Friday, January 25, 2008

Formation of Crime Cell by Gujarat State Govt. to prevent poaching

25-1-2008

Formation of Crime Cell by Gujarat State Govt. to prevent poaching

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

After poaching of 8 lions in Mar- April 2007 Government and forest department have become vigilant.

Bharat Pathak, Conservator of Junagadh, informed that a Monitoring Committee is formed. President / chair person of this committee is Range DIG of police. Other members of this committee are CF-WL Junagadh, CF-SF Junagadh, Suptd of Police (SP) Junagadh, SP Bhavnagar, SP Amreli, DCF Gir W and DCF Gir E.

Also Forest Crime Prevention Cell is formed by Forest Department at Gandhinagar. The main function of this cell is to detection of wildlife crimes.

Recently management has recruited 300 Van Mitras (Forest Friends) who will gather information about illegal activities. Apart from this also movement is ON to recruit 100 forest guards and six foresters.

Four blue-bulls die by falling in open well

25-1-2008

Four blue-bulls die by falling in open well

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Open wells are death traps for wild animals. These wells are located in private firm lands and still no penal actions are taken against owners of such farms and wells.

Dead bodies of four blue bulls were found floating in open well in Kanwadla village near Visavadar. Finding this, farmer of the land informed forest department. Postmortem was done and samples were sent to laboratory to find out cause of death.

Lion cub falls into open well; Rescued

23-1-2008

Lion cub falls into open well; Rescued

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Yesterday a lion cub of 2 years of age, fell down in an open well. The open well was in firm land of farmer Ramesh Manubhai Jiyani on Dhari-Khambha road in Madhupur village near Dhari in Gir East. Farmer informed forest department and officers Dhami, Rathod, Bheda and others immediately started rescue operation. The cub was saved without injury using simple khatlo- and ropes. The animal was sent to animal care centre and was to released in wild as soon as its family pride was located.

Sadhus on save lion mission.

11-01-2008

Sadhus on save lion mission…

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

Junagadh: As we get more and more environment friendly and everybody is doing their bit to save our wildlife, “Sadhus” are also failing into line. “Lions are an identity of the Sorath region, the erstwhile Junagadh, the other two being sadhus and valiant men,” said Mahamandaleswar Bhartibapu, addressing a seminar in the midst of the Gir jungle. The seminar was organized to spread awareness about saving the lion among residents.

The residents were made to pledge to the lion’s cause as they took an oath to preserve lions and conserve nature. They also discussed steps to bring about more awareness among people.

Sadhus have joined in a big way to protect the Gir lion, which has borne the brunt of poachers. Incidents of lion massacre prompted Sadhus to take the lead in this endeavor. They have addressed meetings all over the region, exhorting people to check the plight of forests and protect not only the lion, but also all other flora and fauna.

Mahamandaleshwar Vishwamber Bharati who addressed a meeting at Jambudi in the north hill ranges of Gir administered the oath and said that the lion was symbolic to Indian heritage. They find mention in sacred texts. Seals and coins with lion symbolizes saving the cultural heritage. Sorath’s legacy must be protected.

Mahant Bharatdas Bapu of Banej and his disciple Chandravadandas Bharatdas, bhesan TDO tuwar and sarpanchs of nearby villagers attended these meetings as well. “Mere laws won’t help. Active participation of people is needed to achieve such goals, said Deputy Conservator of Forest, P S Babariya.

North range RFO S K Jadeja and Vijay Yoganandi advised people to curb poaching and also desist from acts that crippled lions. He said farmers should not use equipment that causes electric shock to lions. Fencing wells, to avoid lions from falling into them was also discussed to check lions falling into unused wells.

Karnataka squad hunts for poacher who kills 6 leopards in 12 hours

09-01-2008

Karnataka squad hunts for poacher who kills 6 leopards in 12 hours

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

Bangalore: He would taka a puppy deep into the forest, slit its ears and put salt or lime on the wound. Leaving the howling pup on the ground,he’d take up position to shoot the big cats that came preying.

One day, in less than 12 hours, notorious poacher Durra (21) shot six adult leopards using his ‘puppy bait’. A special squad of CID forest cell has been sent to Madhya Pradesh to nab Durra, a Katni tribe member staying in Birahuli village in Rithi police limits, for leopard poaching in Haliyal and Dandeli, Karnataka.

The inter-state link in poaching came to light after the CID forest cell took over a wildlife trading case in Haliyal and interrogated the main accused, Prabhakar Keshav Dajakosh. He spilled the beans about links between poachers and traders in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, maharastra and Gujarat.

Durra is also wanted by the Gujarat and MP police for his involvement in Gir lion poaching as well as killngtigers and leopards in Madhya Pradesh. Last month, the state CID forest cell sleuths arrested four people in Haliyal and Old Hubli to recover 43 otter pelts, one tiger pelt and 23 leopard pelts.

