Monday, November 26, 2007

Centre wants to shift lions outside state to save them from extinction


Centre wants to shift lions outside state to save them from extinction

Indian Express By Tanvir A. Siddiqui

Ahmedabad, November 25; The Centre is contemplating shifting some of the lions from Gir to other parts in India. Officials say the single population in Gir faces risk of extinction in the event of any outbreak of virus or any other deadly disease. This is why the Gir lions, the only remaining Asiatic lion species, should have habitats far and apart, said Meena Gupta, Union Forest and Environment Secretary.

But the state government is opposing the proposal tooth and nail despite the death of a number of lions in the region in the recent past due to reasons as diverse as electrocution, or falling into a well.

Elsewhere, Gupta, who is now in Ahmedabad to attend an international conference on environmental education, is convinced that the state government will see logic in her arguments and give the matter more thought in the interest of the survival of this rare species.

She said the Centre was optimistic about convincing the Gujarat government about shifting some big cats from the Gir sanctuary to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh. In an informal chat during the fourth International Conference on Environmental Education (ICEE) here on Sunday, Gupta said she was aware of the fact that Gir being the only natural abode of Asiatic Lion in the world, it was the USP of Gujarat as far as tourism was concerned. However, for the benefit of these lions, it was necessary to shift some of them from Gujarat. She said the Centre was hopeful of successfully setting up another reserve for Asiatic Lions outside Gujarat.

Gupta said the Centre was in continuous correspondence with the state government on the subject and the last exchange of letters took place about a month back.

In the letter, the State Environment and Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel had said that shifting of the lions out of Gujarat was not necessary because the Gir environment was suitable for them and secondly, their area was not limited.

Gupta said attempts to convince Gujarat on this have so far not been successful, but the Centre was keeping its options open. If shifting of some of these big cats did not materialise, then the animals would be procured from other zoos and would be given a suitable environment to multiply.

She further said the government was well aware of the difficulties involved with shifting such large animals, but it was necessary for the sake of the survival of the species. “We must think of the future when the space for them is going to be limited, which would reduce possibility of expansion,” she said.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

19-11-2007Farmers demand electric supply during the day time due to Asiatic Lion's fear


Farmers demand electric supply during the day time due to Asiatic Lion’s fear

Divya Bhasker (Briefly Translated from Gujarati)

Electric power for irrigation is provided to farmers of Maliya Hatina Taluka during night time which has increased difficulty for farmers. Lions straying outside forest in to farm lands and nearby village areas is very common. It being nocturnal animal wanders in these farm lands. Hence farmers are scarred to irrigate their farms during night time. Hence they have demanded electric power during day time to avoid going to their farms during night time. The demand is put forward by Farmer’s union before the PGVCL (Power Company) authorities.

Kishore Kotecha’s comment: I do agree with farmer’s demand. Giving electric power during day time will help reduce lion-animal conflict.

Religious people angry with forest department


Religious people angry with forest department

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly Translate from Gujarati)

This time every year lacs of religious people travel around the foot of Girnar Hill (called as Parikrama). The route of this track passes through the Girnar forest. About 18 – 20 Asiatic lions reside in this Girnar forest. There are many religious Trusts and NGOs who put up camps along the tracks and provide the devotees with free food and water. Till last year forest department allowed such NGOs to collect dry wood for fire to cook the food. But this year forest department has denied use of the wood.

Due to this NGOs have to bring wood on camel backs from distant city of Junagadh.

Kishore Kotecha’s comment: I appreciate such a bold step by forest department. In fact such tracks should be moved outside the forest. Most of these so-called devotees do not behave themselves while tracking.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Leopard kills three-year-old at Talala


Leopard kills three-year-old at Talala

Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 18 A leopard killed a three-year boy of a migrant labourer some 20 kilometres away from Talala town here. The incident occurred in a sugarcane farm located on the outskirts of Bhimdeval village. Later, the leopard was caught and brought to the animal rescue centre at Sasan Gir Forest headquarters.

