Saturday, May 30, 2009
Marble Trader Wearing 'Lion Nail' caught
Briefly translated from Gujarati
Yesterday evening Jasadhar checkpost staff caught five marble traders traveling in Hyundai car number RS 33Ca 0372. one of them, Raohitsingh Lalusingh Rathod (Age – 32 year) from Ramganj sub-district of Kota district was wearing lion claw neckless. Forest department suspected that to be lion or Leopard claw and they have sent it to forensic laboratory. The others traveling in the same car were Ramnivas Dhakad (29 years), Kaneyalal Dhakad(35 years), Driver Gajendrasingh Lalsingh(42 years) and local Bagasara based marble trader Vijay Jivraj Bhuva of Gayatri Marble.
Kishore Kotecha's Comment : Forest staff;s vigilance and alert nature on duty is applauded.
WWF to create awareness against animal trophies in Gujarat
Times of India
AHMEDABAD: The exquisite coral in your aquarium, tiger nails and beautiful ivory idols that you proudly display may land you in jail.
In fact, this is the subject of a newly-released series of posters by World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, India. Officials from Traffic, WWF's programme to prevent wildlife trade, visited the city on Friday and met senior police officials to devise an effective way to curb animal poaching.
Samir Sinha, an Indian Forest Service (IFS) official in Uttarakhand and head of Traffic programme, met state police officials and senior officials involved with detection and investigation of lion poaching cases.
"I am impressed with the way the state has investigated the Gir lion poaching cases so far. It is the first case in the country where all accused have been convicted by courts, imprisoned and slapped with fines. It was due to the dedication of Gujarat police and the use of scientific methods to collect evidence. We now present the case everywhere in the country to give other departments, an idea of the methods used," said Sinha.
He said that so far, people have taken wildlife crime casually. "We do not see it as a major offence like physical assault or even theft. However, every day, we witness a number of cases where wildlife is attacked, killed and sold for commercial purpose. We want to create awareness among unsuspecting buyers of the illegal stuff," he said. Sinha, along with his team, will be a part of awareness campaign in the state in the form of leaflets, hoardings and education of police, paramilitary and even citizens about wildlife crime.
"Gujarat is rich in bio-diversity. It's just not about lions and leopards. Thus, awareness is must," said Sinha.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
CID finds Uttar Pradesh connection in 2007 Gir lions poaching case
Express India By Vikram Rautela
Ahmedabad After Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh links have emerged in the Gir Asiatic lions poaching case of 2007. Gujarat Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which is investigating the case, said on Wednesday that involvement of a notorious poacher from UP, Shabbir Hussan Qureshi, is being investigated and that he will be brought to Gujarat for interrogation soon.
The case had recently hogged headlines for the large number of convictions secured. A total of 36 people, including a wildlife goods trader from Karnataka, Prabhakar Keshav Gajakosh, were arrested and later convicted under provisions of both the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Qureshi, who is known to have connections in national and international poaching rackets, is presently lodged in an Allahabad jail. He was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) of the UP Police from Lucknow with 17 tiger skins and 100 tiger bones worth Rs 20 million in November 2007.
His name opened up during interrogation of a key accused in the case, Minter Naka Pawar, who was arrested from Kutney in Madhya Pradesh. Today, a Bhavnagar court granted permission to the CID to put Minter under psychological tests like narco analysis and brain mapping.
Investigating officer, police inspector L N Jadeja said: "Minter headed the group of Baheliya tribal, who was involved in the poaching of Asiatic lions here. He had met Qureshi during the tribe's 2007 Holi celebrations in Kutney and agreed to work for him. We have been told that the dead remains of lions poached were sent to Qureshi."
Additional Director General of Police, CID (Crime), V V Rabbari, who is supervising the investigations, said, "A team will soon be sent to Allahabad to seek Qureshi's custody. We have the court's permission to conduct psychological tests on Minter."
Alarmed by the increasing instances of poaching at Gir around March-April in 2007, the Gujarat government had decided to rope in the conventional crime investigators (police) to assist the hapless Forest Department officials, who had no experience of a similar probe earlier. IGP Keshav Kumar was the investigation chief. It took Kumar more than five months to nail all the culprits on the grounds of strong evidence.
