Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drive against illegal miners bears fruit


Drive against illegal miners bears fruit

Indian Express By Sibte Husain Bukhari

Junagadh, May 30 Illegal mining activities have come to a halt in Junagadh district, particularly near the Gir forest, following the intensive drive jointly carried out by the district administration and the Mine and Mineral department.

Following reports of large scale illegal mining activities in Junagadh district, particularly on the costal belt and in some pockets near Gir forest, the Junagadh district collector Ashwini Kumar had formed a two-member committee comprising the sub-divisional magistrate and the deputy SP -- to monitor and curb cases of illegal mining.

According to sources, some NGOs involved with protecting forests and the wildlife had written to the district collector and authorities concerned about the illegal mining activities being carried out in the 5-km radius of the forest border.

When contacted, district collector Ashwini Kumar, said, "Strict action has been taken against those involved in illegal mining activities, and according to our departmental report, there are no mines near the Gir forest now."

"Apart from the area near Gir, we are taking strict action against illegal mine operators. Machinery worth lakhs of rupees has been seized and police action has been initiated. Though illegal mine operators try to outsmart us by using movable machinery, we have carried out instant raids on receiving reports of any such activity. Recently on May 19, a total of 77 cutter machines were seized from a village in Mangarol taluka on the costal belt," said Kumar

When contacted, Revatubha Raizada, the office bearers of the Sky Forest Youth Club in Keshod town said, "Earlier, some illegal mines were operational near Jamwala village located on the periphery of Gir forest. However, now there are no reports of any illegal mining in the area."

According to an activist, illegal mine operators are mainly concentrated on the costal belt areas particularly in Una, Kodinar and Mangarol taluka. How ever, their activities were restricted once the district administration carried out intensive drives.

"Last week the district administration held a meeting with industrialists on this issue. It was clearly spelt out that those involved in illegal mining would not be spared and if deemed necessary, they would be arrested under PASA (Prevention of Anti Social Activities)," said the district collector.

Leopard carcass found in field, foul play suspected


Leopard carcass found in field, foul play suspected

Indian Express

Junagadh, May 29 In less then a month, another leopard carcass has surfaced in the revenue area adjoining Gir forest. On Wednesday, the carcass of a full-grown leopard was found in a farm located on the outskirts of Jashapar village in Talala taluka falling under Gir west forest division. Prima facie, it appeared that the leopard had died due to natural reasons, but a post-mortem revealed head injuries, which had resulted in a brain hemorrhage.

Earlier on May 3, the carcass of a leopard had been found in the fields on the outskirts of Simar village in Jashadhar forest range in Gir east forest division. Officials had admitted it to be a case of poaching, and while the police have identified two people, they are still at large.

According to Range forest officer (Talala range) M B Chauhan, a leopard attacked one Jerambhai Nagji (65) when he was working in the fields on Tuesday. Nagji was rushed to the Talala public health centre where he received six stitches. Even though the foresters laid a trap and waited all night to nab the animal, they could not find it.

When the foresters began looking for the animal the next day, they found a leopard's carcass lying barely 50 meters from where the incident had occurred.

When contacted, Assistant Conservator of Forest (Talala range) R D Katara said, "Prima-facie it was appeared to be a case of natural death, but a post-mortem revealed that the animal had received serious head injuries. An inquiry has been initiated into this case."

When contacted, inquiry officer M B Chauhan said, "On Thursday, an offence was registered under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, rule 9 -against an unknown person. However, no arrests have been made so far."

The farmer's statement is yet to be recorded as he is still under medical observation. Killing of leopards is a non-bailable offence, that invites punishment ranging between three to seven years and fine, or both," said Chauhan.

Lion's share goes up in Gir


Lion’s share goes up in Gir

DNA India By Jumana Shah

AHMEDABAD: Now, here's one more reason for the last breed of Asiatic lions in Gir to cheer. Acknowledging the need to expand the habitat area of lions, the state government has accepted the Greater Gir proposal.

According to the proposal, the current sanctuary area has to be increased threefold and the entire corridor declared eco-fragile.

Through the Rs40 crore allocated to the Gujarat Lion Conservation Society in the state budget this year, the government has already initiated expansion of the habitat as the population of lions is expanding rapidly. The entire corridor up to Palitana in Bhavnagar and Mahuva in South Savarkundla and Jesar will be declared protected.

This expansion is in addition to the recent addition of a 180 sq km area of Girnar hills to the 1,460 sq km of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and Puniya and Mitiyala forest areas to the sanctuary in the past.

"The idea of Brihad (Greater) Gir has been accepted by the government. Nearly 200 sq km area will be given protected status sometime in the future and maybe even sanctuary status eventually," said principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Pradeep Khanna. He said efforts were on to identify and acquire land which used to be the traditional corridor of lions as they were straying there in huge numbers anyway.

