Wednesday, April 23, 2008

After lion show, make govt pay for bait!; Bonus For Villagers Who Sell Baits & Claim Compensation


After lion show, make govt pay for bait!; Bonus For Villagers Who Sell Baits & Claim Compensation

Times of India Ahmedabad By Himanshu Kaushik

Sasan: Call it the lion’s share, twice over. For every “lion show” organised in Gir — using unproductive cattle to be attacked and eaten by lions as tourists watch — there is a bonus for those providing these baits. While farmers here organise these shows to earn money from tourists or sell their ageing cows and buffaloes to organisers, they also claim compensation from the government to pay for the loss of livestock.
And, statistics with the forest department show that the number of applications and the compensation paid have shot up over the years.
On Tuesday, TOI reported how “live shows” are organised in and around the Gir sanctuary, where live baits are used to lure lions and groups of tourists pay anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 10,000 to watch them prey.
Forest officials say it is the nonlactating cows and buffaloes that are sold the most, each fetching Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000. As soon as the show is over, the farmer informs the forest department that the animal has been killed by a lion. “Not only are the villagers in and around Gir earning from tourists by organising shows themselves or by selling their livestock as baits, they are making money by fooling the government too,” said an official.
While a compensation of Rs 5,000 has to be paid for a milch cow, non-lactating cows fetch Rs 1,100. A non-lactating buffalo would fetch Rs 2,100.
Sources say that an elaborate racket is in place, whereby a beat guard of the forest department certifies that the animal was attacked and killed by a lion, despite knowing that the hapless bait was offered to the beast. The department pays the compensation on the basis of this certificate.
Conservator of forest (Junagadh range) Bharat Pathak admitted that “there has been a rise of around 30 per cent in compensation paid”. “I am not aware of this practice and will look into it,” he said.

1 comment:

clive mann said...

This practise must be stopped or modified. Cattle could be bought and slaughtered humanely, then carcases used as bait.
Having unwittingly seen this practise of baiting for tigers in corbett NP 35 years ago, I and all tourists present were utterly appalled. None of us had any idea that this was going on until it actually happened before our eyes.

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