"We established through more DNA tests that the blood of the dead Asiatic Lion that was found on the 'crime scene', matched with that found in the accused persons' nail clippings, blood-stained clothes, spears, knives and wooden sticks," Kumar said.
The CID (Crime) was handed over the investigation at a time when the state government was under pressure to shift some of the Asiatic lions to MP. While poaching left no tigers in neighbouring Rajasthan, it was for the first time that Asiatic Lion's last abode — Gir sanctuary — became a target of poachers.
Lion population in Bhavnagar increases to 25 from 14 in four years
Rajkot: Within four years of the last census in 2005, further dispersion of Asiatic lions on a large- scale in areas of Bhavnagar district has been observed. From 14 in the last census, which was a record in itself, the number of lions in the green areas of the coastal belt is now 25.
The forest department has already considered declaring nearly 200 square kilometres in the district with green cover area as conserved forest for the lions. The district is located at least 100 km away from Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, the home of the Asiatic lion.
"In the last census, 14 big cats had been found in and around Bhavnagar. Our recent estimate puts the number at 25," said K Randhava, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Bhavnagar (Junagadh Circle). The total number of lions in and around the sanctuary in the census was put at 359. Like Bhavnagar, dispersion has been observed towards Sutrapada (Junagadh district) and Barada (Porbandar district) in recent years. With the lion population on the rise, their further dispersion in search of more space and food has not been ruled out.
In grasslands and open areas of Palitana, Mahuva, Talaja, Gariyadhar, Ghogha and Vallabhipur, lions are being spotted frequently. "This is a stretch that runs adjacent to Gir East," Randhava added.
The forest department believes that open grasslands and forest areas, where the nilgai is also found in large numbers, provide a suitable environment for lion habitat. Locals, especially farmers, are more than happy to adjust with the new visitors, as the presence of lions has controlled the nilgai population that poses a threat to the standing crops.
Unlike Barda, which is a bird sanctuary, this new home of Asiatic lions is partly forest and partly revenue area, making it difficult for the forest department to protect wildlife as well as save humans from animals.
According to higher officials, once it is declared as a conserved forest area, human movement can be restricted up to a limit for lion conservation.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Junagadh zoo official to get training in captive breeding of cheetahs
Times of India
JUNAGADH: The state government will send an official from Sakkarbag zoo of Junagadh to an African country to get training in captive breeding of cheetahs.
Chief Minister Narandra Modi made this announcement while four cheetas housed in Sakkarbag zoo were displayed for public view on Sunday morning.
Zoo director VJ Rana said keeping cheetas in captivity is a challenge. The bigger challenge is to see them breed in such an environment. Captive breeding has not been successful in any part of the world till now.
"We have taken up this challenge and hope to succeed," said Rana. Four cheetahs named Adam (8.3 years), Lestard (2.9 years), Alinka (2.9 years) and Malinka (6 years) were brought from Singapore zoo on March 29 . All of them were kept under close observation and after nearly two months, they were displayed for the public on Sunday.
Rana said all four weighed between 35 and 50 kg and are in a healthy condition.
EMAIL Dtd. 2-6-2009 FROM Mr.RANA for correction
Dear Mr. Kishor Kotecha
I Have been wrongly quoted that "Captive breeding has not been successfull in any part of the world till now". The fact is though it is very difficult to breed Cheetah in Captivity but many zoos & other zoos have successfully breed Cheetah in captivity. The well known are Sandiago Zoo USA and de wildt Cheetah & wildlife center. Kindly Make correction on site
V. J. RanaDirector Sakkarbaug ZooJunagadh-Gujarat
Sakkarbaug Zoo gets 4 African panthers
Times of India
Visitors to Junagadh's Sakkarbaug Zoo will be able to see four African panthers from Sunday. According to Sakkarbaug Zoo superintendent VJ Rana, the four panthers were brought to Sakkarbaug Zoo in March this year from Singapore.