Most of this land which was once habited by lions is now farmland, cattle grazing land (guachar) or villages. This is making the task of giving the area the requisite protected status rather difficult. "Identifying the ownership of the land is a lengthy process as the area is very large. But since the government has agreed in principle to expand the habitat of lions, it should not be very difficult," Khanna added.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thirty-three held for illegally entering Gir forest, released on self-bail


Thirty-three held for illegally entering Gir forest, released on self-bail

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, May 26 Forest officials arrested 33 people for illegally entering the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday. However, they were released later after producing self-bails.

According to forest officials, the arrests were made under the provision of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. They said the offenders will be prosecuted and fine will be slapped on them.

Officials said that Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir east) J S Solanki, during his scheduled visit in the protected area, noticed a group of men and women there. When he questioned them, he found that the group had made an illegal entry.

“Illegally entering a protected forest area is a serious offence. They will be prosecuted before the court of deputy conservator of forest,” Solanki said. He added that on Saturday, a motorcyclist was also arrested while roaming around in the protected area.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a carcass of a full-grown lioness was recovered from Babara vidi, a protected area outside the Gir forest near Malia town. A postmortem conducted on the spot did not show any injury on the body.

“The exact cause of death could not be established immediately. Viscera of the animal have been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Junagadh for a detailed clinical examination,” officials said.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pride of eleven lions in Fatsar village


Pride of eleven lions in Fatsar village

Divya Bhaskar

Briefly translated from Gujarati

In an incidence a pride of eleven lions killed two cows in Fatsar village of Una Taluka. The kill was done right in the centre of village. Around 1000 villagers (viewers) had gathered to see the lions. In spite of such a big crowd, lions enjoyed their kill till morning.

Kishore Kotecha's Comment: Fatsar is one of those villages adjoining Gir forest where lions are regular visitors. This is not new for lions or residents of Fatsar. But few local village leaders want their names in the news paper. Hence such incidence reporting by media has increased these days. I humbly request media to give less importance to such small incidences, as it may have negative impact on conservation efforts.

Carcass of lioness found in Maliya


Carcass of lioness found in Maliya

Gujarat Samachar

Briefly translated from Gujarati
Yesterday forest department found carcass of eight year old lioness in Babra vidi of Maliya Taluka near Sasan. On site postmortem was done by doctors and viscera has been sent to FSL for further investigation. All the claws were intact. Reason for death may be snake bite or heart seizure. A pride of about 10-12 lions resides in Babra vidi.

Article of Asiatic Lion By Bhushan Pandya


An good article on Asiatic Lions is written in Gujarati by Bhushanbhai Pandya, renowned photographer and wildlifer from Rajkot. It is published in April-08 issue of Vishva-Vihar, a magazine by Gujarat Vishwakosh Trust – Ahmedabad. As the article is in Gujarati language, I have put on blog in jpg format. Enjoy…


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Gujarat's Pride? ; Will some of Gir's prized Asiatic Lions find home in MP?


Gujarat’s Pride? ; Will some of Gir's prized Asiatic Lions find home in MP?

Outlook India - By Debarshi Dasgupta

Why Gir Lions Are Sacred

·        A central proposal to move some lions to Kuno in MP from Gir has been in limbo for over two decades

·        Gujarat has been resisting since the lions are widely seen as the pride for Gujarat

·        Distributing the lions, feel experts, will reduce risks from an epidemic or natural calamity at one spot

·        Now MP and the Centre want to introduce some zoo lions into Kuno

·        The Supreme Court is hearing a pil pleading the court to order Gujarat to part with some lions

The dispute between Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over sharing wild Asiatic lions has taken a new turn.

The possession of the only surviving wild Asiatic lions has been a matter of pride for the Gujarat government.

With the Narendra Modi government rejecting an ambitious federal proposal to relocate some of lions from Gujarat's Gir sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh is now going ahead with transferring zoo-bred animals to Kuno—where a special habitat will be readied. Conservationists say this may have disastrous consequences since the lions will have to be adapted to the wild by humans and their offspring, if any, then prepared to be released. Brij Kishor Gupta of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), however, says: "It's the second or third generation of these parent lions that we can think of releasing into the wild. This will take about 10 years."

Three genetically 'pure' Asiatic lions, two females and a male, have been identified to be moved from zoos in Delhi and Hyderabad, once the facility at Durandi in the Kuno sanctuary is ready. P.B. Gangopadhyay, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), wildlife, with the MP government, claims this is an interim measure. "Hopefully, Gujarat will one day understand our position that relocation is in the interest of the safety of the lion. Even the National Board of Wildlife has strongly endorsed our stand," he says. The stakes are high for MP as it has already spent Rs 15 crore to prepare Kuno and relocate over 1,500 families from the area.

