Task force suggests preserving lion genes
Times of India
GANDHINAGAR: Special task force formed by state government after 2007 poaching incidents has suggested that apart from use of GPS-based tracking and
other modern surveillance systems, establishment of gene pool population and a genetic laboratory for cryopreservation of genetic material is needed to save lions.
Forest department, in reply to Shahpur MLA Gyasuddin Shaikh's question in the Assembly, has said that the task force laid emphasis on establishing a gene pool population at three places, including Sakkarbag Zoo, Rampara Sanctuary and forest area near Hingolgadh and a semi-captive population of lions in Barda Sanctuary with an ultimate objective of having a wild population there. The work for the gene pool and sanctuary has already begin.
The task force in its report said that breeding and exchange protocols must be developed for the gene pool population and semi-wild population at Barda. It suggested that Sakkarbag Zoo act as nodal agency for all activities related to genome mapping & conservation. The force also proposed to setup a laboratory at Sakkarbag Zoo fully equipped to carry out genetic studies. The laboratory would have facilities for Cryopreservation, DNA finger-printing & sequencing, Microbiology and Biochemical testing, Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer.
The task force recommended that system requirement study should be carried out to develop specifications for VHF Network (voice and data communication), GIS Database and Application, GPS enabled hand-held communication sets, Control Room System, Night Vision Equipment, DNA Finger printing and Cryopreservation.
Also 500 GPS enabled hand-held communication devices should be supplied to protection staff in the first phase. About 10 animals should be fitted with GPS VHF Collars in Gir and should be monitored. The task force suggested that in the first phase 25 long range night vision equipment should be supplied to mobile patrolling squads in Gir.