The leopard attacked three-year-old Tejas (3), while he was sleeping by his mother’s side in a makeshift tent in a sugarcane field. The leopard snatched the boy from his mother and disappeared within moments in the nearby fields.

During this scuffle, the boy’s mother was awakened and resisted the leopard, but in vain.

Later, the victim’s father and other labourer families from nearby sugarcane fields started searching for the boy.

In the morning, labourers found some bloodspots in a nearby field. Forest officials from the Talala range forest office rushed to the spot and began a search operation, and recovered the boy’s body from the nearby field. The leopard had crushed the boy’s head and left part of the body. The boy’s remains were dispatched to the Talala community health centre for post mortem.

According to sources, the labourer family had migrated here some 20 days ago from Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district. The family were a resident of Dungerpatira village of Yaval taluka.

Officials further said this was the second such incident of a leopard killing a boy. Earlier in August, a 12-year-boy was killed at Aamodra Village in Una Taluka.

When contacted, deputy conservator of forest (Gir west) BP Pati confirmed the incident and said: “After the dead body was recovered, we laid four traps in the surrounding sugarcane fields and exactly at the same place from where the body was recovered. Later in the late evening, the leopard was trapped in a cage.”

The caged leopard has now been shifted to the animal rescue centre at Sasan Gir forest quarter, where it would now spend its remaining life in captivity.

Pati said the leopard possibly mistook the boy for a goat or any other animal.

“The incident occurred in the dark. Makeshift tent in which the labourer family was sleeping had no light and no door.

“More then 150 leopards have been sheltering in revenue area out side the Gir forest, in sugarcane fields particularly in three taluka namely Una, Talala and Kodinar,” he said.

He further said the victim’s family would be paid a compensation of Rs 1 lakh as per the government’s existing guidelines.

Leopard kill 3 year old boy near Gir forest


Leopard kill 3 year old boy near Gir forest

Gujarat Samachar & Divya Bhaskar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)


A poor family of from state of Maharashtra had come to work in a sugarcane farm in the Bhimdeval village near Gir forest in Talala Taluka. The little boy was sleeping with his mother in a kaccha hutment in the farm. Early morning the leopard picked the boy and ran away. Courageously mother hit blows on the leopard but in vein.


The incidence was reported to Gujarat Forest Department. Following the blood stains officers found the dead body without head and right hand about 1.5 km away from the place of incidence.


The victim boy was Tejas son of Dilip Bareiya. The incidence happened in Dineshbhai Bhagwanbhai Kavra. Another news paper has stated that the leopard is caught in cages laid by the forest department.

Saturday, November 17, 2007




The Supreme Court today heard at length the issue of relocation of Lions from Gujarat to its proposed second home at Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. This was in response to a petition filed by the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India (BCTI) through its trustee Faiyaz Khudsar and represented by Advocate Raj Panjwani and Ritwick Dutta.

Arguing before the Bench headed by Chief Justice, Raj Panjwani informed the Court, that the issue is of prime importance given the fact that the entire wild population of the species in at one location and a single epidemic could wipe out the whole species. Further, detail studies were conducted on the feasibility of the area and over 24 villages have been relocated successfully from the Kuno Sanctuary. Thus as per the Report of the Wildlife Institute of India, the area can take in the first batch of Lions to begin with from 2008. The second phase of the project should have been over which includes translocation and unfortunately due to the objections of the state of Gujarat to transfer of the lions, the historic project has been almost stalled. It was further, pointed out that over 15 crores have been spent on the project and it will all go waste if the Lions are not translocated. The Chief Justice sought clarification as the number of lions which are required as well as the prey base for the same.   The court was informed as per studies, there are enough prey base for the first lot of lions and in addition to natural preys, there are also feral cattle which will serve as a buffer prey for the lions.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has filed an affidavit wherein it stated that the Minister for Environment and Forests, Government of India has written to the Chief Minister of Gujarat. However, the Forest Minister of the Government of Gujarat declined to part with any of the lions.