Gir is home to 360 of the last surviving wild Asiatic lions. The proposal to shift some of these animals to a new location was first mooted in 1995 to ensure the lions have better chances of survival in case of a natural calamity, such as an epidemic. The outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus in Serengeti, Kenya, in 1994 which killed 30 per cent of the lions, typifies the kind of risk that exists. However, Gujarat's argument against the relocation plan is that the population of lions in the state has gone up from 327 in 2001 and that the Kuno sanctuary is not suitable enough.

Meanwhile, last month, in cooperation with the CZA, the Madhya Pradesh government demarcated an area in Kuno to house the "off-display conservation breeding centre" for zoo lions. But the move to 'rehabilitate' zoo lions in the wild has many critics. Says Asad Rahmani, director of Bombay Natural History Society: "The whole idea of conservation will be defeated, more so because we have a surviving wild population. It is a pity that politics is determining the outcome of such a prestigious project. Animals don't recognise political boundaries but only those that are ecological and Kuno is well within the ecological boundary of the Asiatic lion."

Adds Raghunandan Singh Chundawat, a conservationist specialising in big cats: "These zoo-bred lions are used to human presence and their offspring will require training to adapt to the wild and hunt. But what is the guarantee that these lions will not at some point stray into conflicts with humans for easy prey?"

The Supreme Court is hearing a pil seeking the relocation of wild lions filed in 2006 by Faiyaz Khudsar, a trustee with the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India. "The people were relocated around Kuno to make way for wild lions.

Would it be ethical to introduce zoo lions instead?" asks Khudsar. While Gujarat is not legally bound to hand over its lions, Ritwick Dutta, the lawyer for the petitioner, argues, "Wildlife was kept a concurrent subject so that the centre can direct a state to carry out a task in the interest of protecting endangered species such as the Asiatic lion."

Pradeep Khanna, PCCF, wildlife, with the government of Gujarat, insists relocation does not recognise the successful conservation efforts of the state. "This proposal continues despite our success in tackling poaching and our ongoing efforts to repair wells that trap the lions. Even the local people of Gir take pride in conserving the lions and have paid a price in terms of losing some of their cattle," he says.

Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, in their affidavits submitted to the Supreme Court, have argued over various points such as whether the prey base in Kuno is adequate for lions, whether lions and tigers can coexist or if the lions will be adequately protected from poachers in Kuno. However, many conservationists argue that Gujarat's reasons for refusing to hand over some lions are not ecological but more political and economic in nature. The possession of the only surviving wild population of Asiatic lions has been an emotive issue for long in the state and the official press releases portray them as the 'pride of Gujarat'. It is common to find local politicians who bristle at talk of moving the lions.

Achyut Yagnik, honorary secretary of the Centre for Social Knowledge and Action in Ahmedabad, says the possession of the lions has become a 'political legacy' that the Modi government has inherited from Shankersinh Vaghela. "When this proposal first came up, people from Saurashtra (where Gir is located) campaigned to retain ownership of the lions. The people of Gujarat take great pride in these lions who have a special place in local folk traditions," he says. The sanctuary attracts over a lakh of visitors annually. Revenues from Gir touched Rs 1.37 crore in 2007.

All eyes are now on the Supreme Court. Will it settle the dispute and end Gujarat's 'monopoly' over the Asiatic lion? Or will Madhya Pradesh have to continue to make do with lions in captivity? The fate of the conservation programme virtually rests on the apex court ruling.

Four lions will br transferred to Barda WLS


Four lions will br transferred to Barda WLS

Divya Bhaskar

Briefly translated from Gujarati

Good News for the day……

The project of translocating few pairs of Asiatic Lions to Barda sanctuary near Porbandar was going ON since many years. Barda is proposed as second home for this last surviving species.

Finally, as the article mentions, four lions will be shifted from Gir to Barda in coming four months. Barda WLS will echo with roars of Asiatic Lions very soon. Forest department has begun its exercise to create suitable environment for the coming members.

It is believed that lions resided Barda in past. After four lions find it suitable, ten more lions will be brought in.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mother returns to find her cubs


Mother returns to find her cubs

Divya Bhaskar

Briefly translated from Gujarati
Yesterday two cubs had died by accidentally falling into the well in Khilawad village. Out of her love, mother returned to the village (along with the pride of 9 lions) to search for her lost cubs. Her grunts to find the cubs, moved hearts the of villagers. Forest department anticipated 'Return of the Queen' so forest staff was on duty to avoid any unwarranted  man-animal conflict.

Cow killed by Lion


Cow killed by Lion

Gujarat Samachar

Briefly translated from Gujarati
A lioness with two cubs killed a cow in Anakbhai Varu's farm in Lor village in Jafrabad Taluka in district Amreli.

