Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leopard rescued after falling into well in Junagadh

31-12-2009
Leopard rescued after falling into well in Junagadh
DNA
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_leopard-rescued-after-falling-into-well-in-junagadh_1329056

A leopard, which had fallen into a well in Keshod taluka of Junagadh district, has been rescued following efforts of the Gujarat forest department, forest officials said today.

The incident occured yesterday in Hajab village where a leopard had fallen into a deep well, they said.

Keshod Range Forest Officer (RFO) BV Parsala said that rescue operations had begun as soon as they got information from the villagers.

"We had tried for hours to get the leopard out of the well. But since the animal was scared it was not possible to trap him using ropes. Also it had moved in a small cavity inside the well," Parsala said.

"We could not use tranquilizers as there was water in the well. We feared that the animal could drown if it fell into the water after administering tranquilizers," he added.

Parsala said that yesterday after sunset the rescue operation was halted.

"In night we kept a ladder inside the well. The leopard climbed the ladder in the night and returned to the forest," he added.

‘Site’ing the right reasons: critical evaluation of conservation planning for the Asiatic lion

25-11-2009
'Site'ing the right reasons: critical evaluation of conservation planning for the Asiatic lion
Abstract By Meena Venkataraman

Abstract The resurrection of Asiatic lions (Panthera leopersica) from the brink of extinction is a remarkable conservation success story. Yet, occurrence of lions as a single population makes them vulnerable to extinction from genetic and environmental factors. Asiatic lions exist as a single free ranging population of 360 individuals in Gir Protected Area (PA; about 290 lions) and surrounding satellite areas (68 lions), namely Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), coastal areas, hill ranges extending from Mitiyala-Savarkundla-Palitana-Shihor spreading across Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Gujarat State, India. This paper traces the conservation history, current conservation pressures, and critically evaluates current conservation planning based on lion ecology and existing anthropogenic pressures. Conservation proposals for translocation of lions to alternate habitats in Kuno WLS and Barda WLS are awaiting final implementation. An alternate initiative is aimed at developing satellite lion habitats, improving corridor
connectivity, and facilitating natural dispersal and expansion of lion habitats. The paper evaluates human population living within 2 km boundary of lion habitats and between Gir PAand satellite habitats to show that dispersing lions have to cross heavily populated habitations taking refuge in agriculture fields and scattered forest patches. Satellite habitats vary in size from 18 km2 (Mitiyala WLS) to 250 km2 (scattered forests Hipavadli-Savarkundla-Palitana zone along Shetrunji river) and are inadequate to maintain natural ranging and movement requirements of territorial lions. These habitats are varied in vegetation, terrain, human pressure, and distance to source population. Though satellite lion habitats are important suboptimal habitats for dispersing lions, long-term conservation planning require planned restoration of mosaic habitats for growing populations.

M. Venkataraman
Wildlife Insitute of India,
P.O. Box 18, Chandrabani,
Dehradun 248001, India
e-mail: meena.venktraman@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pictures of female leopard that died in train accident on 26-12-09

29-12-2009
Pictures of female leopard that died in train accident on 26-12-09
Photos By D. N. RAM

Pictures of female leopard that died in train accident near Chorwad Railway Station on Meghal River Bridge on 26th December 2009. She was pregnant with 2 cubs.

Photos by
D.N. RAM
girnet@rediffmail.com
Mob: +91 97143 03073

Monday, December 28, 2009

Three leopards dead in Junagadh

27-12-2009
Three leopards dead in Junagadh
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1261986627031

In separate incidents, three leopards were found dead in Junagadh on Saturday. In an apparent case of infighting, a leopard was killed by a lion on outskirts of Dalkhaniya village in Gir west. The reason of the fight could not be ascertained. "It could be that the lion had made an attempt to scare another big cat away. Instead, this led to a fight between the two," officials surmised.

Range forest officer A D Atara, said that territorial fighting were generally seen in these big cats. "Pug marks and injuries on the leopard, suggest the leopard was killed by a lion. However, the lion did not feast upon the leopard," he said.

The incident, however, gave senior forest officials a chance to reiterate their claim that just like leopard and lion cannot stay together, a tiger and lion cannot survive together in Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh, this being the state Government's prime argument against sending lions to Kuno Palpur, which houses tigers.

Former principal chief conservator of forests G A Patel said, "When two carnivorous animals come together, such fights are bound to take place. The Gir sanctuary has witnessed a good increase in population of leopards and lions. This increase had led to issues related to prey base and territorial rights."

Lion expert, Dr Ravi Chellan, said, "Tigers and lions have historically had overlapping distribution. It's true that they might not survive in exactly same location, but if you give them a large enough habitat of a few thousand sq. km they then find a way to survive." Such incidents happen quite frequently and infighting is usual as lions sees leopards as threats to their young ones, he explained.

Meanwhile, in two more unnatural deaths of the spotted beast, a leopard was run over by a train while crossing an unmanned railway crossing near Gadu village in Junagadh district on Saturday. On this killing Chellam said, "If ecological integrity of our protected areas (PAs) have to be maintained, we have to do everything it takes to prevent their fragmentation and deterioration of ecological quality."

In another case, a five-yearold female leopard was electrocuted in Varsinghar village of Una taluka in Junagadh district on Saturday morning. The animal got the electric shock after coming in contact with a transformer in an unused mine, sources said.

In one day, three leopards die in Junagadh

27-12-2009
In one day, three leopards die in Junagadh
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/In-one-day-three-leopards-die-in-Junagadh/articleshow/5383240.cms

In yet another case of infighting among big cats in Gir, a leopard was killed by a lion on the outskirts of Dalkhaniya village in Gir west recently. Officials said, the reason of the fight could not be ascertained.

In two more unnatural deaths of the spotted beast, a leopard was run over by a train while crossing an unmanned railway crossing near Gadu village in Junagadh district on Saturday.

In another case, a five-year-old female leopard was electrocuted to death in Varsinghar village of Una taluka in Junagadh district on Saturday morning. The animal got the electric shock after coming in contact with a transformer in an unused mine, sources said.

About the fight between a lion and leopard, officials said: "It could be that the lion had made an attempt to scare another big cat away. Instead, this led to a fight between the two," officials said. Range forest officer A D Atara, said pug marks and injuries on the leopard, suggest a lion was the killer.