“The missing links in the recent recovery of pelts and poaching of big cats across the country will be established once Durra is arrested. Preliminary investigation showed international links in the wildlife trade,” forest cell IGP K S N Chikkerur said.

It’s the first time that otter skins have been recovered in such a large quantity in the state. Otters are largely found at the Cauvery basin and poached for their pelt to make coats in the Himalayan regions.

An otter poached in Karnataka would soon reach Kashmir and then even Nepal and China.

While tiger and leopard pelts are in great demand, the demand for sloth bear skin and its vital organs has gone up tremendously in the past few years.

“Leopard skin is in great demand. They are often smuggled to Tibet and China through Nepal. An inter-state gang is operating in collusion with international traders and it could wipe out the wildlife here systematically,” the officer added.

Fortunately, Karnataka is the only state where the cases in wildlife crime have more than 50% detection rate.

“One cannot rest on statistics. The big cats from South India are largely preferred by poachers for their unique colour combinations. Tigers or leopards in South Indian habitats are much beautiful than their counterparts from the deserts or snowy region,” explained Chikkerur.

LIONS IN DANGER; Fire breaks out in Savarkundla

22-01-2008

LIONS IN DANGER; Fire breaks out in Savarkundla

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOI/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIA&login=default

Amreli: A huge fire broke out in the grasslands of Savarkundla range, Mitiyana in Amreli district, which is known to be inhabited by many Asiatic lions, at 4 pm on Monday afternoon. Sources said that by evening the fire had spread to over 500 acres of the lush greens forests of Savarkundla and had spread mainly in the hilly areas of the

forest. The cause of the fire was not known.

When contacted on Monday evening, forest officer, Solanki said, “ Operations are on to control the fire and we are doing everything in our control to save the lions in the region. We do not have details of the cause of the fire or the extent of damage yet and will be able to give further details only after the operations are over.” Known to be very conducive to the living habits of the Asiatic lion, these lush green grasslands had been in the past considered for a forest reserve.

All's not 'well' for Gir lions; Only 800 Wells Covered In a Year

23-1-2008

All’s not ‘well’ for Gir lions; Only 800 Wells Covered In a Year

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOI/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIA&login=default&AW=1201082410328

Amreli: After big promises were made to safeguard the killer wells of Gir, an incident on Tuesday, when a two-year-old lion cub fell into one, shouts out loud for them to be fulfilled. The cub apparently tripped into an open well, which had a one-foot high wall, on the Dhari-Khambha road on the outskirts of Madhupur village. Luckily, Una forest staff saved it in time and has kept it in custody till its pride was found.

It had taken eight poached lions in Gir in March-April 2007 and uproar, for the government to awaken to the cause of preserving the pride of our nation. The Tuesday incident has brought to light the potential danger some 10,000 odd open wells in and around Gir could cause to the big cats. The state government had then proposed an action plan to build parapets around the wells. Top corporate bosses attended a high-level meeting in May 2007 in which they were roped in to build these parapet walls.

TOI found that though work did start, and a few wells have been barricaded, very little has happened on the ground. Kishore Kotecha of Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rajkot says, “Lack of funds is a major issue. Each barricade costs Rs 10,000, and though the government chips in Rs 4,000, we have to manage Rs 6,000 from our pockets. I could complete barricading of 109 wells as per an MOU that I had signed only with contribution of my contacts. Now, the WWF has financed 75 wells but it is not enough.”

When asked of corporate participation, Kotecha said, “Several corporates did come forth but implementation is very slow. Reliance had committed 1,500, but have made only a few wells, Ambuja Cements had committed 500 and completed 120, Tata Chemicals committed about a 1,000 and have completed only 50 odd wells. The work though started with a lot of zest, is happening at a very slow pace. We expect to finish only 800 wells by March. If a company does not wish to undertake construction themselves they can always get it done by an NGO like ours.” So the score card so far is 800 of 10,000 wells covered in one year, which comes to 0.08 per cent completion rate!

Leopard cub found dead outside Gir

24-1-08

Leopard cub found dead outside Gir

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Leopard-cub-found-dead-outside-Gir/265004/

Junagadh, January 23 Infighting outside the Gir forest area between a female and a male leopard that had intruded into her territory, resulted in the death of the former’s cub, forest officers said. The incident came to light on Tuesday morning when the carcass of a one-year-old cub was found on the outskirts of the Hadmatiya village in Talala taluka in Junagadh district.

Deputy conservator of forest (Gir west) B P Pati, when contacted, said, a female leopard had taken shelter in the revenue area on the outskirts of the village when a male of the species intruded into its territory resulting in a fight leading to the death of the cub.

“Territorial dispute is the possible reason behind this incident. We have noticed three types of pugmarks and there clear signs of infighting at the incident site. There were also clear marks of a kill near the site,” Pati said.

