. Winnie Kiiru

She is director of ‘Man-Animal Conflict’ project at Amboseli Park in Kenya by Born Free Foundation. She has successfully trans-located 250 elephants. She emphasizes and promotes simple, cheap and local resource techniques to reduce man-animal conflict.

Shri S. A. Chauhan:

Shri Santak kumar A. Chauhan is Ex-Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Govt. of Gujarat. He also is author of famous book “The Gir Forest” and is considered as one of the few authentic experts on Asiatic Lion.

Dr. Y D Jhala:

He is scientist with Wildlife Institute of India – Dehra Dun. He has done many studies and has published many research papers on Gir and Asiatic Lion. From time to time he has also suggested conservation and protection measures to both State and Central Govt.

Kishore Kotecha’s comments:

Dr. Maradia and I attended this symposium on behalf of Wildlife Conservation Trust. It was a opportunity of us to have been invited to be part of it. For WCT and VHF this became turning point as both the Charitable Trusts joined hands to do activities together.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Captive-bred lions for MP sanctuary


Captive-bred lions for MP sanctuary

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition Page-8, By Nitin Sethi / TNN


New Delhi: Tired of haggling with Gujarat over relocation of the endangered lions of Gir, the environment ministry has now proposed to instead make do with captive-bred big cats to populate the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

Ministry of environment and forest had in September 2006 officially requested Gujarat CM Narendra Modi for translocating two pairs of lions from Gujarat to Kuno Palpur Sanctuary. In response the CM replied that he has asked the concerned departments to take view on the matter. But even while this paper work continued, Gir witnessed a mortality of 17 lions out of which eight were killed by poachers in the past five months.

The Union government had set up a high-powered committee to conduct an on the spot appraisal of the situation to prevent further poaching. The committee’s report was shared with the state government to tighten protection in what is the last home of the free ranging Asiatic Lion.

But realising that Gujarat government was not budging from its traditional opposition to ‘export’ of its pride to another location outside the state, Centre mooted the idea to instead use captive bred lions to populate Kuno Palpur sanctuary.

The sanctuary has been in waiting for long, with government having relocated 24 villages out-side the protected area to welcome the lion to a habitat free of disturbances way back in 1995. But Gujarat government has been stonewalling any transfer of the lions from Gir since then.

Now Centre proposes to use three captive bred lions instead of depending upon Gujarat. The lions will be kept in 15 ha enclosures already available within the sanctuary. The third generation to emerge could be subsequently considered for release in the wild after radio collaring and observing the gradual assertion of wild instincts in the animals.

Releasing captive bred predators is always considered difficult in wildlife biology as the animals have to be trained to hunt in the wild. But this is not the first time that such relocation will be undertaken. There have been four earlier attempts though with far little understanding of captive breeding and release as available now. The most successful attempt was made in 1958-59 when one male and two female lions were tranlocated from the erstwhile Junagarh zoo to Chandraprabha wildlife.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Leopard kills a 12 year boy


Leopard kills a 12 year boy

Divya Bhasker Pg-11 (Translated briefly from Gujarati)

A 12 year old boy was picked-up by a leopard from his home in the Amodra village, 8 km away from Una in Junagadh district.

Pradeep, 12 year old, was son of farm labour Karshanbhai Vadher. He was playing inside his house in the farm land in the evening. When his family members realized that the leopard attacked the boy, they started hue n cry. With this leopard ran away with boy’s body. Villagers followed the animal and after about half an hour, dead body of boy was found on the outskirts of the village. This leopard was seen since last six months in this village area.

Two big cats come under wheels within 24 hrs


Today’s news papers have reported that two big cats have died under wheels of vehicles. The full article is attached at with this email.

I think vehicles are as bad as poachers inside the WLSs. Unknowingly they are killing animals left-n-right. Government spends millions to catch and punish poachers. Can not Govt. do something to stop or control usage of roads that are dangerous to animal’s life? My views to control this are as under: Few measures are such that they bring in money for conservation and few measures do not involve expense of one rupee.

o       Where ever possible roads inside the sanctuary must be closed permanently.

o       All those roads, where closing down is not possible, should be open for vehicles only from 10AM to 3PM. This should strictly apply to state transport buses also.

o       All these roads should have speed breakers at every 100m and that also without any sign board and un-stripped. These roads should never be repaired or widened. The idea is to make traveling on these roads as difficult as possible to discourage people using these roads.

o       Entry fee (just like toll tax for road usage) of Rs.50 or more should be levied which would discourage its usage.

o       Cameras should be set on these roads to find out illegal night time commuters.

o       All check posts must have computerized check-in and check-out system. This will ensure that vehicle which has entered has exited in correct travel time ensuring correct speed of the vehicle..

o       Wherever possible alternate four track roads away from animal movement areas should be developed. This would divert traffic away from roads with animal accidents.