The incident, however, gave senior forest officials a chance to reiterate their claim that just like leopard and lion cannot stay together, a tiger and lion cannot survive together in Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Three being inquired in lioness killing

22-12-2009
Three being inquired in lioness killing
Gujarat Samachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

A lioness was killed due to injury by sharp weapons. On this finding is the postmortem DFO V. G. Rana and DFO Mistry urgently called meeting of four range forest officers. Officers were instructed to employ their network of informers to find out the truth and find out if any lion show was organized. They were also told to find out exate. Reliable resources from forest department informed that three persons were detained for investigation.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Leopard rescued from well in Junagadh village

21-12-2009
Leopard rescued from well in Junagadh village
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Leopard-rescued-from-well-in-Junagadh-village/articleshow/5363419.cms

A leopard was rescued from drowning in a well after it fell into it early on Monday morning. The incident was reported from Damli village of Kodinar taluka in Junagadh district.

Nature lover and member of Prakriti Nature Club of Kodinar Dinesh Goswami, who was part of the rescue team, said, " We got an alert by some farmers of Damli village about the leopard at 11.30 am. At the spot, we found the leopard almost drowning. First, we lowered a cot into the well onto which the animal jumped and then we called the forest department."

Range forest officer L D Parmar of Jamawala forest range and a veterinary doctor joined the rescue team by 12.30 pm and after a two hour operation the big cat was brought out unscathed.

Goswami said, "We carry out voluntary rescues of wild animals across Kodinar and are also active in many whale shark rescues, which get caught in fishing nets. We are trying to apply for government aid to help us make our rescue operations more professional and effective."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gir patrol staff to be equipped with GPS units













21-12-2009
Gir patrol staff to be equipped with GPS units
Indian Express By Shubhlakshmi Shukla
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gir-patrol-staff-to-be-equipped-with-gps-units/556886/1

Project will be in three phases starting 2010; will help forest department maintain cartographic data on lion population

Five hundred field staff manning the Sasan Gir Forest will now have to be on their toes as senior officers of the Forest Department will be monitoring their on-field movements.

This comes after the state Ministry of Forest and Environment finalised the Rs 20 crore project of equipping the field staff with the Global Positioning System (GPS) Hand Held Units (HHU).

With this, the Forest Department will now be equipped to monitor the Asiatic lions on a daily basis by the end of 2010. This will fill up several gaps in the management, they say.

The project is the outcome of recommendations by the task force formed by MOEF on May 25, 2007 following a series of reports of poaching of Asiatic lions.

This system with a Geographical Information System (GIS) control room at the Junagadh forest office will provide a daily account of the surveillance activity and the dispersal of the big cats in the two divisions of Sasan Gir.

Any senior officer at the headquarters will be able to keep daily tabs on the Asiatic lions and the surveillance staff with the help of maps — updated daily through the GIS system. Forest officers will know about the the location of the surveillance staff in the forest areas, as also which portion of the lion habitat has been patrolled or skipped in a month or in a week.

The system will also help keep tabs on areas where man and animal conflict has increased or decreased.

Senior officers at Gir said the entire lion habitat could be visualised through this system.

Pradeep Khanna, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Administration, said: "The tender for HHUs will be issued shortly. At present, 500 field staff will be equipped with these. Each of the HHUs will have specifications on the location of a kill and the reason behind the lion deaths (trauma or accidents). The project will be in three phases, beginning 2010. The state Forest Department intends to extend it to nearly 1,000 field staff."

He said: "The Bangalore-based soft ware firm CMC institute will work on the project," adding that the government has given the go ahead.

A senior forest officer said: "Nearly 20 per cent of the total population of Asiatic lions will be radio-collared so that their daily dispersal pattern can be properly assessed. At present, the monitoring of animal movement is limited to few research studies and projects."

He said the day-to-day sightings are recorded and reported in forms, reports and registers, but the compilation and collation of such voluminous data for the entire lion population or even of the Gir Protected Area Network is manually not feasible on a daily or weekly basis.

"A longer time period will render the data obsolete. It is impossible to maintain a cartographic record of such data over a few years to generate long-term time-series and use it for trend-forecasting. But with the GIS in place, the forest officers will have ready data of the dispersal pattern of Asiatic lions," he added.

Forest Dept. making list of doubtful persons in lioness killing

21-12-2009
Forest Dept. making list of doubtful persons in lioness killing
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

A lioness was killed in Rajasthali Bit in Tulsishyam range. Postmortem revealed the death due sharp weapon like axe which broke two ribs on its left side.

It is assumed that lioness may be on prawl to hunt and someone may have hit it by axe. Forest dept. is requiring with private hospitals at Una, Khambha and Gir Gadhda to find out if anyone with injury was admitted. Department has also sought help of FSL. "pugmarks of the animals were found in some farms also and department is preparing the list of doubtful persons" said Conservator of Forest, Shree Sharma. He is hopeful that case will be solved with in one week. A crime has been registered under section 2(16), 2(36), 9,50,51 and 52(1) of wildlife protection Act-1972.

Lioness killed in Gir forest

20-12-2009
Lioness killed in Gir forest
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Lioness-killed-in-Gir-forest/556680

The state Forest Department found the carcass of a lioness from the Tulsishyam range in Gir forest in the district, officials said on Saturday. The big cat was killed by a sharp weapon.

The carcass of a seven-year-old lioness was found on Thursday night from the protected forest area. It was then brought to the Forest Department's Jasadar medical clinic for animals for a postmortem, they said.

As per the postmortem report, the lioness had received several wounds on the left side of her chest by a sharp weapon, the officials added.

The Forest Department has launched an investigation into the suspected poaching incident and Regional Forest Officer B P Ranparia is heading the inquiry.

Department officials said that this is a case of poaching and they will leave no stone unturned to get to the culprits.

Two years ago, nine lions had been killed in separate incidents by a gang of poachers from Madhya Pradesh. The Gir Wildlife Sanctuary is the last abode of the Asiatic lion. A 2005 census had found 259 lions in the sanctuary. The next such census is likely to be conducted in 2010.

Lioness was killed, but poaching ruled out

20-12-2009
Lioness was killed, but poaching ruled out
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1261454988234


The postmortem report of a lioness found dead in Gir two days ago stated that the big cat died due to severe injuries by a sharp weapon. The forest department has booked an offence under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and are further investigating.

