Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trapped in cement slab, leopard rescued after 20 days

31-03-2010
Trapped in cement slab, leopard rescued after 20 days
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1270019012484

In a bizarre incident in a village in Kodinar taluka of Junagadh district, a leopard was cemented inside a concrete slab for last 20 days. It was discovered on Tuesday when it managed to break a brick. A major operation was carried out to rescue it.

According to sources, the incident was reported from Kadodara village where labourers built a wall around a leopard which had hidden in a hollow chamber on the third storey of an under-construction house. They did not know that the animal was inside.

Range forest officer (Jamwala Forest Range-Gir) LD Parmar told TOI, "The leopard was found from the house being constructed by Natu Vala, chairman of a sugar factory here. The village is about 8 km away from Kodinar town. The supporting slab under the roof of the house was inadvertently cemented from all sides during the finishing of the bungalow 20 days ago."

"It is a wonder that the animal was alive even after 20 days. In the morning, when a labourer was splashing water on the site, the leopard broke a brick and started growling," he said. "We waited for night fall to rescue the big cat as it would be resting then. We built a contraption to place a cage at the height of the third floor and thus the leopard was rescued and rushed for medical checkup,'' Parmar said.

The bungalow where the leopard was trapped

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

12th leopard caught from Veraval

30-03-2010
12th leopard caught from Veraval
Times of India
Print Edition

A female leopard eluding the forest department for the past one week was finally caged on the bank of Hiran river near Mithapur on Sunday. Forest officials claimed that the big cat had been dodging all attempts of caging. "The leopard killed all goats we had kept inside the cage as live baits and dragged them without getting trapped. However, when we kept a dog in the cage, which happens to be the most favourite delicacy for leopards, the leopard was caught," said range forest officer KR Vaghasia. The captured leopard was five years old, seven feet long, 2.50 feet tall and weighing 70 kg.

Leopard kills girl near Khambha

30-03-2010
Leopard kills girl near Khambha
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1269926402093

A girl was mauled to death by a leopard early on Monday morning at 4 am on the outskirts of Bhad village (Tulsishyam forest range) in Khambha taluka of Amreli district.

According to deputy conservator of forests (Gir east) Maniswar Raja, the incident took place in a field where the girl was asleep along with her family members outside their makeshift shanties.

"Laheri Chauhan, 8, was dragged away by the animal. In the m e a n t i m e, family members woke up and started shouting for help. They managed to scare away the beast, which dropped the girl and ran away,"Raja told TOI. Unfortunately Laheri died on the spot.

Laheri's family belongs to Rajasthan and were working in Manu Sorathiya's farm in Bhad village. The Rajasthani family had come to earn a livelihood in the area and has been staying in huts in the open area in the farm which make them vulnerable to wild animals.

The forest department has declared compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the family. "We have placed seven cages in the area to nab the leopard. We have also urged the farmers and labourers not to sleep in the open to avoid such incidents,'' Raja said.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Carcass of leopard found at Chhara

28-03-2010
Carcass of leopard found at Chhara
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarti

A carcass of about 6 months old leopard was found of Chhara village, 6 kms from Kodinar. Maheshgiri informed the forest department about the carcass at farm near Gangnath tempe at 6:45 hours in the evening. Postmortem is being done to find out cause of death.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Governor of Gujarat visits Gir

27-03-2010
Governor of Gujarat visits Gir
Gujarat Smachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Governor of Gujarat, Dr. Smt. Kamlaji visited Gir too see Gir lions. She saw about twenty lions during her safari into the wild. She enjoyed sighting Gir Lions, cubs and females almost every five minutes of her Game Drive in Dedakadi range. She also sited peococks, spotted deer, four-horned antelope and Chinkara. There are 43 water points in Gir tourism zone and 640 points in Greater Gir area for the animals to quench their thirst in scorching heat of summer.

Claims for forest land shall be verified by satellites

27-03-2010
Claims for forest land shall be verified by satellites
Gujarat Smachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Forest Rights Act is not being implemented non-allotment of land, in spite of giving proof of land occupancy since many years, injustice to tribals etc. complaints were done in the house by MLAs of easter belt of Gujarat state. In reply to such complaints Minister Shree Mangubhai Patel said that there is demand for land from tribals on which cultivation was never done before. So to find out the fact state Govt. has started getting settlite images of these land. He further informed the house that under Forest Land Act-2006, Govt. has so far received 1,86,000 applications of which 1,78,000 have been verified and 14,916 applicants have been given occupancy certificate. In refrence to complaint that only 10% applicants have been allotted land, he said that many application are incomplete and necessary queries are not fulfilled. He also stated that Govt. had declared Rs. 15,0000 crores for development of backward areas, of which Rs. 12938 crores have already been spent so far.