He added that the carcass has now been shifted to the Sasan Gir forest headquarters for post-mortem.

He said the assistant conservator of forest (Jamwala Range) has now been asked to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit the reports at the earliest.

In a separate incident, a minor fire broke out at the 400 steps en-route to Girnar Mountain on Tuesday afternoon. Forest department officials immediately rushed to the spot and doused the fire.

According to Range forest officer M N Parmar, “There is no damage to the forest and the fire has spread across only a small piece of land parallel to the staircase leading to the mountain peak.”

He added, “Some devotees or passers-by might have thrown a burning ‘beedi’ that started off the fire.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Big Cats (Asiatic Lioness) chased away

09-01-2008

Big Cats (Asiatic Lioness) chased away

Times Of India Ahmedabad Edition

A14-year-old boy and a Neel Gai (Blue bull) in villages of Amreli district chased away lions, bravely. A bull saved its companion from the clutches of a lioness in a farm near Zaradiyo river by goring the big cat in its abdomen. Scared of the bull’s horns the lioness retraced its steps and ran.

In another incident two brothers saved their cattle near pilukiya river, when three lions attacked. While the elder brother pulled out the calf from the lions mouth, the younger one hit the lion with a thorny shrub stick and an axe handle.

Lioness, cub die in Sakkarbagh zoo

10-01-2008

Lioness, cub die in Sakkarbagh zoo

Times Of India Ahmedabad Edition

Junagadh : The last 24 hours witnessed deaths of an old lioness and a cub died at the city’s zoo in Sakkarbagh. “Rukshamani, 17-years-old lioness, died of old age, whereas 16-month-old cub passed away after four months of suffering from nervine disorder,” said district forest officer V J Rana, who headed the team of three vet doctors that conducted post-mortem.

“We tried to inject Rukshamani with saline to breathe life into her, but in vain,” he added. “The cub was picked up by the forest officials 16 months ago, as his mother had abandoned him in Babara range of Gir wildlife sanctuary,” said Rana. “He was found in an injured condition with a damaged leg. The vets’ team conducted an operation on the cub and inserted a steel rod in its fractured leg. But incordination of the cub’s muscles had deteriorated its body conditions in the last three months, causing its death,”added Rana.

Finally, Gir villagers get crematorium

16-01-2008

Finally, Gir villagers get crematorium

Times Of India Ahmedabad Edition

Sasan-Gir(Junagadh) : High drama ensued for eight hours, when nearly 1,300 mourners from Sasan Gir carried the body of Ravji Makwana,70, to the range forest office here, on Tuesday.

The villagers had sought 1,000 metre of land for a crematorium near the village, which went unheeded. Not having a proper burial or a crematorium spot, they usually performed last month, they gave an ultimatum, that they would bury or cremate their next dead in the forest office premises itself.

So, when an elder man Ravji died on Tuesday morning, they promptly took the funeral procession to the office located in the village.

Officials tried to prevent them, but the villagers did not budge and stood their ground. Range forest officer B K Parmar finally conceded and spoke to his superiors. The villagers had also spoken to conservator of forests, Ramesh Katara. The intervention of Jasubhai Barad, MP and his discussion with chief conservator of forests Pradip Khanna, stalled the stalemate. It was resolved that a team of revenue and forest officials would soon meet and sort out the issue and allot a suitable site for the crematorim.

Unofficial sources, however, said that this unseemly row was the outcome of a long-standing tussle between revenue and forest departments. Sasan, being forest area, the forest department wanted to lord it over and deny any say to the revenue department.

Irked by this snub, some revenue officials prompted the villagers to prick the forest department. Thus a subtle departmental row erupted into a funereal saga in this quiet solitude of Sasan-Gir.

Carcass of leopard found in Gir area

21-1-2008

Carcass of leopard found in Gir area

Indian Express By Sibte Husain Bukhari

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Carcass-of-leopard-found-in-Gir-area/263533/

Junagadh, January 19 The carcass of a female leopard was found lying on a castor oilseed farm on the outskirts of Sultanpur village under the Simar region of Jashadhar Range in the Gir (East) forest division.

The incident came to light on Friday, when farm owner Bhana Jadav found the carcass lying in his farm. He informed the forest officials.

According to Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki, all the claws and organs of the animal were found intact. Solanki has ruled out any “foul play” into the incident.

A panel of two veterinary doctors perform a post mortem on the leopard. “According to the post-mortem report, illness was stated as the reason behind the death of the animal,” Solanki said.

Meanwhile, a group of lions, including two lionesses and a pair of cubs, were found roaming on the outskirts of Prempara village in revenue area. The group stormed into an agricultural farm of one Babubhai Rudani and killed one there.

Forest officials rushed to the spot for assessment and said the farmer will be paid compensation as per rule.