District conservator of forests, Dhari, VJ Rana told TOI, "The lioness, aged around 10 years, was found dead on December 16 in the Rajasthali nes of Tulsishyam range of Gir forest in Dhari taluka of Amreli district."

The body was sent for postmortem to Sasan town in Gir. "The lion died due to severe injuries to the left thoracic (heart) part of the body with a sharp instrument like an axe," Rana said.

Sources said the wounds were so severe that two ribs of the lionesses body were broken. Ruling out the possibility of poaching, Rana said, "There is no doubt that it's an unnatural death. However, as the nails and skin of the animal were found intact, therefore, prima facie this does not look like an act of poaching."

A source in the forest department said officials are investigating the possibility that Maldharis of the area killed the big cat in self defence or to protect their domestic livestock. "It's a possibility that the killing may have occurred due to self defence or retaliation after domestic animals were killed," a source said.

24 Lions killed in 30 years

20-12-2009
24 Lions killed in 30 years
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Lion killing is not a new event in Gir. King of the jungle has been killed in past by other stake-holders of the Gir forest. Before independence Maharaja's (kings) and Nawabs hunted for fun and false pride. After independence royal animals are being killed for its precious nails. (In India, people wear this nail as a pendent. It is blind faith that it brings luck and courage.) Some times the lions are killed by Maldharis in retaliation of cattle killing. Only and only men has to be blamed for such killings. In some cases, culprits are also caught. (Kishore Kotecha's Comments :- But how many are punished!!)

Lets have a glimpse of such killing in Gir East.
• Two lions were killed by poison in Leruja Ness before three decades.
• Twenty five years before a lion was killed and then burnt at Rajsthali Ness. Vasur Masri was caught.
• A lion was injured with axe. When it was feeding on its pray. Magots had developed in her injury but luckily it survived.
• In 1996 three lions wre shot by gun at Shemardi Ness. Darbar Kanu Badru resident of Patla, ex-village head of Khisri Kanu Badru and Koli man from Rajasthani were caught.
• A lion was killed by an axe before 8 years at Gadhiya village. Culprits were also caught but due to political pressure the file was close.
• Two lions were poisoned at Patla village before four years and killed. Clawas were missing from the dead bodies. Later three persons were caught with 34 claws.
• Some times back two cubs fell in to the Open Well and died. They were chased by the vehicle, it is said. But no one was caught or accused for it.
• Six lions were poached in Babariya range and two lions were poached in Bhandariya village by Madhya Pradesh poachers. They were caught and punished.
• Five lions were electrocuted by electric fencing around the farm in Prem Para village near Dhari and they were buried. After two years of this incidence, accused are in jail but still the case is pending in the court!(This is our judiciary system!)
• Finally before two days Lioness is killed by an axe before two days at Rajsthali Bit.

Friday, December 18, 2009

“State mourning” for a lion in Junagarh

10-12-2009
"State mourning" for a lion in Junagarh
Trak.in
http://trak.in/news/state-mourning-for-a-lion-in-junagarh/33799/

Residents in Sasan town of Junagarh district, famous for its Gir national park, observed a half-day shutdown on Wednesday to protest the forest department's failure to save a lion, which died after falling from a bridge.

All shops and commercial establishments remained closed, and even vehicular movement was restricted during the shutdown.

The four-year-old lion died after falling from a 15-foot-high bridge.

Visitors coming to Sasan were surprised and also impressed to see the locals' devotion to the safety of animals in the Gir national park.

"One lion died in a mishap and all the locals here are observing a shutdown to protest that. It felt really nice to see how much love and concern these people have for the lions and other wild animals," said Amit Sawant, a visitor.

The highway and roads passing through the National Park have been the cause of death of a number of animals in Gir.

Although incidents of animals being hit by speeding vehicles are on a rise, the forest department lacks even basic amenities, such as rescue vans and ambulances, to treat the injured animals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mystery death of lion solved: eyewitness tracked

15-12-2009
Mystery death of lion solved: eyewitness tracked
Indian Express By Vikram Rautela
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Mystery-death-of-lion-solved--eyewitness-tracked/554293

Headlights of speeding vehicle startled big cat; beast lost balance on parapet, plunged to its death The death of an adult Asiatic lion, whose body was found under a bridge near Bhelchhar village in the Sasan range of Gir forest earlier last week, is no longer a mystery.

Officers from the Forest Department, who are investigating the case, have finally tracked the eyewitness who had seen the big cat jump off the 25m high bridge around 11.15 pm last Tuesday.

The witness, whose identity is being withheld, is an outsider, and had come to Gir on a tour. He was tracked with the help of an entry – mentioning his name, address and car registration number – logged on the toll plaza register near the bridge.

In his statement to the investigating team headed by Deputy Forest Conservator (Gir west), Amit Kumar, the witness said that the headlights of a speeding car heading towards the Sasan side on the 20 m long bridge had startled the animal, which was walking towards the opposite (Junagadh) side that night. Feeling threatened, the lion jumped atop a narrow, metre-high parapet on the left side of the bridge, but failed to keep its balance and plunged down.

"The lion banged its head on a rock near the riverbed and walked for about four metres under the bridge, before collapsing under its right side," an officer of the rescue team that had reached the site around 12:15 midnight, said.

The deposition of the witness was discussed at a high-level meeting called by senior Forest Department officers on Saturday, following which the department decided to set a 30 km/hr speed limit for all vehicles plying between Talala and Mendrada, in the range.

Principal Secretary, Forests and Environment Department, said: "Sighting of Asiatic lions is a very common thing on this 25-km-long stretch and the limit restrictions have been imposed to avert accidents like the one that happened on Tuesday night. All vehicles plying on this stretch will have to maintain the permitted speed limit and anyone found violating this will be detained and penalised."

Meanwhile, officers investigating the case said a total of four vehicles had crossed the bridge around that time. "We have tracked the other three vehicles and will soon find out which one of them is indirectly responsible for this unnatural death," he added.

According to the postmortem report, the lion was possibly aged around seven and died of haemorrhage to the head and chest.

In recent times, Sasan and the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary have been attracting more tourists, which have led to an increase in traffic on the state highway and the internal roads.

"Tourist vehicles often ply at high speeds. Besides, the number of two and four wheelers is also constantly going up in the rural areas surrounding the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary," said a senior forest officer.

