Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SC orders CBI enquiry into the poaching of Gir lion


SC orders CBI enquiry into the poaching of Gir lion


New Delhi, Oct 29: The Supreme Court today issued notices to centre and State of Gujarat on a petition seeking CBI enquiry into the illegal poaching of lions in Gir sanctuary in Gujarat.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran issued notices on a petition filed by Elephant G Rajendran, an advocate, who alleged that the lions were being killed as their bones are in big demand in China and these bones and jaws of the lions fetch a hefty price for poachers who indulge in this illegal killing of animals with active connivance of forest officials.

Out of 1,421 sq km forest area, Gir lion sanctuary is bred in 300 sq km area and is the only sanctuary for the Asiatic lions.

According to the petitioner, there are 300 wells without parapet walls and many lions have fallen in the wells in search of water. In 2000, there were 359 lions in the sanctuary and now only 350 are left. Recently, three lions were found dead under mysterious circumstances in the sanctuary.

The petitioner has urged the court to order an investigation either by CBI or state CBCID to punish the culprits and also to save the king of the forest from being extinct.

SC notice to Centre, Gujarat on lion deaths


The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses of the Centre and Gujarat government on a petition seeking steps in Gir forest to contain large scale poaching and to fence open wells to save Asiatic lions from extinction.

Advocate E G Rajendran argued before a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran that poaching was rampant in the Gir forests, the last habitat of lions in Asia, as animal parts were in great demand in neighbouring China.

He said the lion population, which was estimated at several thousand a hundred years ago, had fallen to 359 in 2000. The number was still shrinking due to poaching and the presence of open wells in the Gir forest, he said.

"The reserve forest contains more than 300 wells without parapet walls and due to inadequate provision of water, the lions jump into these wells to quench their thirst only to meet a watery grave," he said.

He said around 8,000 people were living inside the sanctuary and sought a direction to the state government to immediately rehabilitate them outside the Gir forest.

Lioness attacks forester in Devaliya Park in Sasan


Lioness attacks forester in Devaliya Park in Sasan

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

A lioness in Devaliya Park has attacked a forester while he was showing the pride to tourists. It is for the first time that such an incidence has happened in Devaliya Park. The reason for such behaviour or attack is not known. Forester is Dhirubhai Hamirbhai Dhabhi and is 45 years old. The attack was constantly for 10 minutes. His fellow collegues sprayed dust in to the eyes of lioness and with much difficulty forester was saved.


A man caught wearing Tiger Claws from Junagadh


A man caught wearing Tiger Claws from Junagadh

Divya Bhasker and Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

A south – Indian man wearing tiger claws was working as labour in Vinayak Solvent on Dhoraji Road in Junagadh. On receiving information CF Shri M M Sharma send Forest department staff and arrested the man. Tiger claw was also recovered and sent to FSL for further investigation.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Court rejects accused's bail plea, paves way for narco-analysis test


Court rejects accused’s bail plea, paves way for narco-analysis test

Ahmedabad Newsline By Sibte Hussaqin Bukhari

Junagadh, September 25; considering the gravity of the incident, in which five lions died due to electrocution near Dhari on October 19, the Dhari court on Wednesday, dismissed the bail plea of all the four accused and sent them to judicial custody. Besides, the court has also given nod to conduct narco-analysis test on the prime accused.

On October 19, Forest officials had arrested four accused and booked them under various provision of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The next day, the accused were produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) at Dhari which put them in the custody of Forest Department for three days.

After completion of the remand, the accused were again produced before the court on October 24. The accused are _ Durlabhaji Vadodaria, his son Purshottam, Ravji Hirani and Bhala Parmar.

According to details, prime accused Durlabhaji had put up an electric fence surrounding his agricultural land to protect the standing crop from wild animals. His farm is located on the outskirts of Prempara village, some two km away from Dhari town, where the headquarters of Gir East Forest Division is located.