Two cubs fall to death in well


Two cubs fall to death in well

Indian Express

Junagadh, May 22 Two lion cubs aged about two months reportedly died after slipping into a well.

The incident occurred on Wednesday on the outskirts of Khilawad village under Tikaria bit in Jashadhar forest range in Gir east forest division.

This is the second such incident to be reported in the revenue area surrounding Gir forest.

On April 3, carcass of a lioness was recovered from an abandoned parapet-less well on the outskirts of Surva village in Talala taluka in Gir west forest division.

According to forest officials, two lion cubs, male and female, sneaked into a well through a small hole between a hut and the well.

The hut that houses the diesel water pump is located on an agriculture land owned by Chhagan Modasia, a farmer.

On being informed about the incident, forest officials rushed to the spot and fished out the carcasses from the well.

According to the post-mortem report submitted by two veterinary doctors, the cubs died due to injuries received during the fall.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir east) J S Solanki said, "Brain hemorrhage and drowning are stated to be the cause of the death of the cubs. All the claws of both the cubs have been found in-tact."

Last year, a total of five lions died after a fall into parapet-less wells. According to a survey conducted by NGOs and the Forest department, around 8,000 to 9,000 such wells exist in the revenue area adjoining the Gir forest.

In spite of financial assistant provided by the Forest department and NGOs, the farmers give a poor response to covering the parapet-less wells.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Well sans walls drowns 2 lion cubs


Well sans walls drowns 2 lion cubs

Times of India default&AW =12114 4630 2125


Una: In yet another incident of its kind, two lions cubs fell into an open well in a farm in Khilawad village near Una on Tuesday night and drowned. The cubs were barely a month old.


Despite lions being in the spotlight after the poaching cases in 2007, open wells have remained a nightmare for the big cats. At least half a dozen incidents of lions drowning in the wells are reported every year. "A male and female were playing when they were separated from their mother and fell into the well," said district forest officer J S Solanki.


Gir's open wells had hit the spotlight in 2006 after a number of the wild cats had been killed by poachers and the wells. Corporates had promised funds to build parapet walls around wells, while NGOs sent volunteers to help out. And still, there are nearly 9,000 wells in lion territory that need walls.

Water points for Asiatic lions in Sasan Gir in Gujarat


Water points for Asiatic lions in Sasan Gir in Gujarat

Times of India

SASAN GIR SANCTUARY: With mercury registering high temperature with each passing day, the forest authorities in Sasan Gir sanctuary have made arrangements to protect lions and other wild life and domestic animals from being thirsty.

About 215 artificial water points have been made to arrange drinking water for animals.

The wildlife division in Sasan Gir is sending in a large number of tractor-tankers to replenish water holes and is also keeping a watch on movements of the prides.

According to B D Pati, the Chief Conservator of Forests, the drive of creating man-made waterholes is on and a good number of people are involved to make sure that pride of the jungle has no such problem.

"The work of filling water point is on and we are sending a team inside the jungle with tankers. They are keeping it well. We have made several artificial water points and we are filling them regularly wherever we believe that the lions are returning to drink water. A good number of people too are engaged in this drive," B D Patil said.

Wild Life Conservation Trust is one such non-government organization (NGO) that is active in construction of a wall surrounding open wells in the nearby villages, lest the animals from the sanctuary fall into them.

"Actually Sasan Gir is a dry deciduous forest type of area. There are seven parallel rivers, which go dry at times in summers. So to prevent these wild animals to come out of the wild forest and to make sure they get water inside the forest we have installed 200 artificial water points in the sanctuary area," said Kishor Kotecha, Founder, Wild life Conservation Trust.

Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (also known as Sasan-Gir) is the sole home of the pure Asiatic Lions.

Spread over about 258 kilometres for the fully protected area (the National Park) and 1,153 kms for the Sanctuary, the area is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species.

Established in 1965, the total area of 1,412 kms is located about 65 km from Junagadh city of the Junagadh district in Kathiawar peninsula of Gujarat.

Seven rivers that pass through Gir namely Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Ghodavadi, and Raval have started drying up.

Less than 250 watering points are presently available for more than 390 lions, 350 leopards, and 40,000 ungulates, including spotted deer, Sambar, Nilgai, Chinkara, antelope, and wild boar.