Following the poaching of nine lions in 2006, the Jamwada-Kankai, Jamwada-Banej, Junagadh Talala, Haripur-Hirenwel, Jasadhar Timberwa and Dhari-Una roads have been closed to traffic after sunset. The state highways like Junagadh-Sasan and Sasan-Bhal, however, remain open for 24 hours

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LION REINTRODUCTION SITE, KUNO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY".

15-12-2009

LION REINTRODUCTION SITE, KUNO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY".

Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation1

When lions stopped cops in their tracks

12-12-2009
When lions stopped cops in their tracks
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/When-lions-stopped-cops-in-their-tracks-/articleshow/5331329.cms

The operation launched against country-made liquor dens in the forest near Pipavav ended in a bizarre situation when a team of officials from Pipavav Marine Police Station and Amreli police was stopped in their tracks literally by a pride of lions on Friday.

According to police, the incident occurred when the team consisting of deputy superintendent of police J M Thakar and sub-inspector of Pipavav Marine Police Station were searching for bootleggers on the run, following a tip-off about their hideouts in the forest between Pipavav and Rajula.

"When we were driving through the four-lane road, we saw some animals coming towards us in the darkness of dusk. We thought they were cows till them came very close and we realized they were lions and mostly cubs. They had preyed upon a cow and were crossing over the lane. At first, we honked, but the beasts stayed put," Thakar told TOI.

"We remained calm and controlled the traffic on the road so as to not disturb the lions and agitate them," he added.
Officials trapped inside the van sent a wireless message to the range forest officer of Rajula, who arrived with his team of officials at the site and drove off the big cats.

The development also came as a revelation for the forest department as it established the fact that the lions from Rajula range of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary strayed as far as coastal Saurashtra and made area around Pipavav port their abode.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

59 animals have died in road accidents in last 5 years

10-12-2009
59 animals have died in road accidents in last 5 years
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1260447050437

The Monday night incident, where a lion fell from a bridge after it was startled by a speeding vehicle, may be first of its kind of incident. However, from 2004-05 to 2008-09, around 59 animals, including three leopards, have died in road accidents.

Gir Sanctuary, the last adobe of Asiatic lions, has several roads passing through it, paving way for vehicular traffic. But, these roads lead to death for wild animals.

Officials said Talala-Una and Talala-Junagadh via Sasan roads have no time restrictions. Heavy vehicles, including luxury buses, move during night time here. Further, not less than 500 vehicles pass through Una-Talala or Dhari-Una Road.

Gir has thoroughfare from all major towns surrounding it. For example, while going from Visavadar to Talala via Sasan Gir, the distance is just 52 km, but if one takes a route other than this, it would be double. A driver would first have to drive down to Bilkha, then Mendarda to reach Talala, which comes to 130 km. The other roads that pass through the sanctuary include Jamwada-Kankai, Jamwada-Banej, Una-Talala, Jamwada-Dhari, Babariya-Banej-Patra, Junagadh-Talala, Haripur-Hirenwel and Jasadhar-Timbarwa (Dhari-Una via Tulshishyam). Apart from these, there is a meter gauge line passing right from the sanctuary. This railway line passes from Dhari to Sasan from the sanctuary and covers over 25 km area.

These roads are not only coming as a major disturbance to the wildlife, but are also posing a threat to big cats. A senior forest official, refusing to be quoted, said, "With no check at the gates or inside the sanctuary, these roads can sometimes lead to incidents of poaching apart from creating disturbances to the animals." He said such roads do exist in several sanctuaries in the country, but there is no political will to curb the traffic. "We are fighting a loosing battle and something needs to be done to save the big cats," he added.
Apart from these roads, major cause of worry is religious places like Kankai Mata temple, Banej, Pataleshwar Mahadev and Tulsishyam, which are inside the sanctuary.

An official said when night stay was banned, there was a lot of hue and cry, so permit stay from sunrise to sunset was given at these places. Since these are within the sanctuary, one can easily move around in the forest, the official added.

Leopard attacks woman in her home

10-12-2009
Leopard attacks woman in her home
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Krashna village is very near to Gir forest east in Dhari Sub-district. Quite often wild animals come to this village in search for food.

At about 5AM, a leopard jumped over the boundry wall of Mukta Jina Koli's house. It attacked two calves. When the owner Mukta woke up due to noise of her pet animals, suddenly leopard pounced on her fore-head. On hearing the noise, neighbors gathered and leopard ran away.

The lady was taken to Dhari hospital and then further referred to Amreli hospital. Local village complain that inspite of such animal attacks being frequent, Dhari Govt. Hospital does not keep the required medicine and rabis injections in stock. This adds more life risk for the victims as they to be taken to Amreli which is about 30 kms far from Dhari.

Tribute to dead lion by Sasan

10-12-2009
Tribute to dead lion by Sasan
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

A never before incidence of lion death occurred by falling from the bridge. In similar way 'never before' such a tribute was given to a dead animal by the people or village. Sasan village is hub to visit Gir lions. To mourn the death of the lion, villagers, shop keepers, Safari vehicle operators and every one volunteer closed their businesses for one day.

Once again this shows how locals love for lions. And this love for lions. And this love for locals have only saved Gir lions from extinction in the beginning of 19th sanctuary. This Pratha of love for wild animals was started by Nawab of Junagadh in 18th sanctuary. Villagers also took out a rally to the forest office. There a "Prathna Sabha" was organized for peace of the departed soul. Deputy Conservator of Forest, Sndeep Kumar, also participate in the process.

Sasan town observes bandh in protest against lion's death

10-12-2009
Sasan town observes bandh in protest against lion's death
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Sasan-town-observes-bandh-in-protest-against-lions-death/articleshow/5319608.cms

Sasan town in Junagadh district, famous for Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, on Wednesday observed a half day bandh to protest against forest deparment's failure of saving a lion which died after falling down from a bridge.

Entire village remained closed for half-day even auto rickshaw and ferry service operators also extended their support by joining in the bandh which was called by local residents in protest against the forest department, sources said.

They also submitted a memorandum to the forest department and demanded that strict action be taken against the responsible forest officials whose alleged carelessness caused a lion's death, they said.

An eight-year-lion died yesterday after falling off a 15 meter birdge constructed on a Hiran river.

The villagers in the memorandum also sought that lion show being organised by the forest department for tourist should be cancelled to save life of lions.

However, deputy conservator of forest, Amit Kumar could not be contacted to highlight the cause of the lion's death but sources from the forest department did not rule out possibility that the lion might have been hit by a moving vehicle.