The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Government of Gujarat on the issue and has posted it for further hearing on the 30th of November, 2007

Source: Priyabrata Satapathy, Member, Legal Initiative for Forest & Environment (LIFE)

C- 86, Lower Ground Floor, East of Kailash, New Delhi-65, Tele fax- 011- 46570551, 46570552, email-

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tremor-struck villagers now have wild animals for company


Tremor-struck villagers now have wild animals for company

Indian Express By:Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 7 A day after the tremors everything seems displaced in the three worst affected villages of Hiranvel, Chitrawad and Haripur in Talala taluka of Junagadh district. About 6,300 villagers have been forced to move out in the open, and what they fear more than the quakes now, are the wild animals. All these villages are located on the periphery of Gir forest where lions and leopards venturing out into the open are a common feature.

"All the houses have developed major cracks. One more jerk, and they'll collapse. We have no other option us but to sleep in the open. We have learnt to cohabit with wild animals, but sleeping in the open is fraught with danger," said Imtiyaz Majgul, a Sidi tribal man and a resident of Chitrawad village.

When contacted, District Collector Ashwini Kumar said, "There is no need to panic. The administration is monitoring the situation and has taken adequate action."

"Out of all the villages, Hiranvel is the worst affected with over a dozen houses damaged beyond repair. Fifty other houses have suffered major damages. All the 65 families here have been provided with individual tents, while in Chitrawad and Haripur villages, peoples have been provided temporary shelter in groups."

When contacted, Talala taluka Mamalatdar Amee Doshi said, "Out of the 950 people in Hiranvel village, 250 have taken shelter in tents provided by the administration, while others have moved over to their relatives in nearby villages," she said.

According to Talala taluka Development Official R J Vyas, a damage survey has been initiated in the affected villages for which 10 teams have been pressed into service since morning. The primary report is expected within the next two days."

"According to our primary survey, about 210 houses have suffered major to minor damages in the five villages. Sixty houses in Hiranvel, 50 in Haripur, 60 in Chitrawad, 25 in Sangodra, and 15 in Bhalchhel village have developed cracks after Tuesday's tremors," Vyas said.

Since Tuesday morning, more then 130 aftershocks have been reported from Talala taluka.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lion show up very near to Una Town


Lion show up very near to Una Town

Divya Bhaskar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Today evening a lion was sitting on the compound wall of a sugar factory on Gadhada road on the outskirts of Una Town. This is for the first time the lion has been sited so near to such mini-urban town. The sugar factory is non-operational since many years. Lots of people gather to do Sinh-Darshan. Due to this lion was scarred and it ran away in to the jungle.

Happy Diwali and Proseprous New Year

Dear all,


Happy Diwali to you and your family.


May this festival of light and the New Year bring happiness and success to you.


God Bless...


Warm regards,


Kishore Kotecha & Family

Kotecha Builders P. Ltd ~ Wildlife Conservation Trust

128 Star Plaza, Phulchhab Chowk, Rajkot 360001, Gujarat

Mob: +91 98240 62062, Off: +91 281 2444074, Fax: 2477769

Em:  Web:

News Blog:

P Save a tree - please do not print this email unless you really need to. Together let us save Nature.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

River water splashes; (Asiatic) Lion does strange sounds


River water splashes; (Asiatic) Lion does strange sounds

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

After earthquake in Junagadh district flowing water in river in Ladudi village of Maliya taluka splashed two feet high.

Human beings came to know about the earth quake after it happened but wild animals came to know about it even before its happening. A farmer, Haji Kanabhai Baloch has farmland in Chuldi village in Maliya Hatina Taluka. He informed newspaper office that today in the morning at his farmland there was a lion under the bushes. Suddenly it stood up and started doing strange sounds. It appeared that this was not normal roar or challenge call but he sounded as if it was frightened of something.