Besides, Gir harbours 1,000 species of birds and 26 species of reptiles

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another problem for Gir Lions minning activities on Gir forest


Another problem for Gir Lions minning activities on Gir forest

Divya Bhaskar

Briefly translated from Gujarati
Few days back one of the illegal mine was raided in Khodad village of Mangrol Taluka. Equipments worth Rs. 40 lacs were also seized. But one such raid will not stop numerous mines illegally operating on periphery of Gir forest. As per WLPA – 1972 no mining activity is permissible within 5 km radius of the forest. Still because of boom in construction activities, such illegal mines are also booming.
Mine owners get permission for one mine and then using that permission illegally does mining at many places in Govt. land, grazing fields etc. There are many such illegal mines in Ghantwad, Jamvada, Bhakha, Thordi, Sanvav, Alidad, Harmadiya and Abhalvad villages.
District Collector, Ashwani Kumar says, no big shots will also be spared if they are caught in such illegal activity. We will also use PASA weapon against them.

Gir Lion spends a night in kitchen of family in slumber


Gir Lion spends a night in kitchen of family in slumber

Divya Bhaskar

Briefly translated from Gujarati
This incidence proves that lion (and most of the wild animals) don't attack humans until disturbed or harassed.
Asiatic Lions visiting Itvaya village at 10 km from Una town is very common. Two days back, a pride of four lions visited the village and killed a cattle. Normally by the time villagers find such killings, lions are back into the jungle. But in this incidence, villagers got awakened.
Villagers and forest staff tried to scare away the pride back into the jungle. In the process, one of the lion, entered into the house of Jerambhai Lavabhai Korat. His family was sleeping in the lounge. The lion without disturbing or harming them moved into the kitchen area. There it spent a night.
Finally, family was called outside the house and after hours of efforts by forest department, lion was scared away to jungle.

Lion cub rescued from well, reunited with mother


Lion cub rescued from well, reunited with mother

Express India By Sibte Husain Bukhari
Junagadh, May 20 A two-month-old lion cub that was rescued from a parapet-less well was reunited with its mother after a 36-year-hour exercise, bringing the story to a happy end. This rare incident occurred in the revenue area outside the Gir forest.
According to forest officials, a lioness and two of her cubs had ventured into the forest revenue area adjoining the costal forest falling under Veraval forest range in Junagadh division.
However, on Sunday evening, a two-month-old cub reportedly fell into a parapet-less well in the area. On being informed about this, forest range officers (Veraval range) K R Vaghasia and veterinary doctor R K Hirapara rushed to the spot along with a rescue team, and after a two-hour exercise, rescued the cub from the well.
Since an abandoned cub might not survive without its mother, the officials, without any delay, decided to locate the actual mother.
But as two lionesses had been seen roaming in the area, it was not easy for the officials to identify the real mother.
When contacted, deputy conservator of forest (Junagadh range) V J Rana, confirmed the incident and said, "The rescue team kept a cub in the cage, which was placed at a suitable site in the area. We waited for close to 36 hours for the lioness to accept her cub," he said.
"Besides, female carnivores do not readily accept cubs that are not delivered by them. They often kill such cubs," he said.
According to Dr Hirpara, "The lioness first arrived at 9 pm on Sunday night. Since we had left the door of the cage open, she came and sniffed the cub but left soon. She again came at 3 in the morning. This time too, she simply left after sniffing the cub. The second rejection worried us to no end, but we decided to wait for the results," he said.
"Finally on Monday midnight, a lioness visited the cage again. This time she took longer in sniffing the cub and both disappeared into the adjoining costal forest," Hirpara said.
"It has been observed that carnivores do not accept their cubs if they come in contact with human beings. Fortunately, in this case, the lioness did accept her young one," said Rana.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lion cub saved from Open Well in Gir


Lion cub saved from Open Well in Gir

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)
One more "Killer Well" incidence has been reported in Gir area.
A lion cub accidentally fell into well in Sutrapada area of Gir forest. On receiving the information, rescue team immediately rushed to the spot and saved three months old cute lion cub. Attempts are being made to release it in the wild, once the mother of the cub is recognized.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Woman electrocuted in field, two arrested


Woman electrocuted in field, two arrested

Express India By Sibte Husain Bukhari

Junagadh, May 16 A woman was electrocuted after coming in contact with a live wire fence at an agriculture field.
The incident occurred early this week on the outskirts of Rabarika village in Jetpur taluka. The police arrested two persons, including the owners of the land, on Thursday.
In their bid to save standing crops from cattle, farmers, especially in the Saurashtra region, erect fencing around their fields and rig them with live wires.
But many a times, this practice takes a toll on human life as well as on wildlife.
According to police sources, Kankuben, 50, a shepherd woman along with her husband and stock of cattle were camping between Rabarika and Kerali village.
On Tuesday, while coming back to her camp after selling milk, she accidentally came in contact with a live wire and died on the spot.
Later her husband Ghela Bharwad lodged complaint with the Jetpur taluka police under Section 304 (C) of the Indian Penal Code, a non-bailable offence.
Acting on the complaint, the police started investigations and arrested two persons, identified as Bhanu Khant – the landowner and his associate Leela Dhudha.
The two had reportedly put the electric fence in a bid to save their groundnut crop from the wild nilgais.
The two have been thoroughly grilled by the police and produced before the court of judicial magistrate (first class) jetpur town.
When reports last came in on Thursday evening, the hearing and submission before the court was completed and court's orders are being awaited.
According to the officials, it is strictly prohibited under law to pass an electric current through a fence.
But, in spite of forest department's intensified drive against such practices, it has been difficult to prevent farmers from doing so.
Last year, in an incident on October 19, five lions were electrocuted on the outskirts of Prempara village, just five kilometres away from the Gir east forest headquarters of Dahri town.