Bandh in Gujarat town in protest against lion's death

10-12-2009
Bandh in Gujarat town in protest against lion's death
Press Trust of India
http://www.ptinews.com/news/415676_Bandh-in-Gujarat-town-in-protest-against-lion-s-death

Sasan town in Junagadh district, famous for Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, today observed a half-day bandh to protest against the forest deparment's alleged failure to save a lion which died after falling down from a bridge.

Normal life in the entire town was paralysed as auto rickshaw and ferry service operators also extended their support to the bandh which was called by local residents.

They also submitted a memorandum to the forest department demanding strict action against the responsible forest officials for their alleged carelessness which caused the lion's death, sources said.

An eight-year-lion died yesterday after falling from a 15-meter bridge on Hiran river.

The villagers also demanded that the lion show being organised by the forest department for tourists be cancelled to save lions.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lion falls from the bridge, dies

09-12-2009
Lion falls from the bridge, dies
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Lion-falls-from-the-bridge-dies-/articleshow/5315610.cms

In a first incident of its kind, a lion died late on Monday night after it fell into the Hiran river while crossing a bridge constructed over the river that flows through the Gir sanctuary.

Investigations by forest officials have revealed that the incident took place when the lion may have got startled and jumped into the river seeing a vehicle approach from the opposite side.

According to the deputy conservator of forest, Amit Kumar, the incident took place late in the night on Monday. "Water was being released in the Hiran river and hence the lions were using the bridge to cross the river," he said.

He added that the this bridge connects Talala and Sasan and has heavy traffic passing over it even at night. He said that according to the pug marks which were found on the bridge, it was deduced that the lion was on the right side of the bridge, while the vehicle was coming from the left side. Seeing the head lights of the vehicle, the lion got startled and started moving towards the left.

Having spotted the lion, the driver made an attempt to save it and also moved towards the right. Finally, the startled lion jumped off the bridge and died by drowning.

Amit Kumar said that there were no reports that the lion was being chased. He said that usually when there is water in the river, the animals usually use the bridge to cross the water body. He further said that the postmortem has revealed that the lion had no injuries on its body to indicate it was hit by moving vehicles.

Officials in the forest department said this was the first incident of its kind where a lion died in a road accident.

In the past, seeing a lion sitting on the road, drivers would stop on one side, closing the headlight for the animal to pass through, but in this incident it appears that the driver went ahead and even increased the light to see the animal. He said that there are reports also that the driver might have honked, startling the lion.

Lion dies after falling off bridge in Gir

09-12-2009
Lion dies after falling off bridge in Gir
Press Trust of India
http://www.ptinews.com/news/414508_Lion-dies-after-falling-off-bridge-in-Gir

A young lion died after falling off a bridge near a village in Sasan range of Gir forest in Gujarat's Junagadh district today, forest officials said.

According to the officials, the body of a 7-8-year-old lion, which is said to be the wild animal's prime age, was found from under the bridge near Balsar village.

The big cat suffered head injury which could have led to its death, they said.

Preliminary information suggested the the animal may have jumped off the bridge, from a height of 10-15 metres, out of fear after seeing a vehicle coming towards it, the officials said.

In October, two lion deaths were recorded in a week in Khamba taluka of Amreli district which falls in the eastern part of the Gir wildlife sanctuary. Forest officials had then said the lions could have died of some disease.

Lioness' honeymoon has authorities on tenterhooks

09-12-2009
Lioness' honeymoon has authorities on tenterhooks
Times of India By Hardik Shah
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/Lioness-honeymoon-has-authorities-on-tenterhooks-/articleshow/5312123.cms

VAPI: It's a 'tale' of two honeymoons . One of a lioness that never happened for curious reasons and that of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH)

The authorities had great hopes when they set up Vasna Lion Safari seven years ago on 60 acre of land at Vasona village in DNH. Now, they are caught on the horn's of a dilemma. Neither have they enough lions to call it a safari, nor can they close the highly ambitious project. Two Asiatic lions -- Kush, Dharma and two lionesses -- Sonal and Silky -- were brought to the safari from Gir with the hope that their numbers would increase through breeding. However, the lions were unable to procreate and died. Lioness Silky, too, died, leaving Sonal alone in the wilderness, which have dashed the authorities plan of having a thriving safari.

The authorities, however, are not willing to give up that easily. "We have decided to bring one more lion from Junagadh zoo," assistant conservator of forests (wildlife), DNH, Dilipsinh Mangrola said.

"We have sent many requests to Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to grant permission to bring more Asiatic lions from Junagadh to DNH. But there has been no positive response," said deputy conservator of forests, DNH B Chaudhry.
The authorities want to bring a lion to the safari at the earliest because of CZA guidelines, which say a lone animal is not allowed in a safari for public display.

Mangrola has suggested that in the mean time, Sonal be taken for mating with an Asiatic lion in Gir. If it happens, it will end the authorities honeymoon with the proposed safari, but will kick off a bright and long-awaited one for Sonal.

Lion death due to falling off the bridge

09-12-2009
Lion death due to falling off the bridge
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

In relation to incidence in which prime a male lion of  about 9 years died, M. M. Sharma (Conservator of forest) informed that it is assumed that lion was walking on the right hand side of the bridge on Junagadh – Talala road, and a vehicle may have come from the opposite side. From pig-marks found on the bridge it is assumed that lion may have started due its-light and jumped into the river. After that a white coloured Indica car stopped for tea at Sasan tea-stall and informed the hawker about the incidence. The hawker informed forest department immediately. Forest department is searching this car owner to find out the facts.

Six Leopard caged in one month

09-12-2009
Six Leopard caged in one month
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

From 05-11-2009 to 05-12-2009 forest department has successfully caged 6 leopards in Babarwad area on Bodidar Road in Dodasa village in Kodinar sub-district. The area is very near to Gir forest. People also assume that there may be more such wild animals in the area and danger to local farmers.

Sugarcane farming is vastly done in this area. Such thick sugar-cane farms are confortable hiding places for the wild animals. They pray on domestic animals for their

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

59 animals died in road accidents in Gir

07-12-2009
59 animals died in road accidents in Gir
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Gir forest in famous for being only home to Asiatic lions. There are many state and village rounds passing through the Gir forest disturbing wild animals and polluting the forest with vehicles 24 hours. These roads are ROADS TO DEATH for wild animals. From 2004-05 to 2008-09 about 59 wils animals have died in road accident (see attached table) that also included such-1 animals.

