Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lions haunt Panjarapol Gaushala employees


Lions haunt Panjarapol Gaushala employees

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari


Junagadh, April 28 The employees of the Panjarapol Gaushala in Junagadh district are having sleepless nights, as the incidents of lion attacks have been on the rise lately, particularly during the nights.

In the most recent incident, a group of three lions entered the gaushala, located on the outskirt of Virdi village near Malia town, by jumping over its 12-foot high boundary wall on Thursday and Friday nights, and killed seven cows. Since then, the gaushala’s 20 staff members are living under a constant fear, as the lions’ roars are being heard on a regular interval.

“It was like a nightmare. Lions created havoc and killed seven cows. We had never seen such a fury of the beast. It was a horrible experience,” said Bachu Bhai and Kanabhai Koli, two gaushala employees . They added that the big cats have increased their attacks in the last two years.

Confirming the incident, Ashwin Juthani, the gaushala’a trustee told Newsline: “Our staff are afraid of the lions. They have categorically told us that if the situation continues, then they would not work here.” He added that since last Thursday, he along with the entire staff have been guarding the cows.

“Taking a serious note of the incident, we have all ready placed flood lights around the compound walls. We have decided to raise the height of the compound wall from 10 feet to 13 feet with barbed wired fencing on the top,” he said.

He said they have already informed the forest officials about the incident, and that the foresters are patrolling the area. “But since they do not stay here, we have to take adequate action for the safety of about 325 cows sheltered here.”

Another trustee Mahendra Gandhi has sent a letter to the Gujarat Forest Minister, demanding an immediate action to free the area from the clutches of lions. He has threatened to launch an agitation if the state Forest Department fails to take necessary action.

The gaushala is located 10 kilometres from the Babara vidi land, which has now been turned into a permanent home for over a dozen lions.

Instances of big cats roaming in the revenue area outside the Gir forest is not new in Junagadh. According to the forest officials, one of the prime reasons for the lion’s presence in the area is the easy availability domestic animals.

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