Five lions, including three lionesses of about 8 to 10 years of age, and two cubs of less than one year of age, were electrocuted and died on the spot. Later in an attempt to destroy the evidences, Durlabhaji and his son Purshottam buried the carcasses with the help of other two accused in their agriculture field.

According to Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki, “A total of 88 claws of the five lions were recovered while two claws are still missing. The accused’s possible connection with Madhya Pradesh tribal gang is under scanner.”

Lion is enlisted as Schedule-1 animal under the Wildlife Act, and killing of this wild animal is a non-bailable offence. And the punishment for the offence ranges from three to seven years of imprisonment and with a fine of Rs 25,000, Solanki said.

“We suspect Durlabhaji is hiding the truth. It requires more then half a dozen persons to bury five carcasses. So there may be more than four people involved in this offence,” Solanki said.

The court accepted investigation officer’s plea to conduct prime accused’s narco-analysis test. “We have already intimated the forensic officials for the test, and after receiving the date, we will proceed for accused’s narco-analysis test,” Solanki added.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Narco Test granted for main accused in five lions electrocution


Narco Test granted for main accused in five lions electrocution

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Five lions were killed due to electric shock in fencing of a farm owned by Durlabh Tapu Vadodariya. 72 years old Durlabh was caught along with three others. They all were remanded for four days but did not give out the facts. Forest department has many un-answered questions which include

Does Durlabh have connections with MP poachers?

It is doubtful that five lions have died in one night. When did lions die?

It is not possible that lions were buried in one single night by one weak old man.  How many more people were involved?

This incidence came to light but how many other wild animals died before this incidence with the electric shock? Farmer has agreed that he had been putting electric current since long.

Where are two claws?

With this all information still to be obtained and farmer not supporting the investigation, forest department demanded for narco test.. Looking to seriousness of the incidence, Hon. Judge of Dhari Court, Shri I I Pathan granted the permission.

Four accused in lion electrocution case presented before courti; Bail application rejected



Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)


Four people along with farm owner were caught for killing five lions by electrifying the fence. They were on remand with forest department which finished today. They we presented before the court for hearing of bail application. The names of these four accused are Durlabh Tapu Vadodaria, his son Purushotam Durlabh Vadodaria, Khima Bharwad and Ravji Chhagan Hirani.



Bail rejected for four accused

Divya Bhasker

The other Gujarati news paper Divya Bhasker reports that Forest department is unsuccessful in getting any useful information from the four caught. News article further poses doubtful questions that Is it possible that all five lions were electrocuted in one night? Is it possible to bury all five caracass in one night?



Bail rejected for Two poachers caught with metal traps

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Two caught One more article in Gujarat Samachar today says that remand of two poachers that were caught last week with traps is over. They are handed over to jail as their bail application is rejected.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Two more big cats fall into well


Two more big cats fall into well

Indian Express By:Sibte Hussaqin Bukhari

Junagadh, October 20: After the death of three lionesses and two lion cubs by electrocution, two more big cats have died in Gir. This time, they fell victim to open wells.

According to official reports, two cubs and a lion fell into a well in Gir (West) forest division. While one cub and the lion were rescued, the second cub died.

A leopard, too, died a few days ago after falling into a well under Gir (East) forest division.

According to Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir West) B P Pati, a group of three lions — two cubs and a lion — was roaming in a revenue area and fell into an abandoned well on the outskirts of Madhavpur village in Talala taluka. The landowner, Purshottambhai who is a farmer, noticed the incident and informed the forest officials. But before any rescue could reach the spot, the lion, aged about nine, managed to come out of the well on its own. While the officials were rescuing a cub, the other died in the meantime.

In a separate incident, on the outskirts of Aamodra village near Una town, a leopard fell into an open well and died. According to officials, the incident took place about a week ago but it came to light only on Saturday. The well is located in an agricultural land owned by a farmer, Mansingh Solanki.

“The post-mortem was conducted on the spot. All 18 claws of the animal were found to be intact. However, the gender of the animal could not be ascertained, as the carcass recovered was badly decomposed. The animal was aged between five and six,” said an official.