No.

Animal

2004-05

'05-06

'06-07

'07-08

'08-09

Total

1

Leopard




1

2

3

2

Spotted Deer

1


2

2

4

9

3

Blue Bull

7

4

1

4

1

17

5

Python


1




1

6

Jackals





2

2

7

Porcupine

1


1


2

4

8

Crocodile



1


1

2

9

Black Buck





1

1

10

Russel Wiper

1





1

11

Rabits


1




1

12

Chinkara



2

2


4

13

Jungle Cat




2

3

5

14

Peachock





1

1


Total

10

8

7

14

20

59


Carcass of lion cub found

06-12-2009
Carcass of lion cub found
Gujarat Samachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

A de caged carcass of a lion cub was found in Girnar wildlife sanctuary. Forest department has recoverd the carcass from Dungar range and body has been sent for portem, infred  RFO Dipak Pandya.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Minister objects to eviction

17-11-1999
Minister objects to eviction
Express India
http://www.expressindia.com/news/ie/daily/19991117/ige17109.html

Gujarat Forest and Environment Minister Kanjibhai Patel has taken a serious view of the move initiated by his own department to "forcibly" evict maldharis (cattle-breeders) and their cattle from the Gir lion sanctuary areas in Junagadh district. The minister has also warned forest officials against the "harassment and persecution" of these maldharis.

The minister's reaction came when a delegation of maldharis called on him here on Tuesday and complained about a spate of eviction notices being issued to the maldharis by the district forest officials. The delegation -- led by Ashok Shrimali of SETU, Karsan Chopda of Maldhari Sangharsh Samiti and Allarakha Sheikh of Saurashtra Paryavaran Sanrakshan Parishad -- submitted a memorandum to Patel, seeking early solution to the maldharis' long-pending demands.

Later, the minister told Express Newsline, "The government will protect the interests of the maldharis living in Gir for years and ensure that they are not being evacuated forcibly till the settlement process is over".

During the representation to the minister, Ashok Shrimali complained that of the total 184 families living in the Junagadh west Gir forest area, as many as 97 were declared "illegal" occupants and issued eviction notices early this month despite the fact that these maldhari families have been living there since birth. The process of issuing such notices to 42 other families (declared as non-permanent ones) was on, Shrimali said.

Shrimali wondered how the forest department could declare these maldhari families as "illegal" occupants when it was yet to complete the process of settlement rights of the cattle-breeders living in the Gir `neses'.

"Despite the Supreme court's directive to the government to complete this process by August 1998, the district authorities are yet to comply", he said.

In the memorandum, the delegation also complained about the inordinate delay on the part of the government in issuing certificates according the status of Scheduled Tribe to the maldharis. "This despite the Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel's assurance in September 1998 that this would be done in a month time", recalled the delegation.

Describing the issuance of eviction notices as a "blatant violation" of the World Bank guidelines, the maldharis' representatives said the bank's directive to the forest department was clear that "while implementing the WB-aided eco-development project in Gir, relocation of maldharis under the project will be voluntary and that no involuntary re-settlement for any people residing within the project areas will be allowed to be carried out without the bank's prior approval".

In fact, the contract signed between the WB and the Central Government on the eco-development project prohibits the State Government from evicting the maldharis from either the Gir National park or the Gir Lion Sanctuary against their wishes, argues the memorandum. It has also opposed the government's proposal to extend the Gir National Park area, contending that the move will deprive the maldharis of their livelihood.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Ramesh to visit Mount Girnar to take stock of ropeway project

02-12-2009
Ramesh to visit Mount Girnar to take stock of ropeway project
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Ramesh-to-visit-Mount-Girnar-to-take-stock-of-ropeway-project/548859

With the environmental panel's nod, the ropeway project at Mount Girnar in Junagadh now awaits the green signal from the Wildlife Panel, appointed by the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment — following objections by the National Board of Wildlife.

Union Minister for Forest and Environment Jairam Ramesh is likely to visit Junagadh to take stock of the situation before the Wildlife Panel takes its decision.

The minister's visit will focus on the project's impact on the vulture population in the region, given its importance as a roosting and nesting centre. He is scheduled to conduct a survey of the site.

S K Nanda, state Principal Secretary, Forest and Environment, said: "The minister is likely to visit on December 5. He will check if the project threatens the birds."

Over 7 hectares of forest area has been diverted for the project at an investment of Rs 89.31 crore, which has raised many eyebrows.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tracking the lion

01-12-2009
Tracking the lion
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Tracking-the-lion/articleshow/5282417.cms

The straying out of Asiatic lions from the protected Gir forest has amazed wildlife enthusiasts and worried Gujarat forest officials. The beast which was earlier confined to the area in and around Sasan and Dhari in Junagadh, is now being spotted in Bhavnagar and other parts of Amreli district.

The forest department, in a bid to secure the area where the lions have moved out, has asked Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to study the dispersal rate of the lions in the state. It plans to protect the area and the corridor from where the lions are moving out of the sanctuary.

Officials said that there were reports of lions making several areas outside Gir as their permanent home away from Gir sanctuary. In a recent meeting with WTI and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), it was decided that the WTI would carry out a detailed study on the movement of the lions outside the sanctuary.

Fores officials have found 14 lions in Ranigala village of Bhavnagar district. This was probably the biggest pride spotted in recent times. Earlier, there were scattered reports of lions moving in the district. However, spotting groups above 10 are now becoming a routine in Bhavnagar and Amreli districts.

Interestingly, lions are not only moving away from Sasan but seem to be regaining their lost territory. Lions in the past were found upto Gondal in Rajkot and in Bhavnagar and Porbandar. Officials said that as on date, one can see lions along the coastal belt from Porbandar to Bhavnagar.

Officials further said the WTI would give a perfect route plan from where these lions have been moving out and the areas where their concentration has been noticed. With lion census slated next year, this would also help the department in the exercise.

Foresters said that the carrying capacity of Gir was around 275-280 lions and hence, over 100 lions have moved out of the sanctuary in want of food. He said the places where these lions are spotted had lion presence in the mid 1900s.

A senior forest official said, "Gir's carrying capacity is just 250 lions and as of today, there are over 370 lions in the sanctuary. The lions are moving out because of want of food and terrotorial fights."