Kishore Kotecha

Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rajkot - Gujarat



Two big cats come under wheels within 24 hrs

Ahmedabad Newsline By: Sibte Husain Bukhari

Junagadh, August 3: Within less than 24 hours, one more big cat — a young lioness, came under the wheels of an unknown vehicle in Gir (east) forest division. The incident occurred on the state highway No. 90 between Chaturi and Khadadhar villages in Khambha taluka early on Friday morning. On Thursday too, a young leopard cub was killed when she came under the wheels of an unknown vehicle.

Deputy Conservator of Forests (Gir east) V G Rana rushed to the spot on being informed about the incident. He sent the carcass to Khambha for a post-mortem examination, which was conducted by the veterinary officer in Khambha.

Rana said, “The post-mortem report confirmed that the two-year-old lioness succumbed to injuries. It had multiple fractures in its right limb and the right side of the head. All the claws have been found intact. We are on the lookout for the vehicle.”

Recent incidents have brought to light the increasing pressures on wildlife in and around the Gir forest, which is the last resort of the Asiatic lion. Though the wild animal population here, particularly that of lions and leopards has considerably increased in the last decade, so has the human population. This has led to an increase in animal-human conflict.

When contacted, Conservator of Forests (wildlife) Bharat Pathak said, “Every year we carry out about 60 operations to rescue lions and leopards in Junagadh wildlife circle comprising the three districts of Junagadh, Amreli and Porbander. More than half of these operations are carried out to save the leopard for which we regularly received complaints from the revenue area.”

According to the last census of lions and leopards carried out in May 2006, the leopard population in Gujarat was estimated at 1,100 plus. About 30 per cent (nearly 380) leopards are found in Junagadh district particularly in Gir, Girnar, forests on the costal belt, reserved forest, vidi land and in protected areas under Junagadh wildlife circle.

When asked about accidental deaths of big cats, which mostly occur while crossing the road, Pathak said, “We have identified three roads which have frequent movement of wild animals. We have written to the government departments concerned to put up speed breakers on these roads, for we cannot stop traffic on them altogether,” he said.

When contacted Deputy Conservator of Forests (Gir-west) B P Pati said, “Whenever we receive complaints about leopards taking shelter in revenue areas particularly sugarcane fields, we trap them and then, release them deep inside the jungle. It happens all year round,” he said.

Rana said, “The leopard population has increased in the last two decades. And wild animals know no boundary such as revenue or forest area.

About a decade ago, there was very little human population around the Gir forest area. But now things are different.

While in 1984 the estimated population of leopards in Gujarat was 498, in 2006 it reached 1,100. And, with animals and human both increasing in numbers there’s bound to be encroachment from either side.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Leopard cub crushed under vehicle; dies


Leopard cub crushed under vehicle; dies

The Indian Express Pg: 3

Junagadh: A female leopard cub was crushed to death after a vehicle ran over it on Savarkundla - Jesar road in Gir (East) forest division late on Wednesday night.

According to forest officials incident took place some two km away from Pithawadi village.

The cub aged about four five months was crushed by an unidentified vehicle, said Deputy Conservator of Forest-Gir(East), Shree V G Rana who immediately rushed to the spot and recovered the carcass.

'We have launched a search to nab the vehicle driver,' he said.

Lion in Junagadh zoo on a hunger strike!


Lion in Junagadh zoo on a hunger strike!

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition By: Nayan Dave / TNN

Rajkot: Staff at Junagadh’s Sakkarbaug zoo, including vets, are at their wits end trying to figure out why a seven-year-old lion, Sawan, is refusing to eat anyting for the past 13 days.

A host of medical tests, blood and urine reports indicate that the physical condition of the inmate is normal. He is not even love sick as there is a mate available.

According to Conservator of forest Bharat Pathak, “Sawan abruptly stopped taking food. Initially we believed that he might be suffering from stomach ache or some minor illness, but when he rejected food for three days from July 17, we put him under medical observation.”

Since July 19, a bottle of glucose is being regularly administered intravenously to the lion and a veterinary doctor is exclusively attending to him.