Lions kill six cows in gaushala


Lions kill six cows in gaushala

Times of India
Striking terror in a gaushala, a pride of five lions killed six cows in Moti Dhanaj village of Malia Hatina taluka in Junagadh district in wee hours of Thursday. But, a herd of other cows retaliated the attack and chased the lions away before they could eat their kill. A forest department official said, "This incident Shows lions' desperation for food."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Corporates ‘well’ on way to save lion


Corporates 'well' on way to save lion

Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

Ahmedabad: Corporates are lining up to save the rare Asiatic lion in Gir. The move comes in the aftermath of last year's incidents of poaching inside the Gir sanctuary.

The state government has formed a Gujarat State Lion Conservation Society and several corporate houses have lined up to help the state government to help save the lions.

A senior officer, requesting anonymity, said that the government made a song and dance while announcing a corpus fund to save the lion. But, reality is quite different. The government this year has allocated only Rs 12 crore which have been spent in purchasing new vehicles, night vision binoculars and other gadgets. 
"There was next to nothing left for covering up wells. Every year, four to five lions die after accidentally falling into the wells. Due to non-availability of funds, the forest department has not been able to speed up the covering of wells," said a senior government official. But, help has come from the corporate sector with private organizations expressing their willingness to cover the open wells which have proved to be death traps for lions and their cubs.
Officials said that there were nearly 9,000 wells which were to be covered with parapet walls. Principal chief conservator of forest (wild life) Pradeep Khanna said that after the government formed GSLCS, several corporates volunteered to construct the wells on their own following the design of the state government. There were others who wanted to donate money.
Khanna added: "Reliance has begun covering 1,500 wells around the protected Gir national park, while Tata has taken up 1,000 wells. Ambuja has shown willingness to cover 300 wells.
He said that apart from these three, L &T contributed Rs 12 lakh, followed by Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) which donated Rs 5 lakh.

He said that some of the communities have also donated money. In all, the forest department collected nearly Rs 19 lakh for the work.

He added that Vanishing Hut Foundation, a voluntary group, was also involved in covering the wells. Besides, efforts were also on to rope in the Confederation of Indian Industries. 
"Of the nearly 9,000 wells, 2,100 have been covered and another 3,000 will be covered this year. All the wells will be covered by 2009-10. The state government too will pitch in with its share of contribution," said Khanna.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gir lions' den gets bigger by 180 sq km


Gir lions’ den gets bigger by 180 sq km

DNA, By Anil Pathak

GANDHINAGAR: The Asiatic lions at the Sasan Gir lion sanctuary will soon be able to romp through a larger roaming ground, an expansion that is expected to enhance their chances of survival.

The state government has decided to extend the sanctuary up to Girnar, Junagadh, merging an additional 180 sq km, raising the sanctuary's total area to 1640 square km.

The state forest and environment department has been compelled to expand the limits because more than 100 big cats have strayed into the forests and nearby villages, threatening milch animals and humans.

The state forest and environment secretary, S K Nanda, said that the proposed extension of the sanctuary would provide a better habitat to the lions, which had started moving to the nearby plains bordering Amreli and Bhavnagar districts.

"The initiative is the need of the hour and the state government is committed to preserving and protecting the lions at Gir, the lone abode of the Asiatic lions in world," Nanda said.

He said that the move was a part of several other measures the government has envisaged as part of a Rs40 crore plan announced by chief minister  Narendra Modi to save the lions.

Responding to increasing congestion in the sanctuary, the state government had extended the sanctuary area twice in the recent past.

Earlier, authorities had incorporated Puniya into the limits of the sanctuary in 1989.

But again, the lions had started moving towards the forest range of Amreli and again the sanctuary area was expanded by merging the Mitiala stretch of the forest into the sanctuary in 2004.

Girnar Forest converted to sanctuary


Status Girnar Forest converted to Sanctuary

Divya Bhaskar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)
Due to congestion in Gir forest, Asiatic Lions have been staying at Girnar Forest since many years. Looking to need of the hour, Government of Gujarat has decided to convert status of 180 sq km of Girnar forest to Girnar Sanctuary.
In 2004, Mityala Forest was converted in to Sanctuary. With this, now total Sanctuary area for Asiatic Lions is 1640 sq km.