Incidentally, the incident took place on the outskirts of Prempara village, where five lions were electrocuted on October 19 last year. Prempara village is 3 km away from Dhari-Gir East forest headquarters.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

People of Sasan take dead body to Forest office for Cremation

16-1-08

People of Sasan take dead body to Forest office for Cremation

Gujarat Samachar

Sasan is a located on the western side of Gir forest and is main centre for tourism. It is also headquarter of forest for western Gir. People had started construction / roofing a crematorium on a land which was allocated to them 18 years before. Forest department had stopped this work which had made villagers angry. In the meantime, a 100 year old man (ex-forest guard) died today morning. Furious villagers took the dead body to forest head quarters instead of open crematorium. Immediately senior forest official ran to the office and gave assurance that their problem will be resolve with in 10 days. Thus matter was resolved for the time being.

As per villagers before 18 years the land was allocated to them by Asst. Collector of Veraval for the crematorium which forest department claim to be land of forest.

Prabhakar Keshav (poacher caught from Karnataka) taken to Bhavnagar for further investigation

16-1-2008

Prabhakar Keshav (poacher caught from Karnataka) taken to Bhavnagar for further investigation

Divya Bhasker

Few days back Prabhakar Keshav was caught by Karnataka police. He was handed over to Gujarat CID for investigation in lion poaching that happened in Mar-Apr 07. He was granted remand by Una courts which were finished yesterday. CID Wildlife also expected his hand in two lion poaching at Jesar – Bhavnagar. Hence he was taken to Bhavnagar for further investigation. So far he has not revealed anything in 11days of remand.

Lover 'lioness' finally returns to Devaliya Park

14-1-08

Lover ‘lioness’ finally returns to Devaliya Park

Divya Bhasker

A lioness had escaped in to forest from Devaliya Park on mating call of a male lion yesterday. She managed to go through a hole rusted chain-link fencing. This put forest staff in embarrassing position and was worried. Finally after hard work of 36 hours she was caught in cage by baiting near the park. The whole escape-rescue was guided by Manishwar Raja, DFO, Sasan.

A pride of three lions reside at Bhader village near Dhari; Three cattle killed

13-1-2008

A pride of three lions reside at Bhader village near Dhari; Three cattle killed

Sandesh

People of Bhader village complain and are scared of three fully grown lions not trying to go away from their village. So far, as they say, lions have killed their three cattle. Forest department help is sought.

Teenager fights lion to save its cattle

9-1-2008

Teenager fights lion to save its cattle

Gujarat Samachar

An eye-witness Naranbhai Somabhai, resident of Kubda village near Dhari in Gir East, informs that Ranjit (14 years) and Raviraj (10 years) are sons of Gabhru Bhura. They took their cattle for grazing yesterday near Tilukiya river bed. In the morning they saw two lions but scared them away by making noise. But in the evening when they were returning to the village, a lioness leaped from the acacia tree and attacked a calf. On hearing calf mowing Ranjit ran and started pulling the calf from lioness’s mouth. Tug-of-war went on for some but finally lioness pulled away its kill and only rope was in Ranjit’s hand. That calf died but Ranjit’s braver saved rest of the cattle. In this war, even a buffalo tried to attack lioness to save the calf.

Blue bulls scares away king of the jungle

9-1-2008

Blue bulls scares away king of the jungle

Gujarat Samachar

In farm land of Bhana Vaishnav in Bhader village, a lion attacked a blue bull. In the meantime due to noise of the blue bull, another blue bull with pointed horns came to the rescue. Fight went on for some time and then king had to quit the ground!!

(Kishore Kotecha’s comment: I think king must not be hungry else this is not possible.)

Lion's population increase by 3 in Girnar -Veraval area

7-1-2008

Lion’s population increase by 3 in Girnar -Veraval area

Gujarat Samachar

In routine patrol by15 forest guards in Girnar-Verval range they found that lion numbers have increase by three. Now there are 30 lions in these area as informed by ACF Babariya.

Death of Leopard that was rescued from open well.

5-1-2008

Death of Leopard that was rescued from open well

Gujarat Samachar

On Wednesday night a female leopard had fallen into open well of Jivraj Bhuva in Bandhda village near Vanthali. Forest department rescued the animal and had sent it to Sakkarbag Zoo for further treatment. But in spite of diligent care by doctors, it died due to lung infection and cold.

19 poaching accused withdraw bail plea; Inter-state link busted?

19 poaching accused withdraw bail plea; Inter-state link busted?