Two are males and two females. All four were kept away from visitors as a precautionary step, as they are from a completely different environment. According to Rana, the zoo is home to over 900 wild animals, including 42 lions and 48 leopard. Over eight lakh people visit the place every year. "These panthers will be named on Sunday when Chief Minister Narendra Modi visits the zoo," Rana said.
Lion pulls sleeping man by leg
Briefly translated from Gujarati
This incidence happened at Ambada village near Una in Eastern Gir area.
Vaju Vallabh Devipujak was sleeping in his hut, on Friday night, with his family. Two male lions turned up. One of them pulled down Vaju from the bed by his left leg. Suddenly family woke up and screams scared away cat duo.
Vajubhai was little injured. His two children 5 year old son and daughter were also sleeping on the same bed. They were luckily unharmed.
Friday, May 22, 2009
No takers for Gir Sanctuary?
Tourist inflow to the Gir National Park in Gujarat, the world's only natural habitat for the rare majestic Asiatic lions, has dipped due to the intense heat.
This year several factors have affected the number of tourists and wildlife enthusiasts from visiting the sanctuary. Apart from the rise in mercury, global recession and the Indian Premier League cricket tournament have distracted visitors to this place.
Consequently, allied services such as hotels, travel agents and taxi operators have been adversely hit.
"Sometimes we take one or two trips to the Park, but now it is even once in three days sometimes as business is bad," said Rafiq, a taxi driver.
Did you know?
Established in 1965, the Gir Forest National Park is one of the most important protected areas in
Thursday, May 21, 2009
TRANSLOCATION TO Madhya Pradesh
SHARAD KHANNA firstname.lastname@example.org
I have being fortunate to visit the 2 most beautiful places, Gir and also Kuno. The sooner the Lions move the better.
The Kuno habitat is just perfect for the lions. There are some points which I would like to share with you all
1. When the villages were moved out of Kuno many left their livestock behind. These livestock have not be removed as one it would be an expensive exercise and second 30 % of the lions food intake are Maldhari livestock and they would form their supplementary food intake.
2. The place looks like out of Africa in the middle of Madhya Pradesh. Miles and miles of grassland and forests. There is water with Kuno river flowing through the park.
3. TIGER ARE NOT THERE. There is have been instances when tigers have crossed over from neighbouring Ranthambhore NP. The place would definitely have a very support of tigers at for one reason. Very little population of Sambur Deer,
4. The nearest civilisation is Shasaipura, a good 15 km away.
5 Gujrat's reason for not parting with lions are unfounded. The contention of tigers and lions cannot survive together does not hold good as tiger would not be dominate species. Over a period of time lions would take over
6 We must think of India conversation of threatened species rather than our narrow interest. In comings month when some lions may move from the various zoos. We must do our best let this exercise be sucesscufully if not for ourselves but for our children.
Until Lion Tells His Story The Tales Of Hunting Will Always Glorify The Hunter
Conserve Nature For Future
Girl escapes leopard attack
Times of India
RAJKOT: A three-year-old girl miraculously escaped from the clutches of a leopard in Deda village of Veraval taluka in Jungadh district. Kruti Barad was going to answer nature's call with her mother Viduben around 9 pm when a leopard came and pounced on the child. It caught her by the neck, but soon released as the mother started screaming for help.
"Seeing people coming, the leopard left the girl and fled. Villagers immediately called 108 emergency service," Vijay Barad, a relative of the girl told TOI.
According to Veraval range forest officer K R Vaghasia, the girl was immediately sent to a hospital in Veraval for treatment. She was suffering from injuries on her neck and the chest. She was also referred to Junagadh for CT scan but is out of danger.
Villagers say the leopard has been seen near village since three days.
Lions on the prowl in Veraval villages
Times of India
RAJKOT: Three lions on the prowl for a prey are giving sleepless nights to many villagers in Veraval taluka. Villagers of Ambaliyara, Inaj, Umba and Moraj, are burning their midnight oil literally to keep a watch on the prowling majestic cats. All these are coastal villages, around 25 km from Gir forest.
Forest officials confirmed that the lions had attacked cattle in Moraj village near Veraval.