Although declared as Sanctuary, existing religious places inside it will have a permanent right of way.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lion cub carcass found in Gir, infighting among prides suspected


Lion cub carcass found in Gir, infighting among prides suspected

Times of India default&AW= 121075 55  2546

 Junagadh: In what appears to be the fallout of infighting to gain pride control, a lion cub's carcass was found from Dudhala Nes area of Raydi range of Gir (West) on Monday morning, by a team of forest officials. With the process of dispersal at its peak, show of strength for control of territory as well as pride is a common occurrence among male lions of different prides.

"One of three cubs of a lioness, from a pride of nine was killed and eaten. Only the head and paws remained, which were spotted by our team members during a regular round of the range," said BP Patti, deputy conservator of Forest.

 "It is most likely that the cub was killed by a lion not belonging to its pride. The attacking lion must have been victorious, proving to be more powerful than its opponent," said Patti.

Explained Patti, "We are working on the theory, that a fight must have ensued between a lion of this pride and one from outside, in which the latter must have defeated the cub's pride. The lion who took control of the pride, must have chased and killed this cub, borne by the defeated lion."

"Generally, when an outsider lion tries to join an existing pride, this type of infighting does occur. If triumphant, the outsider lion, immediately after taking over the new pride, kills and eats the progeny of the predecessor," said a Gir local.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lion cub killed by adult male


Lion cub killed by adult male

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

This incidence was reported by forest department at Dudhiya – Raydi area of Dedakadi range in Gir West. A lioness with her three cubs and a male lion about 11-12 years resided in the area. Another male lion about 8 years, in the natural process of getting hold of female, faught with the old male. Old male lost and left the territory.
The younger male killed and eat one of the cubs, about four months old. Only four legs and skull of this cub were found. Forest department later located rest of the members and confirmed that they were in good health without injuries.

"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.


Highlighted Text Box says:

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…


Small highlighted Text Box says:

Table about Open Wells as per sub-districts:

Visavadar          826,                  Talala                2600

Sasan               1300                 Dhari                 1228

Maliya               293                  Mendarda          383

Khambha          927                   Una                  1223

After lion deaths, Wildlife Crime Cell prepares database on offenders


After lion deaths, Wildlife Crime Cell prepares database on offenders

Indian Express BY PTI

Ahmedabad, May 11: The Wildlife Crime Cell (WCC), formed by the Gujarat government, is in the process of creating a database of the habitual wildlife offenders in the country.

An official associated with the cell said that its members are coordinating with the Central and other state agencies to find out about such type of offenders. The WCC is also coordinating with the police department of other states and also the Coast Guard to ensure that crimes against wildlife are curbed, sources said.

The cell has also set its eyes on intelligence gathering in and around major protected wildlife habitats in the state, they added.

The proposal to form the WCC was mooted by the state government after eight lions were killed in the Gir national park and its surrounding areas in three separate incidents in March and April last year.

“The idea behind establishment of the cell is to curb the crime against wildlife in the state,” principal conservator of forest Pradeep Khanna of the state forest and environment department said.

The Government Resolution (GR) dated August 10, 2007 says the cell will also deal with wildlife experts and other state government agencies. It will collect and collate information on wildlife crime in the state.

Besides, the cell will also suggest measures to effectively deal with such crimes, the GR said.

The cell will comprise Additional DGP, Home Department, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife) - Junagadh, Conservator of Forests (wildlife crime), Gandhinagar, states the GR. It was signed by Victor Mecwan, Under Secretary to the state government in the Forest and Environment department.

Gir is the last abode of the Asiatic lions and the 2005 census recorded their number at 359.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Five held for Lion Show in Gir

Five held for Lion Show in Gir
Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Yesterday five persons named Jagdish Rajsi, Sutar Anubhai, Ashok, Divyesh, Poonjal and Divyang Harshad have been nabbed by forest department for doing illegal lion show. The incidence happened at Babra Vidi near Sasan. They have been Fined Rs. 5000.

Kishore Kotecha's comment: It seem results of Times of India endeavour has yielded fruits.

Friday, May 09, 2008

MP seeks Asiatic lions from zoos


MP seeks Asiatic lions from zoos

Times Of India By: Himanshu Kaushik

Ahmedabad: In a desperate move, Madhya Pradesh government has written to all the zoos in the country to spare Asiatic lions for Kuno-Palpur National Park, where lions from Gir were to be shifted. Senior officials of Gujarat forest department revealed that they had received a letter asking for lions from any of the zoos here, especially from Sakarbaugh Zoo in Junagadh where lions are brought for treatment.