Kishore Kotecha's comment: I believe this story and also strongly believe that animals do have sixth-sense that makes them aware about natural calamities before they occur.

Quake gives festive city jitters, (Wildlife of Gir Forest safe)


Quake gives festive city jitters, (Wildlife of Gir Forest safe)

AHMEDABAD/RAJKOT: The festive mood took a beating on Monday with two temblors, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale shaking up Junagadh at 5.58 am and 3.08 pm, the second of which rocked Amdavadis too. The epicentre was in Khakhrawada village of Talala taluka in Junagadh district. The temblors also shook up Saurashtra and Surat.

Panic spread in certain areas of Ahmedabad in the afternoon after people who watched windows rattle, vessels fall off the shelves and the ground rumble beneath their feet realised it was a tremor.

Heavy rainfall activating the fractured Deccan basalt rocks in Saurashtra was the main reason behind the two temblors in Talala taluka. Sources in the Institute of Seismological Research (ISR), Gandhinagar, said, “Nearly 80 per cent of Saurashtra is covered by Deccan basalt rock. This was the main reason for the past tremors too.”

Reports from Junagadh said a 78-year-old woman died due to head injuries and three others sustained minor injuries in Hiranvel village of Talala taluka where nearly 50 houses were damaged. The huts in three other villages — Sasan, Amrutvel and Chitrad — too have suffered cracks.

While 5.1 magnitude was reported by United States Geological Survey (USGS) Eathquake Hazards Program, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) mentioned the earthquakes were of 4.9 and 4.8 magnitude, respectively.

People in Veraval, Rajkot, Bagasara, Amreli, Maliya, Sasan Gir area, Gondal, Jetpur and Visavadar reported tremors. Also people living in Surat and Ahmedabad too felt the tremors in the afternoon.

Chief conservator of forest (Sasan Gir) Bharat Pathak, who is at present in Rajasthan, told TOI over phone that he had inquired about the wildlife in Gir and no untoward incident has been reported from there as per the preliminary reports.

Following Quoted from Indian Express

“GSDMA CEO Rajesh Kishore told this newspaper here this evening that the Forest Department’s buildings in Sasan, Amrutvel and Chitravad villages located within the Gir lion sanctuary had also developed cracks due to the impact of the earthquake.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lioness carcass found in Chuldi Village


Lioness carcass found in Chuldi Village

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

A body of lioness of about 7 – 8 years has been found in a farmland in Chuldi Village near Malilya in Junagadh district. Primary opinion of forest department for cause of death is snake bite. Body has been sent to FSL for further postmortem.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lion's death: Seven more arrested


Lion’s death: Seven more arrested

Indian Express: By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 4 Forest officials have arrested seven more persons in connection with the death of a lion by electrocution in July 2006. The officials had arrested one person on November 1 and were looking for the other accused.

The accused had tied the carcass of the lion with a big stone and thrown it into Vrijmi dam on the outskirts of Amarapur (Gir) village near Malia-Hatina town in Junagadh district in July 2002. The seven were arrested on Sunday on the basis of the details revealed by Daya Lakshman arrested earlier.

Range Forest Officer (Malia-Hatina) L V Chavda said, "The seven accused will be produced before the court of judicial magistrate on Monday. All the accused have confessed to their crime and told us about their roles in the electrocution of the lion and the subsequent throwing of the carcass into the dam water.'' He said that the statements of the accused had been registered and that they would seek 15-day remand for them.

The seven accused are Manji Lakha, his brothers Ravji and Dhiru, sons Bhikha and Sanjay, and two others_ Bharat Daya and Kishor Kala. Manji is the husband of Amarapur sarpanch Kanchanben and he is also the BJP's elected member of Malia-Hatina taluka panchayat.