He said that getting prey in the sanctuary was difficult than getting a catch outside. Once the animal gets used to easy killing, it will not move back to the sanctuary. Even if they are caught and released into forest, they will stray out again and come close to human habitat, he pointed out.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Senior Research Fellow

30-11-2009
Senior Research Fellow
Wildlife Institute of India By Kausik Banerjee
http://www.wii.gov.in/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=168:kausik-banerjee&catid=56:researchers&Itemid=200

I received an undergraduate degree in zoology (Hons.) from Presidency College, Kolkata (2003) and a master's degree in forestry (with gold medal) from the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun (2005). For my master's thesis, I evaluated the status of prey populations for the re-introduction of Asiatic lions in Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh. Thereafter, I worked as a research fellow in a WII project titled "Social Organization and Dispersal of Asiatic Lions" which documented the density, population structure, ranging pattern, food habits and habitat use of Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest.

Presently, I am looking at the population ecology of lions outside the Gir Protected Area in an agro-pastoral landscape with emphasis on range use, habitat use pattern, feeding habits, issues of human–lion conflict and the economics of lion conservation. The ultimate objective is to develop a long term regional level conservation policy to ensure the maintenance of a viable population of the Asiatic lion in the future. My broad research interests include carnivore ecology and behaviour, with emphasis on predation, ranging patterns, habitat use, population dynamics and human–carnivore conflicts.

Endangered Asian Lions Were Successfully Bred at Night Safari Zoo

27-11-2009
Endangered Asian Lions Were Successfully Bred at Night Safari Zoo
Zoo and Aquarium Visitor By By Kumar Pillai
http://www.zandavisitor.com/newsarticle-2612-Endangered_Asian_Lions_Were_Successfully_Bred_at_Night_Safari_Zoo

Singapore - It is a joyous occasion for Night Safari as its initial attempt at breeding Asian lions became a reality with the successful births of three cubs — two males and a female — in September.

The sire and dam, Khapat and Amba, arrived from India in March this year as part of an animal exchange programme. The cubs are currently housed with their mother in an off-exhibit area. Visitors will be able to see them along the tram route early next year. The Asian lion is listed as endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

We are pleased that the Asian lions have adapted well at the Night Safari. This resounding success with our first attempt at breeding the endangered Asian lion brings great joy especially as the lions have only been at the park since last March. The births are in line with the zoo's objective to boost the population of endangered species, said Mr Kumar Pillai, Assistant Director, Zoology, Night Safari.

Asian lions once prowled a range that spanned from the Middle East to India. Now, only 300 or so of these magnificent animals survive in the wild, mainly in India's Gir Forest. Once royal hunting grounds, it has since been converted into a reserve where the endangered Asian lions are heavily protected. An additional 200 Asian lions live in zoos.
Currently, Night Safari has three male African and six Asian lions, which are kept separately.

ABOUT ASIAN LIONS
The Asian lion is a unique subspecies that split from the African lion some 100,000 years ago, and is smaller in size. It also sports a smaller mane compared to its African cousin. Most Asian lions live in India's Gir Forest. Current population stands at about 350 animals, with only approximately 175 mature individuals. The Asian lion is one of three big cats found in India. Gestation period for lions is between 105 to 115 days. Lions rely heavily on livestock such as deer, antelope, gazelle, wild boar, water buffalo and livestock for their diet.

ABOUT NIGHT SAFARI
Night Safari, the world's first wildlife park for nocturnal animals is an eight-time winner of the Best Visitor Attraction Experience, awarded by Singapore Tourism Board. This internationally acclaimed leisure attraction embodies innovation and creativity in products and services, and service quality, thus attracting more than 1.1 million visitors yearly. Over 1,000 animals from 115 species (of which almost 30% are threatened) inhabit the 40-hectare park.

In line with its mission to promote biodiversity, the park focuses on the captive breeding of threatened species. Over the years, it has bred Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, fishing cats, red dholes, anoas, markhors, bantengs and Malayan tapirs, among other endangered species. A visitor's experience at Night Safari is not limited to animals but extends to experiential dining segments with the park's award winning Gourmet Safari Experience, where visitors dine onboard a tram traversing the eight geographical zones. The park can be explored either on foot via three walking trails, or by tram. Night Safari is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and is a designated wildlife rescue centre by the governing authority.

Night Safari is located at 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826. More information can be found at www.nightsafari.com.sg

To view Night Safari Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:  http://www.zandavisitor.com/forumtopicdetail-2282-Night_Safari

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

State Forest dept bags national environment award

24-11-2009
State Forest dept bags national environment award
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/state-forest-dept-bags-national-environment-award/545474/

The state Forest department has bagged the Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Award for 2006, 2007 and 2008 for outstanding performance in social forestry and reclamation of wastelands in Gujarat. The Award has been constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The department's Junagadh range has won the award in the social forestry category, while B B Limbasiya of the Rajkot office has won the same in the individual category.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Pradeep Khanna said on Monday that the social forestry range office at Anand has bagged the award for its outstanding work in mangrove plantation along the Gulf of Cambay, covering over 4,000 hectares of coastal land.

"Earlier, this coastal area did not have any vegetation worth the name. Under the project, we have not only planted Avicinia marina in 4,000 hectares of land but also generated over 90,000 mandays in the last three years," Khanna said.

He added, "Due to the mangrove plantation, the villagers in Tada Talav, who were getting just 60-150 kg of sea food catch per day, are now getting 400 kg."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lioness mauls forest officer

22-11-2009
Lioness mauls forest officer
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

The incidence happened at Devalia Interpretation zone near Sasan. H. K. Solanki, forester at Devalia park was inspecting the chain-link fencing work. Suddenly a lioness attacked the officer and mauled him. The officer was admitted to hospital and is out of danger.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In dark night Man hits lion…

21-11-2009
In dark night Man hits lion…
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

This incidence happened at Kariya village of Bhesan sub-district near Girnar WLS.

It is very frequent that Lions from Girnar area come to Kariya, Paswada, Mendpura and Malida villages in search of food. A farmer Savjibhai Dayatbhai was sleeping in the foyer in his house. He heard some noise in his open courtyard. He thought some wild animal has entered his house. So in dark he bit the animal three four times with the stick. In the meantime, his wife switch – on the tourch to find lion in the light. Farmer was embrassed and sought the shelter immediately. Villagers praised the courageous farmer.

