Lion census at Gir from Apr 24
After five years, the lion census in Gir will begin on April 24. The four-day exercise will involve over 1,500 Forest department personnel, volunteers and wildlife experts, who will use Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) devices. The latest technology would provide very specific field data.
"The exercise is an integral part of wildlife management in Bruhad Gir that includes Gir National Park and touches Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Porbandar districts," said S K Nanda, Principal Secretary, Environment and Forest.
The previous headcount in May 2005 had recorded 359 big cats in Gir's protected area, which includes Girnar Forest and the coastal areas of Veraval, Sutrapada, Kodinar, Una and Jafarbad. On April 24 and April 25, the geographical locations of lions will be recorded; and on April 26 and 27, the final estimate will be done.
Around 100 sub zonal forest officers have been given the task of photographing and observing the lions to log details of each animal, said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Pradeep Khanna. He added that 135 Hand Held Units will help precisely locate the lions.
To expedite the process, five senior forest officers will be involved. They are: Additional Chief Conservator of Forest, Social Forestry H S Singh; Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) M M Sharma; CCF, Junagadh Wildlife Circle, S K Chaturvedi; CCF Wildlife Crime, D K Sharma; and CCF D S Narve.
"The best method is beat verification, which is foolproof and consumes less time and money. Together with this method, the GPS and GIS systems will be employed to prevent any overlapping," said S K Chaturvedi, CCF, Junagadh.
"Summer is the best time to conduct this exercise. Lions and other wild animals need to drink at least once in 24 hours and the limited number of water holes make it easier for us to locate them," said Chaturvedi.
Sabarkantha leopard poacher held
The man behind the leopard poaching case reported 15 days ago in Sabarkantha has been arrested. CCF Wildlife Crime D K Sharma said: "Babu Maurya was arrested by the Wildlife Crime Department on Tuesday. He has been booked under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Four persons have been arrested under this Act. They are all natives of Rajasthan."
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