Pathak said, “We are also administering some antibiotic medicines through injections and vets are constantly monitoring his condition in a bid to find out the reason for his strange behaviour.”

“When one-year-old Sawan was brought to Sakkarbaug zoo in the year 2000, he was injured, having fallen into a well in Visavadar forest range. Earlier, on two occasions, he had rejected food, but that was due to illness,” Pathak added.

Veterinary officer Dr C N Bhuva said, “The blood reports do not indicate anything abnormal medically. However, the immune system of the animal has become weak. The lion is on an antibiotic medicine regime and care to see he gets enough fluid. Blood samples have been sent to a private laboratory for culture test (bacteria identification and drug sensitivity) and the authorities are awaiting the reports hoping that it would be able to pinpoint the reason for the ‘hunger strike’ by the lion”. (Inputs by Divyang Trivedi)

2 lion cubs spotted in Amreli village


2 lion cubs spotted in Amreli village

Times Of India Ahmedabad Edition

Rajkot : Two lion cubs, separated from their pride, have been sighted near Chandgarh village of Amreli district. Some residents of the village, who saw the lion cubs said that the two appeared very weak.

According to Raningbhai Dhandhal, a member of Amreli taluka panchayat, a pride of five lions was living on the outskirts of Chandgarh village for the past few years. But in the recent floods, a lion and a lioness had drowned in Shetrunjay river leaving behind a lioness and two cubs.

The villagers have informed forest department officials about the cubs that were seen wandering around in search of food.Deputy conservator of forest J S Solanki said that forest beat guards were on the field to track the cubs. Once they are trapped, they will be treated by vets and then set free in jungle.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New sanctuary for Asiatic Lion near Vankaner


New sanctuary for Asiatic Lion near Vankaner

Divya Bhasker Pg-16 Rajkot Edition (Brief Translation of Gujarati)

Rampara bid land 20 kms from Vankaner (60kms from Rajkot) has been selected as the new home for Gir lions in a meeting of state officers.

The work will soon begin by translocation one pair from Gir and there after total 6 pairs will be introduced stage wise. Also spotted deer, chinkara and other prey animals will be introduced. Recently check-dams have ensured sufficient supply of water and also as one lake is inside the sanctuary there will be no problem of fresh water in future. Once the report is prepared, work for this move will begin and it is expected that animals will be introduced by beginning of next monsoon. Credit for this goes to Ex-environment minister and royal family member, Digvijaysinh of Vankaner and other forest staff. Construction of veterinary hospital and staff building has already commenced. Also after survey, fencing of one – one hectare land areas will be done.

Similar sanctuaries are also to be done at Barda, Jasdan area and Girnar area. Officers of respective areas have already been instructed to prepare and submit their report.

Pride of seven lions residing in Chandgadh area disappeared after heavy rains.


Pride of seven lions residing in Chandgadh area disappeared after heavy rains…

Divya Bhasker Pg-11 Rajkot Edition (Brief Translation of Gujarati)

Two cubs of about 6 – 8 months age, have been found nomadic without the mother in Chandgadh village of Amerli Taluka. There were 6 – 7 lions in this area before monsoon and have disappeared after monsoon floods. Lastly two lions were reported to have died in flesh floods in Shetrunji River. Out of these two, one was adult female. Was she the mother of these wandering cubs? Nature lovers have demanded to shift these cubs to more secured place.

200 thousand rupees will be awarded to those who catch the poacher


200 thousand rupees will be awarded to those who catch the poacher

Gujarat Samachar Pg-15 Rajkot Edition (Brief Translation of Gujarati)

Government and Forest Department has put more importance is given to public participation to catch the poachers. Department has announced that

Rs.200 thousands will be given if the informer catches the poacher

Rs.300 thousands will be given if he dies in the fight with poachers

Rs.50 thousands if he gives only information

All the medical bills if he is injured in fight with poachers.


Forest staff trap leopard


Forest staff trap leopard

The Times Of India Ahmedabad Edition

Rajkot: Residents of Padariya village near Junagadh heaved a sigh of relief after a leopard, which was camping on the outskirts of the village for almost 12 days, was finally trapped by forest department staff on Saturday.

Sources said that the forest department laid a trap for the seven-year-old male leopard on Friday.

Led by the assistant conservator of forest B T Chadhasania, forest officials first tracked the dispersion area of the big cat on the outskirts of the village to earmark the spot, where the trap could be laid. Later, the forest officials released the leopard into Gir forest much to the happiness of villagers, who had stopped moving freely fearing an attack by the animal.

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