"On Monday night, three lions attacked cattle in Ambaliyara village when the farmer was asleep. For the last three days, villagers are on alert,'' said a villager from Ambaliyara.
KR Vaghasia, range forest officer, Veraval said, "There are three lions roaming near these villages. During summer time, it is common for lions to come in this area in search of water and prey," he said.
Leopard attacks farm labour
Briefly translated from Gujarati
On Tuesday morning 18 year old Hanubhai Bhagubhai Gida was working in his farm at Shantinagar village near Jabad near Savarkundla in Gir East. In the meantime a leopard was hiding in haystack in adjoining farm of Keshu Devshi Suddenly it came out and attacked the young man. B.K. Khatana Range Forest Officer – Savarkundla investigated the incidence.
Six held for peacock trafficking in Gir
Times of India
RAJKOT: Six person have been arrested in connection with illegal peacock trafficking in Gir forest.
Deputy conservator of forest, Gir east, Dhari range, Manish Raja said that forest officials had caught a person with peacock in his car at Jashadhar checkpost.
Later, investigation showed that six persons, including two women were involved in this illegal activity.
The accused Chakubhai, Kiranbhai, Dadubhai 21, Jivanbhai and Radhaand Vilas were produced before a court in Una.
Forest officials say that all the accused were arrested under the Wildlife Protection Act.
According to Raja, one of the accused, Kiran was also declared absconding in a case of killing a peacock registered against him in Danhisar village in Maliya taluka of Morbi in 2008.
Monday, May 18, 2009
LION POACHING KINGPIN ARRESTED IN MP
On 10 May 2009, the alleged leader of the poaching gang that killed eight lions in and around Gir National Park, Gujarat, in 2007 was arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department with the assistance of Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
A resident of Shahmagar near Panna, Mintar Singh has been absconding for the past two years despite a massive search in both states.
The Divisional Forest Officer of Katni, Mr A.K. Baroniya, led the team of the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department along with WPSI personnel, and Mintar was arrested on the border of Katni and Panna District. He was handed over to the Gujarat CID who arrived in Katni on Sunday, and will stand trial in Gujarat.
In one of the most high-profile wildlife cases in recent times, 36 members of the lion poaching gang have already been convicted in Gujarat to three to four years imprisonment. The case was handed over to the Gujarat CID (Crime) on the intervention of the Gujarat Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi.
The poachers used spring iron traps, usually used to kill tigers, and poisonous spears to slaughter the lions and it is believed to be the first time that Asiatic lions have been targeted by professional big cat poachers. It is hoped that the arrest of Mintar will reveal more details of the killing of one of the most endangered mammals on this planet, including who the lion bones were sold to.
Executive Director, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI)
S-25 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017, India
Mobile: +91 9811190690
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Two cubs missing in Jasadhar Range
Briefly translated from Gujarati
Two cubs of about one year age are missing from their pride since last three days. A forest guard team of about 20 lead by RFO Mulani are working hard to trace the missing cubs.
A pride in this area consisted of 2 adult males, 2 females and these 2 cubs. Adult males often left the pride and rejoined again. But since last three days two lioness are sighted alone with cubs missing from the pride. Normally mother lioness do not leave the cubs alone. No bones-carcass have been found in other neither their remains are found in other big cat's skate. So a rumor has spreaded that somebody may have picked up these cubs alive. Or are poachers active again?
Friday, May 15, 2009
Absconding poacher held in MP
Times of India
Bhavnagar : A poacher, who had masterminded several lion and wildlife hunts in Jesar range of Palitana taluka of the district, was arrested in Kanti of Madhya Pradesh by officials of Bhavnagar CID, crime. He will be taken to police headquarters in Gandhinagar.
Identified as Mintarnaan Kaapar, he was evading arrest for the past two a half years, when ha had given police the slip, police said.