Officials said that after Gujarat Government said no, MP government has decided to acquire at least six lions from different zoos in the country. Sources said that the move has tourism in the focus. “MP government plans to have a lion safari on the lines of Devaliya Park near Sasan in Gujarat. Later, it also plans to go in for conservation measures — which is actually the original plan for developing Kuno-Palpur,” they added.

“It seems MP lobby in Delhi has become active again, pressurizing all concerned to ensure that the long-pending proposal for shifting the lions to Kuno-Palpur is accepted by the Centre. But Gujarat will continue to resist this move,” said a senior official said.

GA Patel, an Ahmedabad based member of the Rationalization of the Boundary of Sanctuaries and National Park, a committee of the Central Government, said: “I was in Delhi last week and during my visit, I learnt that a meeting was held to get pure Asiatic breed of lions from various zoos. But this is only an experiment, as the hunting habits of lions suffer due to their stay in zoo.” He said that earlier also lions were sent from Gir to Chandra Prabha sanctuary near Dehradun but none of the seven odd lions survived.

Sources said the issue has now reached the Supreme Court through a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the apex court’s intervention in the matter. A Delhi based NGO – Bio-diversity Conservation Trust – has filed a PIL in the apex court urging it to direct the Gujarat Government to cooperate with MP to implement the Centre-aided project for transferring the big cats to Kuno-Palpur sanctuary. Gujarat officials said the MP government had mooted the proposal over a decade ago without taking them, and also the local villagers in and around Gir, into confidence, they said.

Farmers upto wild tricks in Gir to save crops

Farmers upto wild tricks in Gir to save crops
Himanshu Kaushik | TNN
Times Of India
October 19, 2007: Three lioness and two cubs were found buried in the fields in Dhari. The animals were buried in a private field after getting electrocuted.
January 6, 2008: A adult male lion died in Simran village in Jafrabad Taluka due to electrocution when it came in contact with live wire put in the fencing.
May 3, 2008: A six-year-old leopard died after it got entangled in a trap laid in the field in Simar Village in Jasadhar range.
Ahmedabad: In the last six months, at least six lions have been electrocuted while one leopard died after getting caught in a trap laid out in private fields. The farmers in and around Sasan Gir are resorting to desperate measures to protect the standing crops.
Officials say that with majority of the lions moving out of the protected sanctuary, the farmers are finding it difficult to save their crops and hence they resort to such practices. The May 3 incident has shocking many with farmers resorting to poaching in the revenue area outside the Gir forest. A carcass of a grown-up leopard was discovered in Simar village in Jasadhar range.
According to deputy conservator of forest (Gir east) J S Solanki, evidence collected from the spot pointed out that Kala Dabhi and Uka Dabhi, both residents of Simar village, had been involved in the incident. Both the accused have been absconding, he said.
The farmer had laid a trap in an agricultural land owned by Madhav Ladumor. When informed, forest officials rushed to the spot and recovered the carcass. It was sent to the Jashadhar Animal Care Centre where a post-mortem was carried out. Officials said that the animal died due to an abdominal injury caused by a trap wire that was found wrapped around its body.
An officer, on the condition of anonymity, said it was shocking to see electrocution rearing its ugly head. "The officials must see that those who are caught doing electrocution or laying a trap are punished." He added that in such cases there is no intention to kill the lion but to save the crop. In such killings, the nails, skin and other parts of the animal remain intact. Usually the frequency of such incidents increase after the rains. Bharat Pathak, conservator of forests, said such incidents had taken place in coastal area where the farmer had laid traps for wild bores. "A leopard fell into the trap and was killed," added Pathak. 

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Forest officers, police review security at Gir


Forest officers, police review security at Gir

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, May 06 A high-level meeting was convened on Tuesday — reportedly prompted by a poaching incident, that of a leopard in the revenue area outside the Gir forest. The meeting decided to review the security arrangements and the precautionary measures to be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Inspector General of Police (Junagadh Range) Mohan Jha chaired the meeting, which was attended by forest conservators, deputy forest conservators and police officers.

“Various issues were discussed, including the fresh reports of threat to wildlife particularly from the Madhya Pradesh-based Baheliya tribal members. Officials have been asked to be on the alert and keep extra vigil in and around the Gir forest,” Jha said.

He said the state government has made it compulsory to convene review meetings at a regular interval. Officials have been asked to keep a tab on the movement of inter-state labourers and to check hotels, dhabas, railway and bus stations without any lapse, he added.

Conservator of forest (wild life) Bharat Pathak, said, “It was a periodical inter-department co-ordination meeting, in which the concerned officers were asked to remain alert."

Meanwhile, no breakthrough has been made in the last Saturday’s poaching incident wherein a leopard was killed on the outskirt of Simar village under the Jashadhar forest range.

The hunt is still on to nab the two persons suspected to be involved in the crime, said an official, even as unconfirmed reports said that the two were held on Tuesday.

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