In connection with the October 19 incident in which the carasses of five lions were recovered from the outskirts of Prempara village near Dhari in Amreli district, the four accused have been sent on judicial custody. The Judicial Magistrate (First Class) court of Dhari had rejected their bail application.

Later, on Friday, two of the accused _Ravji Hirani and Bhala Parmar_ approached the court at Rajula but this court also rejected their bail application. In the Rajula court, another application requesting a stay on the Dhari court order on narca-analysis for the prime accused is pending.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki said, "Now, prime accused Durlabhji Vadodaria has approached Rajula court and demanded a stay on his narco-analysis. Hearing for the same has been fixed on November 6.''

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has said that they will hold agitation against forest department from November 9 highlighting the issue of deaths of lions and also undue harassment of farmers by officials. The BKS units at Dhari, Khambha, and Talala have already submitted memorandums to range forest offices in this connection.

The memorandum reads: "The forest department has failed to provide adequate safety and security to the lions. We demand that 15-feet high walls be built surrounding the entire Gir forest." The memorandum also alleged that forest officials were wrongfully harassing the farmers in connection with death of lions.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

15 months after (Asiatic) Lion's death, 1 held


15 months after (Asiatic) Lion’s death, 1 held

Indian Express By Sibte Husain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 1 Fifteen months after a lion’s carcass was tied with a big stone and thrown into Vrijmi dam near Dhari in Amreli district, forest officials have arrested one person in the case. The lion had died after coming in contact with an electrified fence and the person responsible for it had thrown its carcass in an attempt to destroy the evidence.

On October 19 this year, five lions were electrocuted on the outskirts of Prempara village near Dhari under Gir East Forest Division.

The court has permitted the Forest Department to subject the accused to narco analysis to ascertain the truth.

According to details, the carcass of a lion was found floating in the waters of Vrijmi dam on the outskirts of Amrapur (Gir) village in Malia-Hatine taluka of Junagadh district in July last year. Though officials suspected foul play in the incident, they could not ascertain the exact reason behind the death,

In the 15 months of investigations in the case, officials said there are at least six people — all family members of Amrapur’s woman sarpanch—¿ involved in the crime.

Range Forest Officer (Malia-Hatina) L V Chavda said while one person had been arrested, they were looking for the other five.

According to Chavda, the accused have been identified as Daya Lakhman, Manji Lakha, his brothers Rava and Dhiru, and two sons Sanjay and Bhikha.

Only Daya Lakhman has been arrested and booked under Rule 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

While Lakhman confessed to the crime, he also revealed the names of the other accused.

According to sources, the accused persons are family members of sarpanch Kanchanben, who is the wife of prime accused Manji Lakha. Manji is also an elected member of Malia-Hatina taluka panchayat. “Five accused are still at large, but we will nab them within a day or two,” Chavda added.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Squads to identify electrified Gir fences


Squads to identify electrified Gir fences

Indian Express By Bashir Pathan

Gandhinagar, October 31 Even as the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Gujarat Government on a petition seeking steps taken in Gir forest to check large scale poaching and to fence open wells to save Asiatic lions, the state Forest department and Paschim Gujarat Vij Company have launched a joint operation to identify electrified fences being erected by farmers in this region.

With the financial support of some prominent corporate houses, the Forest department and other agencies have also intensified the work on constructing parapets around farm wells located in areas outside the Gir sanctuary to prevent the recurring incidents of Asiatic lions falling in open wells.

“The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the government, but we are yet to receive it. We have already asked our government lawyer Hemantika Vahi in Delhi to send a copy of the notice. As soon as the government obtains a copy of the notice, we will file our response to it,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Pradeep Khanna.

Responding to a petition filed in the SC following a recent incident in which three lions and two cubs were electrocuted in the Gir Sanctuary (East) division, the apex court has sought responses from the Centre as well as the Gujarat Government on what measures they were taking to save Asiatic lions from extinction.

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