Heading an 18-member gang from Madhya Pradesh, Kaapar poached in the Jesar range. CID officials had been in search of him ever since. The gang hunted lions and sold the organs in international markets. On a tip-off, Bhavnagar CID police inspector, Lalubha Jadeja took a team of SRP men five days ago to Katni and began a manhunt. "We caught him in a dramatic police chase," Jadeja said on phone from Kanti. "We will be taking Kaapar to CID headquarters in Gandhinagar directly. After formalities, he will be brought to Palitana court for remand plea on Thursday. "We will get details of the number of lions he hunted, parts he sold and to whom," he said.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
New water holes made for big cats
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
Ahmedabad: With lions wandering into newer territories, 113 water holes have been made in Amreli, Bhavnagar and Junagadh districts to quench their thirst.
A large number of big cats have moved out of Gir Sanctuary and made these areas their permanent home. As a result, the state government has got ponds constructed there.
Officials said artificial water holes have been constructed regularly for the past few years. Lion population in 2005 census was 359. Of these, it is estimated that at least 100 lions have wandered outside the sanctuary. This figure is expected to be higher in the census due next year, they added. Officials said construction of such large number of water holes is an indication that the big cats have found a home away from Gir Sanctuary. Lions have made areas like Dhari, Khambha, Palitana and banks of river Shetrunji their permanent home.
Conservator of forests (Gir) MM Sharma says "The water holes are being constructed since 2007. There are 546 such artificial water holes in Gir."
Around 70-odd lions have regained lost territory in areas facing water shortage. Spots for water holes were fixed based on reports from officials and villagers. Only five new water holes have been made in Gir Sanctuary because of failure of existing ones.
A senior officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said a debate is on on the need to protect lions from unnatural deaths.
Experts feel the most important long-term conservation measure is establishing at least one more free-ranging population of lions which can grow to be sufficiently large and also be isolated from the Gir population.
GIS system likely for lion conservation
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
Ahmedabad: The task force feels dynamics of lions can be better understood using a Geographic Information System (GIS).
This would help monitor and map man-animal conflict areas, animal movement, tracking of vehicles in protected areas and allow senior officials to make real-time intervention in patrolling and surveillance schedules. While designing technological intervention, skill levels of lower-level staff and forest environment should be taken into account.
The system should be user-friendly, equipment rugged and consume less power. It should also use the existing VHF network by suitably augmenting it for data transmission. It should generate meaningful spaciotemporal data to facilitate long-term management interventions.
The task force proposes that the gene pool population would be set up at three places - Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, Rampara Sanctuary and the forest area near Hingolgadh.
The task force suggests that Sakkarbaug Zoo should function as the nodal agency for all activities related to genome mapping and conservation. Genetic studies, mainly DNA profiling, would be carried out at there under Gujarat State Biotechnology Mission. For this, a fully-equipped laboratory would be established. he wildlife gene bank would act as a repository of genetic material.
The forest department hired a consultant to formulate an integrated GIS-based solution. The solution consists of four components - hand-held GPS-enabled field communication units, communication network, GIS database and control room application. Field units will replace walkietalkie sets and have additional capability to transmit geo-coordinates along with datetime stamp at pre-defined intervals. The task force suggests that the government should use expertise of several companies. It also feels that too many devices and installed hardware in the forest is not good
DRAWBACKS OF CURRENT SYSTEM
Lacks models to foresee potential areas of spread of lions in the absence of customised GIS applications, the task force has observed
Day-to-day sightings of lions are recorded and reported in several forms, reports and registers and its compilation and collation is manually not feasible on a daily, or even weekly, basis
Man-animal conflict exists at the boundaries and is most severe in areas of recent dispersal
Areas to be patrolled or covered under surveillance are decided at the range and subordinate levels for beat guards and foresters. Senior officers don't have an overall picture
There are some blind areas within the forest area where there is no VHF coverage. The forest department doesn't have clandestine night-time surveillance capabilities
BELL the big cat
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
A government task force has recommended a number of technological solutions to protect the Gir lion. This includes using GPS collars, reports Himanshu Kaushik
The task force appointed by the state government to combat man-animal conflicts in Gir forest, in its list of recommendations, has suggested that 10 lions be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) collars. The task force set up in 2007 after eight lions were killed by poachers in Junagadh and Bhavnagar districts and headed by principal chief conservator of forests, (wildlife) Pradeep Khanna, recommends that the technological solution be implemented in three phases. The first phase would be devoted to Gir, which is the last abode of the Asiatic lion, the second to rest of the lion habitat in Brihad Gir and the third to upgrade communication network technology.
