Friday, March 07, 2008

6 lions poached in a year, admits Govt


6 lions poached in a year, admits Govt

Says No Accidental Deaths Occurred, Silent On Open Well Casualties

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

Gandhinagar: The state government has admitted that six lions were poached in the last one year in Gir forest. However, the Government has stated that not a single incident of accidental death occurred and is silent on deaths by falling into open wells.

   The government in reply to the question asked by Jasdan Congress MLA Kuvarjibhai Bavaliya stated that the government had set up a scheme for the conservation of lions and that the Gujarat State Lion Conservation Society had also been formed.

   It said the forest department has given motorcycles to the staff for patrolling along the borders of the forest. The department has also announced reward for people who give information about poachers. A vigil has also been increased on railway stations and bus stations and meetings were also held with local people. The government has also began construction of parapet walls around open wells, it said.

   Further the government has also decided to work in co-ordination with the police department for effective monitoring.

However, in reply to the question on how many deaths have been reported due to accidents, the government replied that no deaths were reported. The government has not taken into account deaths occurring due to falling in open wells.

A forest official also pointed out that three lionesses and two cubs were found buried in the fields in mid-October. The animals were buried in a private field after they died due to electrocutions.

   This was the first incident in Gir Sanctuary where five animals were electrocuted to death. The incident had taken place outside the sanctuary in Prempara village about three km from Dhari town in the private fields. The official said that this should be deemed as an accident. But the government has only taken into account road accidents while replying to the questions.

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