Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Tale of Steve Mandel. A Lion Lover from California"


“Tale of Steve Mandel… A Lion Lover from California

Divya Bhasker (Full Edition) (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Steve Mandel is business man from California…when he found that lions fall into well and die he decided to do something about it…But how did lions roar rich Mr. Mandel?


Mr. Steve Mandel owns Mandel Communication…. Some of his customers told him to go to their branch in India and teach some management lessons… Being businessman Steve took up the job… came to India… when found free time thought of seeing India…. Steve is of course management Guru but is also good wildlife photographer… Show lion photo there… Surprised to find lions in India….Talking to writer he says… I NEVER KNEW THERE ARE LIONS OUTSIDE AFRICA? … Came in contact of Kishore Kotecha… Show lions with him… Kishore says Steve took details of Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) with him…

Kishore Kotecha says to writer about Open well threat… and that WCT‘s current main objective is barricading…. That WWF has given 3 lacs to WCT for this… At present many companies have got involved in the job with the help of WCT… There are 8778 wells…Many lion accidents…. About 25 have died in last few years…


Steve had good time in his trip with Kishore… Spend days with Kishore… In his life first time he saw lion at distance of 30m… Steve was too much excited… He also saw other wildlife… And literally fell in love with Gir….Then he found out about problems…And so he decided to do something for lions… He gave 5000 USD chq to WCT, but as WCT had no permission to accept foreign donation was not accepted… WCT has applied for permission… On the other hand Steve was determined to something… so he formed NGO back home in USA and applied for permission which will be granted shortly… Once the permission is obtained he will start collecting funds for the lion… He also came to Gir in Jan-Feb this year… The way he has taken up the cause of helping it seems he will come to Gir more often… He says, ‘As soon as I get time from my business, I will catch the first flight and come to Gir to find out how lions are doing?’ There are many so-called lion-lovers talking with big mouth about their love for lion but such example is rare!


With the efforts of WCT other companies have also come forward… So far Ambuja, Tata Chem and Reliance are doing the work… Also Larsen & Tubro and ONGC may join… Kishore says one well costs around 10000 Rs (250 USD / 125 GBP) from which 4000 Rs is given by government…At such critical time Kishore has appealed to other giants to come forward so that all the wells can be protected by 2010… Lion poaching has stopped but if wells are not protected than lion deaths will continue… The highlight is that although so many lions die due to open wells, Govt. doesn’t do anything… Kishore says Govt. should bring out a law so that whenever new wells are dug by the farmers in future, should be protected from day 1… Otherwise old wells will be protected and new unprotected wells will go on coming up…Will Govt. wake up and do something? … On the other hand companies spend millions and millions on advertising… they should at least come up for 100 – 200 wells assistance which is pea-nuts for them….


Writer says to companies… This is not big job for you… Lions are awaiting your help.


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Although Steve is industrialist his passion is photography… In particular astronomical and wildlife… NASA has also used his photographs for research purpose… Forbes magazine has also printed his photos…

Steve had to go to Bangalore for his business… There he visited Bandipur NP… But to his bad luck could not see any tigers… He saw elephants, wild dogs, wild boars and monkeys… Steve not only liked animals in India but he also liked Indians… He found them friendly and lovable… Steve says let lions be living thousands of miles far from where I live but they will always reside in my heart too…


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Table about Open Wells as per sub-districts:

Visavadar          826,                  Talala                2600

Sasan               1300                 Dhari                 1228

Maliya               293                  Mendarda          383

Khambha          927                   Una                  1223

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