In the first phase 500 GPSenabled hand-held communication devices should be supplied to protection staff. The VHF network should be augmented with additional towers and repeaters to provide coverage in entire Gir.
A sensor grid of 10 automatic sensors should be tested in field conditions and if found useful a grid of 50 automated sensors should be operationalised in Gir. Longrange night vision equipment should be supplied to mobile patrolling squads. Breeding and exchange protocols for gene pool should also be developed.
In the second phase, another 500 communication devices should be deployed and VHF network for voice and data communication should be augmented to cover the entire lion habitat. Night vision equipment should be provided to cover all patrol vehicles. Also 10 animals outside Gir should be fitted with GPS collars. C r yo p - reservation and genetic studies should begin and be integrated with GIS application and database. In the third phase, which has to be completed in five years from 2009, the VHF network should be replaced by a 3G-compliant broad bandwidth wireless network to enable image transmission. GIS and camera interface on hand-held devices and GIS application availability on the move even within the forest area should be available.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Key accused in 2007 Asiatic lions poaching case held in MP
Rajkot/Ahmedabad Minter Singh, a key accused in the Asiatic lions poaching case of 2007, was arrested in Kutney, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, in a joint operation by the Gujarat CID (Crime) and the MP Police. Singh will be brought to Gujarat for prosecution.
A total of 36 people have been convicted for the poaching of eight Asiatic lions at three different sites in and around the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in 2007.
The arrest of Singh, who is suspected to be the kingpin of the poaching racket, is considered significant for the case, as some villagers of Kutney were involved in the poaching that had jolted the state.
Carcasses were found at different places, including Babariya Range in the Gir sanctuary as well as from Bhunduriya village in the coastal belt of Bhavnagar district, 100km from the sanctuary.
A total of 36 people, half of them women, were arrested from Una in Junagadh district and from the Bhavnagar railway station in 2007.
A Junagadh court had sentenced 20 people to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 each, while the Bhavnagar metropolitan court sentenced 16 people to four years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 each. They were convicted under provisions of both the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Singh was wanted in the same case.
The CID (Crime) was handed over the investigation of the case at a time when the state government was under pressure to shift some of the Asiatic lions to MP. While poaching left no tigers in neighbouring Rajasthan, it was for the first time that Asiatic lion's last abode — Gir sanctuary — had become a target of poachers.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Jesar lion poaching kingpin nabbed from MP
Times of India
Ahmedabad: Elusive kingpin of Jesar lion poaching and subsequent killings, Minter Adivasi, has been nabbed by Madhya Pradesh police and forest officials from Katni during a day-long operation on Saturday. The operation was conducted after a tip-off by Gujarat CID (Crime) on Minter's whereabouts.
According to CID (Crime) officials, Minter was the only remaining person to be arrested in the 2007 poaching case where caracasses of six lions were found inside the Babaria forest range of Gir and nearby areas. During an investigation by CID officials, they got to know that it was a handiwork of an MP gang based in Katni. A total of 17 men and 13 women have already been arrested in the case. Minter is said to have trained his relatives in poaching methods.
VVRabari, additional director general of police, CID (Crime), told TOI that the department had informed the MP police about Minter's secret location. "We had already sent a team to nab him. However, we have also roped in MP police and forest department so that he cannot escape," he said. He added that Minter will be brought to Gujarat after completing the formalities in Katni.
Describing the case, the officials said that the Katni-based gang used to lay traps in the forest to catch lions in 2007.
After a lion was caught in a trap,they used to injure it with a poisonous spear inserted into its mouth and anus. The gang members used to skin the lion and remove its nail in the forest itself and leave the caracass behind. The state forest officials termed the arrest as an important link in poaching cases. "We were in touch with the MP forest dept for last six months and got the information about Minter to be near Panna," said a senior state forest official.
