Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Another threat facing lions: Vacant DCF post


Another threat facing lions: Vacant DCF post

Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

Ahmedabad: Gir maybe the last abode of the Asiatic lion, but the authorities couldn’t care less. Even after reports that most of the 359 lions reported in the last census in Gir sanctuary were straying out and spotted in Dhari and its surrounding areas, there is no full-time deputy conservator of forest (DCF) in this area.

And whenever this post has been vacant, poachers have had a free run, killing lions for their claws, bones, hide and pelt.Sources said that between February and April last year, when there was no DCF, eight lions were killed in a single incident of poaching. And, when the post fell vacant again in October 2007, another incident was reported where five lions were found electrocuted. Officials in the department said that soon after the poaching a full-time DCF, VJ Rana, was appointed, only to be transferred within seven months. Since then, this area spread over 800 km covering eight different ranges is under an incharge DCF, JC Solanki. Solanki also holds charge of assistant conservator of forest. Officials said the eight ranges in Gir East are Dhari, Tulsishyam, Dalkhaniya, Adala, Jasadhar, Paniya, Sarasiya and Savarkundla. They said that the department sent a proposal to the government in October, but the government is yet to act and appoint a full-time DCF. According to reports, at least 60 per cent of the lions are seen moving in this part of Gir.

A DCF monitors an area and also keeps a check on illegal activity. Conservator of Forest (Junagadh), Bharat Pathak admitted that this post was lying vacant for over six months. “We have sent the proposal to the government,” he said.

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