Meanwhile, four people were arrested and produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) on Saturday evening in connection with the electrocution case of Dhari town.

Those arrested include Durlabhaji Vadodaria, his son Purshottam (owner of the agricultural land who had erected fences with electric current flowing through it), and two tractor owners Ravji Hirani and Bhala Parmar, who were involved in destroying the evidence. The four were produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) at Dhari on Saturday evening.

Said Deputy Conservator of Forest J S Solanki: “The court has remanded them in our custody till October 23. They are all booked under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The maximum punishment liable for the offence is three to seven years of imprisonment and a fine Rs 25,000.”

Considering the seriousness of the incident, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Pradeep Khanna visited the incident site and chaired a meeting with forest officials. “To ensure the safety and security of the lions, we have decided to intensify a drive to check the agricultural fields where there is wired fencing. Besides, we have also informed the police and the electricity company to act against illegal power connections,” Khana said. “All possible steps are being taken to check such incidents. We have ordered a probe into the electrocution incident.”

IBN Video of Five Asiatic Lion Electrocution incidence

A Man caught with hunting traps; Two caught with iron traps may be sent for Narco-test


A Man caught with hunting traps

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

On 9th October, forest department of Dhari Gir –East range has caught one man with two iron traps presumably used for poaching wild animals. His name was Mansukh Jora. He said his sister living at Jamnagar had given him these traps. Forest department raided his sister Baghuben Odhadbhai’s house at Jamnagar but have refused to reveal any details. There are chances that these traps may have been used for lion poaching.


Two caught with iron traps may be sent for Narco-test

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Both Mansukh Jora and his sister Baghu Odhad has been sent to jail till 26th October by court here in Savarkundala. Their bail application is rejected. They keep on saying that they got the traps from scarp which is unlikely says forest officials. A narco-test possibility is also accepted to get the truth.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Four remanded to police custody for electrocuting lions

20-10-2007 (20.42 Hrs)

Four remanded to police custody for electrocuting lions

AMRELI: Four persons arrested in connection with the electrocution of two Asiatic lions and three cubs near the Gir sanctuary, were remanded to police custody till October 23 by a court here on Saturday.

The four arrested on Friday, in connection with the deaths of the lions and cubs in Prempara area, were presented before Judicial Magistrate I I Pathan in Dhari town.

The accused include Durlab Vadoria, who had erected a barbed wire fence around his farm and had "illegally" passed electric current through it to prevent beasts from entering his farm and damaging the crops.

The other accused are the farm owner's son Purshottam Vadoria, Balab Bharwad and Ravji Hirani.

All of them had allegedly helped Durlab hide the caracasses of the animals after they were electrocuted.

The Forest Department officials had on Friday found the carcasses buried in separate pits near Durlab's farm.

The accused are facing charges under different sections of the Wildlife Protection Act.

The electrocution incident comes a few months after eight wild cats were killed for their body parts by an inter-state gang of poachers

Three Gir lions, two cubs electrocuted


Three Gir lions, two cubs electrocuted

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, October 19 Three lionesses and two cubs were electrocuted when they came in contact with an electrified fence erected by a farmer in Prempara village under the Gir Sanctuary (East) division on Friday. The incident occurred just a stone’s throw away from the Gir East forest headquarters in Dhari. The farmer who erected the fence, Durlabh Vadodaria, has been arrested.

The death of the five lions has caused a furore among wildlife enthusiasts, environmentalists and the people, prompting the Forest department to hold a press conference late in the evening in Gandhinagar as a damage control exercise.

It was fellow villagers who spilled the beans, when they saw Vadodaria pulling out lions entangled in live wires surrounding his agricultural land and then later, burying them under mounds of earth. One of them passed on this message to the Gir East forest headquarters

When contacted, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki said, “The three lionesses that were electrocuted were in the 8 to 10-year age group, while the cubs were less than a year old.”