Kishore Kotecha's Comments: I once again thank and appreciate Guj Government, CID Police (especially Shri Keshav Kumar), Public Prosecutors, Forest Dept, NGOs and all those involved in solving the case, with a big round of applaud.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Pride and prejudice: Lions kill fifth cub in Gir this year
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
Ahmedabad: In yet another incident of 'adult lions killing cubs', a male cub was found dead in Dhari region on outskirts of Gir sanctuary. This is the fifth such incident since January.
On Tuesday, the forest department received the body of a one-and-a-half-year-old cub, which had been dragged and killed by a male lion. Deputy conservator of forests, MS Raja said, there were two adult male lions and two lionesses with the cub.
It was found dead in the morning with injuries on the neck. Probably, the male lion suspected, the cub was not his offspring, but that of another adult lion. Officials said, the cub could have also been the victim of a territorial fight between the two adult male lions.
In the last week of April, a carcass of an eight-month-old cub was found, which, the foresters suspected, was killed probably because it was interfering with a mating pair. The carcass was found in the farm of Shambhu Prajapati. The male had taken the cub with its jaws and thrown it down breaking its ribs. Officials said a group of 20 lions stay in this area—around Pipalva village near Khambha in Gir (East).
A cub was killed by an adult male in Dhari region probably because it suspecting the cub was not its own, but fathered by another lion in the pride.
A carcass of an eight-monthold cub was found. It's suspected it was killed after it disturbed a mating pair.
A two-year-old lion cub was killed by an adult male lion in outskirts of Mekdi village of Savarkundla taluka of the district. Foresters believe, the killing was due to infighting while feasting on a prey. A dead neelgai was also found near the spot.
Two lion cubs were found dead on outskirts of Rani village, in Jesar taluka of Bhavnagar district, bordering Gir forest. The cubs were killed by a lion of another pride during a fight.
The carcass of a cub was found in Gidardi village forest area in Gir (East). Post-mortem reported natural death.
One hundred more water points added in Gir jungle
Briefly translated from Gujarati
Heat is ON in Sorath. Day by day mercury is soaring high. Temperature between 42 .c is recorded. This has dried up natural water points in the jungle. About 300 artificial water points were done by forest department before fifteen days. One hundred more are done to quench thirsty wild animals including Gir lion. In total there are about 250 such points in Gir West and 150 in Gir East.
Big cats in Gir face extinction
CHENNAI: The 370 Asiatic Lions in the Gir forest, Gujarat, are facing extinction due to epidemics, fire and cyclone, Ravi Chellam, Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bangalore, said here on Saturday.
Dr. Ravi Chellam, who made a presentation, said a group of scientists led by him conducted a study on trans-locating a small number of lions from Gir to overcome this problem.
They found the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as most suited to house them as it had large tracts of forests.
The study was done in 1993-94 and in 1995 the team submitted the trans-location proposal to the Union government at a meeting attended by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh officials.
The suggested timeline for shifting was 2005 but due to strong political opposition the plan was not implemented.
Dr. Ravi Chellam said the animals were in good health. Moving them from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh was not a problem. Technology was there and in Africa tens and thousands of animals of different species were trans-located every year.
"We lack willingness"
"We lack willingness, long-term vision and support for conservation," which was threatening the survival of the big cats, he said.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
The Times of India
Mr. Himanshu Kaushik
Ref: The Gir lion news published on Page no. 5 of The Times of India dated
16th April 2009.
I have been closely observing Gir lions since more than two decades documenting their behavior in Gir and in some other areas as well. The news of "food chain" seem to be misleading because –
1. Present Asiatic lion population (as per 2005 census) at 350 plus is the highest ever in the history of Gir. Obviously they need larger area. Also, increased population of herbivores spread outside Gir and some of the lions living on periphery do follow them. Also, lion is a strong territorial animal which tries to drive away younger or weaker lions. Females with young cubs also try to protect her young ones from other males. Such females, if living on periphery, often find areas like sugarcane fields a safe habitat. Some lions find this new home and have been increasing there, while some use various corridors to roam in both - protected as well as surrounding areas.