Times of India, 12-01-2008

Ahmedabad: Nineteen persons accused in the lion poaching case on Thursday withdrew their bail petition from Gujarat High Court, when the court did not entertain their petition on Thursday. The 19 included the poaching kingpin Sarkash Lal. Justice S R Brahmbhatt granted the accused leave to withdraw their bail pleas after hearing their counsel as well as the state government.
Arrested in April last year, these accused had moved the HC in August after a lower court in Junagadh refused to grant them bail. They claimed that no evidence was found against them and they were falsely implicated in the lion poaching incident. They claimed that they were workers from Madhya Pradesh and had no offences registered against them in the past. But the state government countered their argument and placed available evidence before the court.
Appearing for the forest department, advocate Pitamber Abhichandani argued that in such a crime, no direct evidence can be made available because the action had taken place in forest area. However, these accused were arrested from the region where entry is restricted. Moreover, prosecution claimed that these people were found in possession of lion claws, nails and meat pieces.
Inter-state link busted?
CID (Crime), which is investigating lion poaching cases, got custody of another accused from Karnataka after obtaining a transfer warrant. Prabhakar Keshav Gaja was nabbed from Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka and the investigating agency suspected a link between him and the 19 accused. Prabhakar was produced before a Junagadh court and CID sought his remand claiming that he had links with some of the accused. Prabhakar was found in possession of skins of one tiger, 21 leopards as well as 43 sea-oysters’ skins worth Rs 21.5 lakh. The court remanded him to police custody till January 15, sources said.

Lions kill a bullock in Prempara village near Dhari

19-1-08

Lions kill a bullock in Prempara village near Dhari

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Today early in the morning at about 4 AM a pride of two lioness and two cubs killed a bullock in farm of Nanubhai Rudani. Farmer estimated cost of this bullock to Rs.25000.

Kishore Kotecha’s comment: This is the same village where 5 lions died by electric fence few months ago.

Ill Leopard dies near Dhari

19-1-08

Ill Leopard dies near Dhari

A carcass of a dead leopard was found in the farm of castor oil of Lakhmanbhai Jadavbhai in Sultanpur village near Jasadhar range of Gir East. The carcass was found intact hence no poaching. Death is expected due to ill health. Age of this female leopard is about 2 – 2 ½ years.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Red alert sounded for poacher

14-01-2008

Red alert sounded for poacher

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOI/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIA&login=default&AW=1200473986921

Junagadh: The Central government’s forest department issued a red-alert to Gujarat on Sunday, to keep a look out for a middleman from Rajasthan. “The central forest department has alerted the many regions of the state forest department to set up check points at all wildlife sanctuaries in the state. Since, it is a very sensitive issue, we have also been alerted,” said Bharat Pathak, conservator of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary (West), adding that the extra caution will be exercised in the Gir forest. According to sources, the middleman is suspected to be operating between poachers and traders of the skins and various body parts of endangered animals such as lions, leopards, bears and various species of deer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

State forest dept on tenterhooks as poachers prowl Gir, Girnar forests

14-1-2007

State forest dept on tenterhooks as poachers prowl Gir, Girnar forests

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/State-forest-dept-on-tenterhooks-as-poachers-prowl-Gir-Girnar-forests/261258/

Junagadh, January 13 Forest officials have sounded an alert in and around the entire Gir and Girnar forests in Junagadh and other reserved forest and protected areas falling inside the revenue area in Saurashtra following reports that a Pardi poachers’ gang has entered Gujarat.

The Madhya Pradesh based Pardi tribe, who are infamous as poachers, are mainly involved in selling of leopard’s hide. They generally enter any place as agriculture labourers.

According to sources, members of the poachers’ gang have sneaked into this region, putting the forest department on tenterhooks. An intensified drive to nab these gang members has now been initiated in the revenue areas surrounding the forest in Junagadh district. More than 150 leopards have been sheltering in the revenue areas falling under Una, Kodinar, Sutrapada and Talala taluka, sources added.

When contacted, B P Pati, deputy conservator of forest (Gir west), who is also holding additional charge of Girnar range, said, “A search operations to nab members of the gang has been initiated. Alerts have been sounded in the forest areas. The forest staffs have been ordered to maintain extra vigil in their respective areas”.

He said they were keeping a keen eye on inter-state labourers working particularly in the sugarcane fields falling on the periphery of various forest areas. Labourers’ huts, guesthouses, hotels and roadside dhabas have also been screened. Villagers have been asked to provide information about any suspicious movement, Pati said.

According to sources, many NGOs and volunteers have also been pressed into service to nab the culprits.

Dinesh Goswami, president of Kodinar-based NGO, Prakriti Parivar Trust, said, “Prakriti Parivar’s members have joined in the search operations. Hotels and guesthouses have been checked in Una and Kodinar towns. Besides, close vigil has also been kept in villages and dhabas located on Una-Kodinar-Diu roads.”

Sources said alert messages have been sounded to all concerned persons, NGOs, wild life wardens and people involved or interested in conservation and protection of forests and wild life. “People have been alerted mainly on the coastal belt between Porbander and Una town. The ‘Pargi gang’ is said to have sneaked into this area,” the sources said.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

CID forest cell looks for MP poacher

8-1-2007

CID forest cell looks for MP poacher

Times of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/CID_forest_cell_looks_for_MP_poacher/articleshow/2681903.cms

BANGALORE: He would take a pup deep into the forest, slit its ears and put salt or lime on the wound. Leaving the screaming pup on the ground, he'd take up position to shoot the big cats which would come to prey on the pup.