According to Solanki, the carcasses have been recovered, and a post-mortem has also been conducted. Carcass samples have been collected and dispatched to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Junagadh for a detail clinical examination.

In a bid to save standing crop and to prevent wild animals from venturing into agriculture land, Vadodaria had electrified the fence surrounding his farm. The group of lions was electrocuted when it came in contact with the wire. Later, in a bid to destroy evidence — Vadodaria had buried the carcasses near his agricultural land. Solanki said the farmer was being interrogated and will be produced before the Dhari court on Saturday.

A Katara, former deputy conservator of forest, Gir East, and at present the superintendent of Sakkarbagh Zoo, Junagadh, also rushed to the spot. He said, “The accused has been arrested under Rule 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. All the claws of the lions have been found intact. A detailed inquiry will be initiated in this regard. “When contacted, Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Bharat Pathak has admitted to foul play in this incident, however, he has ruled out poaching and said, “Prima-facie it appears to be a case of electrocution.”

Politics takes over lion deaths


Politics takes over lion deaths

Times of India

Ahmedabad: At least 24 lions have died of poaching, electrocution and by falling into open wells. This has become a debatable issue for rebel BJP leaders, who have decided to take it as one of the poll issue this time.

The Congress, on the other hand, has also plans to include this in their manifesto for the forthcoming elections. Leader of Opposition Arjun Modhvadia said, “The state government has failed to work out a solution to save the lions. Hence, the party has decided to include this in its manifesto.” For rebels BJP MLAs, the lions are pride of the nation and hence,  plans to raise it now in each and every meeting to be held in state. “Lions can’t vote, so there is no scheme for them. Had they got the voting right, Chief Minister Narendra Modi would have definitely come out with a scheme to save them. The CM announced a scheme for Sagar Khedut (fishermen) and tribals in the five-year planning, but did not allocate any funds for lions,” said rebel MLA from Amreli Bavku Undhad. Undhad said the issue is of great importance as it concerns the tourists visiting the state.

 “The government has totally failed on this issue and we are going to take it up during the ‘Sant Sammelan’ to be held on October 22 in Amreli,” he added.

While BJP rebel leader Gordhan Zadaphia said, “This was the issue which the government should have given top priority, but it failed to tackle this. We will now rake it up in the entire Saurashtra region.”

Zadaphia said, “The rebels will raise this as their main poll issue in the coming days.” 

Modi had promised big not very long ago


Modi had promised big not very long ago

Indian Express

Gandhinagar, October 19 “My government will not allow even a single Asiatic lion to die an unnatural death. And for this, the government has decided to set up the Gujarat State Lion Conservation Society. Funds for this would be made available from the Rs 40-crore Project Lion package.”

So proclaimed Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Sasan Gir in April last when he went there to take stock of the situation arising out of the killing of eight lions. Now that 5 more big cats, including 3 lionesses and 2 cubs, were reported killed in Dhari taluka of Amreli district on Friday, no one knows the fate of the Rs 40-crore Project Lion package that had been announced by the CM about six months ago.

Not only this, the State Forest department had mooted a Rs 60 crore proposal over nine months ago, under which it envisaged to set up a gene pool to conserve the genetic diversity of Asiatic lions in Gir forest and its surrounding areas. It was Modi again who had, during a meeting of the State Wildlife Advisory Board, suggested setting up of such gene pools. Though the government has accepted this proposal in principle, the gene pool project is yet to take off.

“The Gujarat State Lion Conservation Society is very much in place. But, we have to have adequate funds to implement the Rs 40-crore Project Lion package. The Society has a provision to mobilise funds from its individual and institutional members, as well as from national and international agencies like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCNNR). We have still not been able to mobilise funds to implement the project,” concedes a senior Forest official.

The official told The Indian Express on Friday that it was not possible for his department to implement the Project Lion project without financial assistance from individuals or institutions or any other donor agencies. He also admitted that the funds constraint was delaying the implementation of the gene pool project. “We are pursuing this project, too, with all seriousness,” was all that he had to say.