Spotted Deer Spotted in Dhari Market Area

21-11-2009
Spotted Deer Spotted in Dhari Market Area
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Dhari is about 20-25 kms from Gir forest boundary. Lions and other wild animals come very near to this town. Deer is very shy animal and keeps away from human habitated areas. But yesterday, a spotted (lone male) deer came inside the town. A crowd of about 150 people and stray dogs gathered. Deer was injured and finally caught by forest department. It was treated at at Jasadhar Animal care hospital and released free into the jungle.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Leopard dies in road accident

20-11-2009
Leopard dies in road accident
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

A dead body of leopard was found on Ranavav – Adityana Road Barda forest. There are many leopards in Barda (and it is the place for moving few Gir lions also.) leopard was 2 year old female and forest department has concluded as death due to hit-and-run. Carcass is sent for post –mortem to Junagadh FSL.

Leopardess mauls sleeping man, caged

19-11-2009
Leopardess mauls sleeping man, caged
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/-Leopardess-mauls-sleeping-man-caged-/articleshow/5240886.cms

A leopardess, that had attacked an elderly farm labourer in Patapur village of Una taluka in Junagadh district, was caged by forest department officials early on Wednesday.

According to the officials, the adult female mauled the labourer on Monday night while he was sleeping on a cot on the farm. "The leopard, which was lurking in the farm, gripped Megha Parmar's hand in its jaws and started dragging him. The victim started shouting for help as the cat dragged him 10 feet. Hearing his cries, family members and villagers rushed to the site and drove the leopard away," said a forester. The forest department was alerted and the injured were rushed to the primary health centre. Parmar received serious injuries on his hand.

A team of forest officials surveyed the site and checked the big cat's pugmarks to trace it. "We set up two cages with live bait inside at different locations. The leopardess was caged on Wednesday morning," the official added.

Lion cub rescued from open well in Rajula

19-11-2009
Lion cub rescued from open well in Rajula
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/-Lion-cub-rescued-from-open-well-in-Rajula/articleshow/5240889.cms

A lion cub that had fallen into an open well was rescued on Tuesday and reunited with its mother, who kept circling around the well throughout Monday night in a village of Dhari range of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.

According to forest officials, the incident occurred on the outskirts of Govindpur village, where the lioness and her cub were roaming. "It appears that the cub couldn't see the open well and fell in it. The lioness kept circling around the well, moaning helplessly. The matter came to light on early Tuesday morning when villagers after spotting the lioness alerted us," said a forester.

A team of forest officials rushed to the site. First they drove the lioness away and lifted the cub out of the well. "Luckily, the cub had not received any serious injuries. It was bit terrified. However, it became calm on being reunited with its mother," the official said.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MP hasn’t given up yet

18-11-2009
MP hasn't given up yet
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik |
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOINEW/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIA&showST=true&login=default&pub=TOI&AW=1258552085921

Despite getting four zoobred lions from Hyderabad, Delhi and Bhopal, the Madhya Pradesh (MP) will once again push for getting wild Asiatic lions from Gir sanctuary. Conservator of forest, Gwalior Murli Krishnan said he was in New Delhi on Monday to submit a report raising objections to the allocation of zoo-bred lions in the name of conservation.

"Zoo-bred lions can't survive in the jungle as they are habituated to being fed rather than hunting. Also, a special complex would have to be constructed for breeding," said Murli. Murli said a meeting with the additional director general of wildlife in Delhi was scheduled on Tuesday. "We will again raise the demand for wild Asiatic lions from Gujarat."

The Dehradun-based Wildlife Research Institute had felt in the 1980s that the 1,400-sq km Gir forest, with its population of over 350 big cats, was too small for housing such a large number. It also felt that concentrating the entire lion population in one place exposes it to being wiped out by disease or a natural calamity. The institute zeroed in on Kuno Palpur sanctuary and launched Asiatic Lions Reproduction Project, a Rs 64-crore centrally-funded scheme. However, Gujarat said there was possibility of tiger-lion conflict in Kuno Palpur as the two can never co-exist in the same place. A Delhi-based NGO - Bio-diversity Conservation Trust - also filed a public suit in the Supreme Court urging it to direct the Gujarat government to cooperate with Madhya Pradesh in transferring lions to Kuno Palpur. The matter was referred to the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife which has referred the matter back to a team of experts.

'Zoo-bred lions can't live in the wild'

An expert committee appointed by the standing committee of National Board for Wildlife, has opined that Madhya Pradesh should be given lions from the wild and not the zoobred ones. The committee has said zoo-bred lions may be used for breeding in the breeding centre but they can't be left out in the wild.

After Guj denial, MP gets zoo-bred lions

18-11-2009
After Guj denial, MP gets zoo-bred lions
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik |
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Daily/skins/TOINEW/navigator.asp?Daily=TOIA&showST=true&login=default&pub=TOI&AW=1258552085921

It is official now. After Gujarat snubbed Madhya Pradesh's efforts to acquire Asiatic lions from Gir sanctuary, Kuno Palpur in MP, which is being developed as an alternative habitat for the Asiatic lion, will get two pairs of zoo-bred lions. The four lions will be acquired from zoos in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhopal and given to MP for a breeding centre.

"We have got the nod from Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) to receive the lions," said conservator of forest Gwalior, Murli Krishna. Kuno Palpur is being readied for the lions at an expense of Rs 26 crore jointly funded by the Centre and state.

This would come as a jolt to Gujarat's efforts to have an exclusive sanctuary for Asiatic lions. Officials said that in a recent meeting CZAI approved moving zoo lions to Kuno Palpur. The 345 sq km area of Kuno Palpur can be home to around 60 lions. A wildlife circle has also been created. The MP government and other agencies had been pressurising Gujarat forest department to part with three or four pairs of lions. However, the state government refused. The MP government had written to all zoos in the country to spare original Asiatic lions for Kuno Palpur.

Murli said that Hyderabad zoo would give MP a pair of zoobred Asiatic lions, and
one male lion from Bhopal and a female from Delhi. They would be moved to a breeding centre and would not be open for public. However, senior officials said that once MP has the third generation of lions, they would be set free in the jungle. In the next eight years the Palpur sanctuary would be open for tourists," said officials.

Officials from the MP forest department also confirmed that talks were on more lions from other zoo. MP wanted to start with at least five pairs so that in the next eight years it can release 10 lions in the forest and keep the rest for breeding.

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