On one day, in less than 12 hours, wildlife poacher Durra (21) shot six adult leopards using his 'puppy bait'. A special squad of the CID forest cell has been sent to Madhya Pradesh to nab Durra, a Pardhi tribe member staying at Birahuli village in Rithi police limits, for leopard poaching in Haliyal and Dandeli.

The inter-state link came to light after the CID forest cell took over the Haliyal wildlife trade case and interrogated the main accused Prabhakar Keshav Dajakosh. He spilled the beans on the inter-state links among poachers and traders in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and Gujarat.

Durra is also wanted by the Gujarat and MP police for his involvement in Gir lion poaching, as well as killing tigers and leopards in Madhya Pradesh.

Last month, the state CID forest cell sleuths arrested four people in Haliyal and Old Hubli to recover 43 otter pelts, one tiger pelt and 23 leopard pelts.

"The missing links in the recent recovery of pelts and poaching of big cats across the country will be established once Durra is in police custody. Preliminary investigation revealed the international links in wildlife trade," forest cell IGP K S N Chikkerur said.

It's the first time that otter skins have been recovered in such a large quantity in the state. Otters are largely found at the Cauvery basin and poached for their pelt to make coats in the Himalayan and Tibetan regions.

While tiger and leopard pelts are in great demand, the demand for sloth bear skin and its vital organs has gone up tremendously in the past few years. An otter poached in Karnataka reaches Kashmir and its coat is in great demand in China and Nepal.

"Leopard skins are in great demand. They are often smuggled to Tibet and China through Nepal. An inter-state gang is operating in collusion with international traders and it could wipe out the wildlife here systematically," the officer added.

Fortunately, Karnataka is the only state where the cases in wildlife crime have more than 50% detection rate.

"One cannot rest on statistics. Big cats from South India are preferred by poachers for their unique colour combinations. Tigers or leopards dwelling in south Indian habitats are more beautiful than their counterparts from the deserts or snowy region," explained Chikkerur.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lion poaching: Main accused held

05-01-2008

Lion poaching: Main accused held

Times of India

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOI/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIA&login=default&AW=1199539676843

Prabhakar Gajakosh Nabbed From Karnataka. His Arrest Was Made On The Basis Of Cellphone Recordings

Rajkot: One of the main accused in lion poaching case, Prabhakar Keshav Gajakosh (50), was arrested in Karnataka and brought to Una in Junagadh by the CID crime branch. He is one of the prime accused in the lion poaching cases that took place in Sasan Gir forest last year. Sources said his arrest was made on the basis of m o b i l e p h o n e recordings. He was presented before the Una court with a remand application of 14 days for interrogation.

CID crime investigating the case found some number from mobile phone recordings which were in regular contact with the suspected persons arrested by them. Since the number was registered in Karnataka, they contacted their counterparts in that state and found the number in one Prabhakar Keshav Gajakosh’s name. When police raided his place, they were surprised to find 43 skins of wild animals, including one of tiger and 22 of leopard worth Rs 18 lakh. Prabhakar was arrested from his residence at Haliyal village in Karvar district of Karnataka.

Prabhakar owns a saw mill and mango orchards in Karnataka and the suspected persons, who were arrested by the police here earlier, used to work for him. He told them that if they wanted to make good money, they must kill animals for him. According to sources, Prabhakar used to instruct them what kind of stuff he wanted. Thereafter, he used to sell the skins and important body parts to big dealers. Police expect that during interrogation, he might reveal the entire story, and how he planned everything.

 “We can’t disclose further, as investigation is on,” said police inspector C R Vanerwala of Junagadh CID crime.

When Gir lions kept forest guards captive

05-01-2008

When Gir lions kept forest guards captive

Times of India

Junagadh: In today’s age of man caging wild animals, rarely would you find a beast having its way. It was time for sweet revenge for animal kingdom, when a pride of 13 lions decided to have fun at the expense of a couple of forest officials, on new year’s night and did it with such √©lan, that human beings had to climb atop a tree, to save their lives.

Two forest guards, A I Kathi and R B Chauhan, were on their usual night rounds in the Patwan area of Gir forest, on new year night, when the lions appeared, all of a sudden, on the road from Sarkadia to Surajkund. Noticing human presence the big cats became edgy and a few of them literally squatted, refusing to leave. The guards tried to quietly escape at about nine in the night, but were not allowed to, by the big cats and had to take shelter in a tree top for three hours to save their life. “The tree top was freezing in the chilly weather of winter,” said K at h i adding, “We were able to inform the forest department of our predicament via mobile from the tree top. Help arrived only after three hours.”

