A royal secret to the jungle king's long life
Times of India By Himanshu kaushik
Efforts to conserve the lion in Gujarat started way back in 1913 with the nawab of Junagadh
If Delhi is citing Gujarat's conservation efforts for lions as a model today before the Supreme Court, it owes itself largely to a royal legacy. Lions were once spread across Gujarat, but it was largely due to the conservation efforts of the state that saved these lions and saw their numbers rise to around 400 from 20 over 90-odd years.
Union minister for environment and forest Jairam Ramesh recently offered to swap tigers for lions to be relocated to Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.
The next census which is due in April is expected to see the figure jump to over 400. In fact forest officials say that the increase in numbers did not happen overnight. The first conservation efforts were taken up in the first decade of the 19th century by the nawab of Junagadh and involved local villagers.
Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III the nawab of Junagadh began conservation efforts after he found that the lion population in Gujarat had fallen below 20 and began by imposing a ban on their killing, which continues till date.
So, while all the projects to save tigers from poachers have failed, the lion population has been steadily rising.
Besides, to accommodate the burgeoning population of lions, the state government is developing new sanctuaries which includes the Barda Dungar in Porbandar. Apart from Gir, the government has also declared three more areas as sanctuaries, which total an area of 235 sq km. Barda, covering 190 sq km is ready for the lions.
After the poaching incident of 2007, the government took up protection of the Asiatic lion seriously and allocated funds for buying vehicles, modern equipment and staff. Consequently, lions which were only found in Sasan, are now found all along the coastal areas of Saurashtra, Palitana, Mahuva and Porbandar.
Principal Secretary Forest SK Nanda says, "Local people from all the 148 villages welcome the animal and take pride in the presence of the lion in their area". People of Saurashtra are hardly hostile to the lion even though it kills their livestock. "If a lion makes the field its home for a fortnight, the farmer in Saurashtra would stay away from his field not because of fear but he would not like to disturb the majestic lion. Hardly any incidents of poisoning or killing of the big cat has been reported from the area", says a forest officer. "There is an environment of conservation in and around Sasan and more important is that the people inform the forest department about the movement of lions, the injury of the lions and even about any suspicious activity.
Former principal conservator of forest GA Patel says, "Lions were found upto Haryana and till the borders of Bihar, but the population began falling as in the present case of the tigers, no one bothered to take care and it was the people of Gujarat who took up the challenged and launched various conservation methods to save the lion."
Apart from the various conservation steps taken by the forest department, the people of Gujarat are also sensitive to the lions. The villagers would sacrifice their cattle for the lion. The people take pride in the presence of the lion in their village. The people of Gujarat are very sensitive and after the poaching incident, they now act as the policemen.
- ► 2017 (156)
- ► 2016 (128)
- ► 2015 (165)
- ► 2014 (139)
- ► 2013 (308)
- ► 2012 (493)
- ► 2011 (296)
- Trapped in cement slab, leopard rescued after 20 d...
- 12th leopard caught from Veraval
- Leopard kills girl near Khambha
- Carcass of leopard found at Chhara
- Governor of Gujarat visits Gir
- Claims for forest land shall be verified by satell...
- Feasibility of Tiger in Gujarat being studies
- 48 crores grant from central Govt. for Lion conser...
- Lion death: Three remanded to 1-day custody
- 116 lions died in Gir forest in last three years: ...
- 116 lions died in Gir forest in the last three yea...
- 116 lions died in Gir forest in the last three yea...
- Another carcass found in Babariya range
- Head injuries killed lion: Postmortem
- Lion census in Gir sanctuary from April 24
- Foresters say lion was killed in self-defence
- Lion killed after attacking 7 persons in Ahmedabad...
- Gir villagers kill lion in self-defence
- Leopard attacks girl in a Veraval village
- Lion axed to death near Gir
- Leopard carcass found at 5 kms from Dhari
- Carcass of lion found in Babariya Range
- Girnar ropeway project unites Congress, BJP
- Gujarat's Girnar ropeway project to start next yea...
- Lion attacks on humans, cattle on rise
- Ambardi to be second lion safari
- Leopard that could not be caged got caught in mach...
- Twelve leopards caught in two months; Total 1000 l...
- Gir lions thrive but tigers get lion's share of Ce...
- Census, protection and conservation of Asiatic Lio...
- Leopard terror in Iswariya continues, five attacke...
- One lion injured in internal fight
- Cow saves three from Leopard attack
- One more leopard caught in Ishwariya
- Lions of Gir, India's most endangered big cat: rep...
- Another leopard caged in Ishwariya village
- 20 Asiatic lions die in Gir forest
- Fourth leopard caught from Iswariya village
- Are lions Gujarat’s immoveable property?
- Leopard that killed two identified, gets ‘lifer’
- In 2 years, 72 lions die in Gir sanctuary
- 72 lions died in Gir in last two years: Gujarat Go...
- Local villager near Jafrabad scared of 25 lions an...
- Leopard caged in Junagadh village
- Two injured Lions roaming in Patla area
- A royal secret to the jungle king’s long life
- Special efforts made to preserve lion gene pool
- TIGERS IN DANGS BUT WHERE IS THE PREY BASE?
- Long-term conservation of Asiatic Lion in Greater ...
- Gujarat wants Asiatic lion to roar
- Lion to get more land near Wankaner
- 2 more leopards spotted near Ishwariya village
- Leopard killed in territorial infighting in Junaga...
- In Gir Jungle Lions are named after famous person
- Lion attacks young man at Halariya Leopard attack ...
- 14 incidence of lion-leopard attack in six months ...
- Four lions attack a farmer
- Gujarat saved India's pride
- Leopard falls into Open Well
- Plan for consolidating long-term conservation of A...
- ▼ March 2010 (60)
- ► 2009 (316)
- ► 2008 (342)
- ► 2007 (254)