Rattled by the poaching incidents in March-April last, the government had also announced the setting up of a high-powered committee headed by the Chief Secretary to suggest measures for the protection and conservation of Gir lions. But, the committee has not met yet to deliberate, among other things, the contentious issue of frequent poaching of Asiatic lions.

An autonomous body, the Society has been set up with the main objective of mobilising additional resources for conservation of lions and its associate flora and fauna in the Gir National Park and adjoining areas. The Society has a 16-member executive committee headed by the State Chief Wildlife Warden.

Five Gir lions electrocuted


Five Gir lions electrocuted

Times of India

AHMEDABAD/RAJKOT: In yet another shocking instance of man-animal conflict, a factor that has been the bane of India’s most prized wildlife assets, five Asiatic lions were electrocuted by a villager in Amreli district within the Gir forest range while trying to protect his farm and cattle from the big cats.

District authorities said the killings took place around three days back when the lions strayed into an electrically charged barbed wire fence put up by Durlabhji Vadharia, a cotton farmer in Prempara village. He than buried their carcasses inside a deep pit to evade detection.

Vadharia, who said he had put up the electric fence to protect his farm from stray animals, was arrested on Friday. The incident came to light after villagers noticed five lions missing from a pride of nine that had strayed into areas around their fields. The surviving four are cubs aged less than a year. These cubs are found.

Conservator of forests Bharat Pathak said, ‘‘I remember only one incident of a jackal and leopard getting electrocuted together; I have never heard or seen lions dying such a death.’’

Pathak said all parts of the lions — along with their claws — were intact which ruled out poaching. Forensic experts found electrocution marks on the torsos of the three lions.

If convicted, Vadharia could get up to seven years imprisonment.

While forest officials said the lions may have been killed three days back, Vadharia claimed the deaths took place a week ago. He said he dumped the big cats — three lionesses and two cubs — in three feet-deep pit and covered it with fertiliser so that passers-by would not get suspicious and the carcasses would decompose quickly.

Update by Kishore Kotecha:

Other three have also been arrested for helping Vadharia to bury dead bodies.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Five Asiatic lions electrocuted in Amreli; one detained


Five Asiatic lions electrocuted in Amreli; one detained

The Hindu

Ahmedabad (PTI): Five Asiatic lions including three cubs were found electrocuted and buried on Friday in Prem Para area in Amreli district close to the Gir Lion Sanctuary, Forest officials said here.

The carcasses were found buried at separate spots in a private farm and one person has been arrested in this regard, they said.

The incident comes just months after eight of the endangered beasts were poached for their body parts in Gir and Bhavnagar parts of the sanctuary.

"As of now, the carcasses of five lions that includes three cubs and two females have been recovered from the farm. They were all electrocuted and killed," Bharat Pathak, the Forest Department official in-charge of the Gir Lion Sanctuary told PTI.

Though the animals were not killed for their body parts, the accused will be booked under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Preliminary probe indicated that the accused, a farmland owner, had electrified the fence around his farm illegally to prevent animals from grazing on his crops.

"However, even after he realised that five Asiatic lions were killed he did not inform the forest officials, instead tried to destroy the evidence," he added.

Farmers in these areas use illegal electrification to keep animals away, but in the process led to death of many endangered species, Pathak said.

Five Asiatic lions Dead

Five Asiatic lions Dead

Source: Own




Five lion dead bodies have been found at Prempara village, 3 – 5 kms away from Dhari Taluka in Amreli district.


Lions died due to electric shock that the farmer had put in the fencing around his farm to protect crops. Five lions include three prime lionesses and two cubs. The owner of the land Durlabh Vadodariya has been caught by forest department.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wildlife Week Celebration at Rajkot

Wildlife Week Celebration at Rajkot

Wildlife Conservation Trust celebrated National Wildlife Week at Rajkot by organizing a Wildlife Exhibition and Essay Competition.