The entire staff on duty of the northern forest range rushed to the rescue of guards in the leadership of Forest officer S K Jadeja. Commenting on the incident, an officer of the department said that this sort of encounters are likely to increase due to man’s encroachment on the natural habitats of the animals. SOURCE : SANDESH

Monday, January 07, 2008

Pardhi tribe termed the biggest threat to wildlife

7-1-2007

Pardhi tribe termed the biggest threat to wildlife

Indian Express

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Pardhi-tribe-termed-the-biggest-threat-to-wildlife/258530/

New Delhi, January 6 Authorities have termed the Pardhi tribes as the “number one threat” to the country’s wildlife population in the wake of poaching of eight lions in the Gir Forest lately “They are the most skilled of all the poachers. And as the lions are extremely and critically endangered, the Pardhis strike should be seen as a huge and big threat to them,” said Belinda Wright, Executive Director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

It is not only the lions in Gir, even tigers in the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh are not safe from the Pardhis

“They are the number one threat to wildlife as well as to the tiger population in MP. They are traditional hunters and there are numerous wildlife offences registered against them in the state,” said Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) of Madhya Pradesh, H S Pabla.

Wildlife experts attribute hundreds of tiger deaths to the Pardhis over the years and say that as these tribesmen are active across the country, there is no collated data regarding them with any anti-poaching agency, like the forest department, police or NGOs.

Wright pointed out that unlike the tigers, which are found in various parts of the country, the lions have their only natural habitat in the Gir forests.

Recounting the deadly might of the Pardhis, Wright said, “Once they laid four steel-traps in the forests in the afternoon and by evening they had poached three Lions.”

The Pardhis, who have sub-tribes like Bawadiya, Mogia, Chidimar and Bahelia, were branded as “criminal” tribes in 1871 by the British for their hunting and poaching activities. In 1952, the tribe was denotified as “criminal” and named a nomadic tribe.

“The Pardhis are present in the Reethi forest range, Vimalkheri, Barhi, Bihrauli and other places. They are traditionally into poaching as they are habitual non-vegetarians,” said K P Tripathi, Range Forest Officer (RFO) of Vijayraghogarh forest range in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh.

“They initially hunted wild animals for eating but with time they have become ‘specialists’ in tiger poaching. They poach cruelly and are a hard nut to crack once we start the investigations,” Tripathi added.

Manjula Srivastava, an advocate who has represented the Madhya Pradesh state forest department in various poaching cases related to Pardhis, said, “They have done it all — be it tigers, leopards or wild boars. They are a tough game for the Forest Department as they are always armed.”

She added that many Pardhis are known to have voter ID cards, bank balance, television sets and luxury cars too.

Experts opine that lack of education and their laid-back attitude towards work make them an easy pawn at the hands of politicians and mafia gangs. However, the Forest Department is trying to bring them into the mainstream.

“They are expert net makers and can do small business.

We are trying to impart training to the elders and education to their children with the help of the Tribals Department,” said Additional PCCF Pabla.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Two forest guards encircled by 13 Asiatic lions for three hours

3-1-2008

Two forest guards encircled by 13 Asiatic lions for three hours

Divya Bhasker (Briefly Translated from Gujarati)

Chilly winds…Dark jungle… 13 lions before eyes… It is even hard to imagine such a scary scene. But it happened in real life of two brave forest guards in Girnar Protected forest near Junagadh.

A. I. Kathi and Rajubhai are forest guards placed at Thana round of Patwad range of North Junagadh. As per their daily routine they were patrolling the forest on a circular route in their region on motor-bike. On way back suddenly they confronted 13 grown lions near Suraj Kund. Pride was on a kill of Sabar. Disturbing wild cats on kill is like inviting death. Guards could not even show their back to lions as it is also risky. The only weapon they had was a wooden stick.

One of frightened guard suddenly remembered he had his mobile phone. And to their luck they were in network coverage. He immediately phoned RFO (North Dungar Range) S K Jadeja and explained the whole situation. Shortly RFO arrived in his jeep and the pride cleared the way. Finally rescued guards thanked God.

Together Lets Save Gir and Asiatic Lion

Update provided by:

Kishore Kotecha

Wildlife Conservation Trust

Rajkot – Gujarat – India

Ph: +91 98240 62062, Email: info@asiaticlion.org

Web: www.asiaticlion.org, News Blog: http://asiatic-lion.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Kashmir burns world's largest fur stockpile from endangered species

1-1-2008

Kashmir burns world’s largest fur stockpile from endangered species

http://naturein2008.blogspot.com/2008/01/kashmir-burns-worlds-largest-fur.html

Wildlife authorities today torched a huge pile of banned wildlife furs and skins as part of the government’s effort to stop an illegal trade that threatens to wipe out many of India’s most endangered species.