Lions in fact are in a process of regaining their lost territories of old Gir which was three times larger than the present 1412 sq. km. area and their population was much less.
2. Another independent lion census done by scientists and researchers around the same period of last census also shows almost the same number of lions of 350. It also showed that central Gir is also occupied by lions. This supports the fact that the lions have not moved after maldharies.
3. It is a simple fact that inducing domestic livestock in lion food chain is certainly not a correct conservation method. Wild animals should live on wild prey and they have not to be "fed" by domestic livestock.
4. Humans and domestic livestock share the same natural resources that of the wild animals. Moreover, it is observes that most of the cattle grazing areas have degraded irrevocably. In the long-term conservation, it is necessary that wild habitats be remain free from human inhabitation. Accordingly, protection is being provided in Girnar, Pania, Mitiyala, Barda, etc. new sanctuaries.
(Gujarat Gaurav Awardee)
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Saturday, May 02, 2009
Third round of Indian election ends amid coalition talk
Samaylive By Noor Khan
New Delhi: The third round of India's general elections concluded Thursday with the searing summer heat affecting voter turnout in several places even as the key contenders for power admitted that the country was irrevocably headed for another coalition government. Millions braved the heat in most parts of the country while Kashmiris defied death threats from Pakistan-based terrorists as 107 Lok Sabha seats across nine states and two union territories saw intense voting.
A total of 1,567 candidates were in the fray including Congress president Sonia Gandhi and L.K. Advani, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) choice of prime minister.
Polling also took place for the 32-member legislature in Sikkim, bordering China, which sends a single member to the Lok Sabha.
"The entire poll process was absolutely peaceful and extremely satisfactory," Deputy Election Commissioner R. Balakrishnan told reporters after the 10-hour exercise.
He said many voters stood in queues even after the scheduled close of polling at 5 p.m., patiently waiting for their turn. In the Gir forests of Gujarat, home to the majestic Asiatic lion, two officials trekked 20 km to reach a polling station where its only voter cast his ballot.
Initial estimates said nearly 50 percent of the 107 million electorate voted Thursday, taking the total number who have exercised their franchise in three rounds covering 372 Lok Sabha seats to 246 million. The rest of the 543 constituencies would see voting May 7 and 13 and the results would be declared May 16.
But despite the weather, the poor, the middle class and the rich trooped to polling centres in large numbers in Mumbai, India's financial and movie capital, to keep their date with democracy. Early voters included actors Sonam Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Sushma Reddy, Amrita Rao, Sonali Bendre as well as Aamir Khan.
Aamir Khan, who broke his holiday in the US with his children, said: "I have travelled 48 hours to cast my vote. If you love your country, this is the day to show it. I'm happy to see so many senior citizens casting their vote. I appeal to the youngsters to come out and vote."
The polling was lowest at just over 26 percent in the Kashmir Valley's Anantnag constituency, once a militant stronghold, but it was nevertheless more than the 15 percent recorded in 2004.
Compared to Anantnag's towns and cities, rural areas also saw large-scale voting, delivering another blow to the separatist Hurriyat Conference that had called for an election boycott.
A paramilitary trooper was injured when Maoists exploded a landmine in Purulia district in West Bengal, which the Marxists have ruled continously since 1977.
Even as the polling progressed, both the BJP and the ruling Congress -- the country's two main parties but lacking the strength to govern on their own -- said the election would lead to another splintered Lok Sabha.
"It is going to be a coalition. It is very clear," BJP's M. Venkaiah Naidu declared, echoing a point made by political pundits even before the start of campaigning in March.
But that did not deter Advani from claiming that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was confident of ending five years of governance by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
"I am sure the BJP will emerge as the single largest party and NDA as the biggest coalition in the Lok Sabha and will form the government," he said after voting at Shahpur in Gujarat's Ahmedabad (West) constituency.
The third round of polling covers the whole or part of Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati was among the first voters in Lucknow, the state capital, and she claimed her party would bag most of the state's 80 Lok Sabha seats.
With two rounds of polling yet to be completed, BJP and Congress strategists are already engaged in efforts to mop up possible allies in the event they emerge as the single largest party in parliament.
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