Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gir has prey base of 56 animals per sq km

Gir has prey base of 56 animals per sq km
Times of India

This Is Almost Three Times Than Kuno Palpur's

Madhya Pradesh government may claim that Kuno Palpur has a prey base of 20 animals per sq km and that this is adequate for lions.

But, reality is quite different here in Gujarat. Despite having a prey base of over 55 animals per sq km, Asiatic lions of Gir have been known to venture out in search of food.

A senior officer of Gujarat's forest department said the recent census, concluded in April this year, showed that the population of herbivorous animals in Gir national park and sanctuary was over 80,000. This was over an above the number of domestic animals reared by the Maldharis staying in the forest. The total area of the sanctuary and park is about 1,450 sq km. The officer said the prey base worked out to be almost 56 herbivorous per sq km.

GA Patel, former principal chief conservator of forest and wildlife warden, says, "A prey base of 20 animals is too small. According to a study on prey base conducted by the Gujarat forest department, there was a need for over 50 animals per sq km which is fulfilled by Gir." He too supported the contention of Gujarat government that the prey base was very less in Kuno Palpur.

Forest officials here said, "The presence of over 50 animals in a sq km area was more then adequate. Yet, the big cats were often seen venturing out of the forest." Those working in the forest area feel that the animal were moving out in search of an easier prey base.

Another forest official said the prey base of 20 animals per sq km may sound good on paper but for the lions of Gir this was not adequate. He said the WII report has also supported the Gujarat government's claims that the earlier efforts to shift lions have failed.

The same report in the beginning states that the "Government of India made an effort to establish a second population in Chandraprabha in Uttar Pradesh in 1957. This efforts, for various reasons, did not succeed." This supports the stand Gujarat has taken before the Supreme Court.

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