Under the orders of the High Court, 8 truckloads of stockpiled pelts were burned by state officials in a public display of destruction, in the northern Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Incinerated items included skins, rugs, fur coats and gloves made from dozens of tiger, snow leopard, leopard, hill fox, leopard cats, black bear, otters and wolves. All species are protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the Jammu & Kashmir Wildlife Protection Act 1978 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The huge stock, estimated to be worth several million US dollars, came from more than 125,000 articles surrendered by furriers from the Kashmir Valley region. The fur traders were forced to give up their illegal stash by the court, which will oversee a compensation scheme for the animal skins worth almost $2,500,000 USD.

Ashok Kumar, trustee of the Wildlife Trust of India, lit the pyre. He said: “This is a hugely significant moment. Going up in flames was the largest single agglomeration of wildlife skins anywhere in the world. Compensation will be given to those furriers who willingly surrendered their stock. It is a small price to pay to protect endangered species from the decimation of poachers.

“The job of enforcement officials throughout the region will be much easier now as any new stocks that are found will be seized immediately and the trader brought to justice. Wild species have respite from the Kashmir fur trade, although at no time can we give up the battle.”

Chief Wildlife Warden for Jammu & Kashmir, A. K. Srivastava, said: “We have waited many years for this moment. This historic event is taking place with the support of the local community, in an open and transparent manner, for the ultimate protection of our precious wildlife.”

Kashmir has historically been the centre of the wild animal skin trade, with specimens being brought into the Valley from all parts of India. This is demonstrated by the existence of the head of an Asiatic lion, which lives exclusively in the western state of Gujarat, in the stockpile.

The first truckload of illegal skins was burnt in Srinagar in October. Today’s burning begins to destroy the remainder of the 127,326 items held in storage by the Forest Department. The total tally includes: tiger (45 skins, 44 heads and 14 manufactured items), snow leopard (104 skins, 1 head and 25 items), black bear (120 skins and 5 mounted heads), leopard (422 skins, 115 heads and 435 items), jungle cat (33,235 skins and 6,255 items), one lion head and one Tibetan antelope skull.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, witnessed the burning and said: “Like Kenya’s burning of stockpiled ivory in 1989, I hope these flames send a strong message to consumers around the world that the trade in endangered species is illegal and totally unacceptable in today’s society.”

Incidents of man-animal conflict in Gir reach an alarming level

2-1-2008

Incidents of man-animal conflict in Gir reach an alarming level

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Incidents-of-mananimal-conflict-in-Gir-reach-an-alarming-level/256684/

Junagadh, January 1 Incidents of man-animal conflict in the famous Gir forest have reached an alarming level. A total of 74 leopards were caged from the revenue area surrounding Gir in 2007. In addition, two separate incidents of minor boys being killed by leopards in the adjoining area of Gir forest were reported. This apart, there were more than half a dozen more incidents of fights reported between humans and the big cats in 2007.

When contacted, deputy conservator of forest (Gir west) B P Pati admitted that in recent time, conflict between human and the big cats have increased. "In 2007, in Gir west forest division alone — 48 leopards and two cubs have been caged and shifted from the revenue area. In addition to this— 13 lions along with 13 cubs have also been shifted to the forest interiors from an area falling under this division," said Pati.

Pati said the increasing population of the lions and leopards, coupled with the shrinking natural habitat, lack of wasteland, were the main reasons behind these conflicts.

In addition, some other reasons responsible were possibly due to change in cropping patterns in an area adjoining the forest. "Particularly mango farms and sugar cane fields are providing a convenient natural habitat for the big cats particularly leopards. Many a times, the third or fourth generation of leopards have been growing and taking shelter in sugarcane cultivated areas of namely Talala, Kodinar, Una and Sutrapada taluka," said Pati.

Deputy conservator of forest (Gir east) J S Solanki, said, "as many as 24 leopards have been relocated in an area falling under Gir east forest division during 2007. "Population increase and adaptive migration among big cats were the prime reasons for man-animal conflict," he said.

A senior forest official said, while a leopard could make its habitat in grassland or vidi land near water pockets, a lion required at least seven sq km area for its territory.

The total area of the Gir forest measures around 1,800 sq km, and according to a 2005 census, which estimated a total of 359 plus lions, the minimum forest areas required to accommodate the 'king of the jungle' is 2,500 sq km. "This indicates a shortfall of 700 sq km forest area," said Solanki.

Summary of the recent incident as listed below:

*November 17, 2007: A boy aged of about 3 years was killed in a sugarcane field located on the outskirts of Bhimdeval village near Talala.

*December 15, 2007: A leopard attacked a woman in a sugarcane field at Sawani village near Prabhas Patan town. The woman fended off the big cat but received injuries in the process.

*December 23, 2007: A lion attacked a farmer on the outskirts of Bhacha village near Una. The farmer received stitches.

Previous Posts