The exhibition was organised at Race Course Ground on 7th Oct 2007, Our aim of organizing exhibition was to bring wildlife conservation awareness amongst Rajkot public. This is the first time such an wildlife exhibition is organised at Rajkot. About 1500 visitors took benefit and they appreciated such an effort for the first time in Rajkot. On exhibits were wildlife paintings & photographs collections of Dipak Gajjar, Rahul Parekh and Isha Kotecha. We had also put Information Charts on illegal wildlife trade, snakes and Gir biodiversity. An interactive CD on “The Wings of Nature” was overwhelmingly participated by the visitors. And our TV Film corner, which displayed a film on Gir Lions, was always full with audience.

An Essay Competition, with ‘The Wildlife of Gujarat’ is also organised where in invitation to students of about 55 schools in Rajkot have been sent. Last date for submission is 15th Oct 2007. If need be you can use the information in future ZOOS PRINT.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lion cub found dead in Gir


Lion cub found dead in Gir

Times Of India Ahmedabad Edition

Rajkot : A one-and-a-half-year-old lion was found dead in the Savajia Khancha area in Bhim Chas beat of Jasadhar range on Saturday. Forest officials, later sent the carcass to Junagadh for postmortem. Junagadh zoo veterinary officer after the postmortem ascertained that the cub died due to internal injuries. However, all the organs and all 17 claws recovered from the body of the cub were found intact. Officials also found caught a 14-year-old sick lion in the Mindha beat of Jasadhar range on Friday. After giving primary aid, looking into condition, the lion has been shifted to Sakkarbaug Zoo at Junagadh for treatment. TNN

One more cub dead in Gir forest


One more cub dead in Gir forest

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Yesterday one more carcass of about 18 months old lion cub was found in Savajiya Khancha area of Bhimchas Bit in Jasadhar range of Gir East. Dept of Forest has declared that this was a natural death. Postmortem was carried on by team of veterinary panel. All the body parts including 17 (!) claws were intact.

Again in the same region one old nomad of about 12 to 14 years was found in very bad condition. As it was not possible to recover his health, it has been moved to Sakkarbag Zoo.

One more Open Well Accident: This time it is python. It had fallen into the well in agriculture land area of Ramji Shamji Rangpariya. Good news is it was rescued and released in forest again.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Soon, forensic vans in Gir to bolster police probe


Soon, forensic vans in Gir to bolster police probe

Indian Express By Vikram Rautela

Ahmedabad, October 6 Recent poaching incidents in Gir have now forced the Gujarat Government to improve police investigations into wildlife crime. The government now wants the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS) at Gandhinagar to provide special round-the-clock forensic van services in the only natural habitat of Asiatic Lions in the world.

The step comes close on the heels of a special wildlife cell that was set up at CID headquarters a few months ago. The state Forest department is preparing the proposal of the project — which aims at stepping up security and vigilance at the sanctuary and bolstering investigations of wildlife crime — with the help of experts from DFS and Precision Operation System (India) Private Ltd in Ahmedabad.

“Equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities, the vans will have a team of experts from DFS on board. The experts will collect and preserve crucial forensic evidence from the site, to help us and the police to investigate such cases,” said principal chief conservator (wildlife) Pradeep Khanna.

According to sources in DFS, the vans will be connected with the Regional Forensic Laboratory (RFS) in Junagadh, which, in turn, will be linked to the central laboratory at DFS.

As part of the project, parapet walls, too, will be built on more than 8,000 open wells in Gir forest. Such wells have claimed lives of more than 25 lions in the past five years.

“Construction of parapet walls will be carried out in a phased manner. Our target is to cover 2,000 open wells this year," said Khanna.

Survival of the endangered Asiatic lions in Gir has been an issue for years. At last count, a government survey in 2005 had put their number at 359. In the last two years, several lions died in floods.

The project also aims at checking such deaths and providing emergency rescue service. “We will soon invite tenders for the project,” said Khanna.

Previous Posts