Feasibility of Tiger in Gujarat being studies

27-03-2010
Feasibility of Tiger in Gujarat being studies
Gujarat Smachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

At the time when Gujarat Govt. has many times publicity refused centre's offer of "Tiger for Lion", Forest Minister Shree Mangubhai announced in the house on Thursday that State Government is studing feasibility for tiger habitat in Gujarat.

A question is this regard was asked in the legislatures assembly in written reply to which Forest Minister said that chairman of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in the meeting dtd. 17-07-2009 had asked Gujarat to find out feasibility for tiger in Gujarat. State Govt. is studying the feasibility for the same at Purna sanctuary in Dang Distirct.

Friday, March 26, 2010

48 crores grant from central Govt. for Lion conservation

26-03-2010
48 crores grant from central Govt. for Lion conservation
Gujarat Samachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Central Govt. has sanctioned Rupees 48 crores for Lion conservation for 2010-11 under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH) scheme. In year 2008-09 annd 2009-10 it was only Rs. 32 lacs and Rs. 92.08 lacs respectively. Govt. of Gujarat had demanded Rs. 236.17 crores of which only 48 crores are approved.

Recently a meeting of Centre Ministry for forest and Environment had met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister in which Chief Minister's demand for funds for Lion conservation was considered that Govt. is spending heavily on conservation of about 1400 tigers where as it is not contributing generously for even more endangered 359 Asiatic lions. Govt. of Gujarat had proposed scheme of "Consolidated Long Term Conservation of Asiatic Lion in Greater Gir region" in which it had requested help for Rs. 236.17 Crores, in which 10% would be share from State Govt. Shree S. K. Nanda, Secretary of Forest & Environment Dept., who represented Govt. of Gujarat in the meeting confirmed this. He added that this fund will be used for modernizing lion conservation and management, Maldhari problems, acquiring speed-guns to control speeding vehicles through Sanctuary rounds etc.

Lion death: Three remanded to 1-day custody

26-03-2010
Lion death: Three remanded to 1-day custody
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1269585113046

Three labourers arrested for killing a lion in Mandanpara village on the outskirts of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary area were remanded to a day-long custody till Thursday, in which the forest department interrogated whether more offenders were involved in the crime. "We are also trying to find out whether any weapon other than the axe was used in the crime. It is believed that the fight between the lion and the labourers lasted for about seven minutes," said a forester. The lion was found dead on Monday and the labourers, who were arrested, claimed to have killed it in self-defence. In another incident, leaders of Bilkha village wrote a letter to Modi, alleging that the forest department had failed to take any action despite being informed about the sighting of a lion in their village.

116 lions died in Gir forest in last three years: Gujarat govt

26-03-2010
116 lions died in Gir forest in last three years: Gujarat govt
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/116-lions-died-in-Gir-forest-in-last-three-years-Gujarat-govt/articleshow/5724628.cms

As many as 116 lions have died in the last three years in Gir forest in Gujarat, the last home of the Asiatic lion, the state government said in the Assembly here on Thursday.

This information was given by the Minister for Forests and Environment Mangubhai Patel in a written reply to a question raised by Congress leader Arjun Modhvadia.

The minister has stated that as per the last census in 2005 there were 291 lions in the Gir forest.

In the year 2007, some 40 lions died, while 42 died in 2008. Thirty lions died in the year 2009, out of which one was killed by poachers. According to the minister, four lions have died in the first two months of the current year.

Out of the 116 lion deaths, 108 died due to natural causes like old age and diseases, one died after falling into an open well, while seven were killed by poachers.

The minister stated that according to 2005 census, it was estimated that 123 cubs were born in that year.

The minister, earlier this month had told the state Assembly that there were presently 68 lions, 100 lionesses and 123 cubs in the entire Gir forest which is spread over three the districts of Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar.

116 lions died in Gir forest in the last three years

26-03-2010
116 lions died in Gir forest in the last three years
Press Trust of India
http://www.ptinews.com/news/581427_116-lions-died-in-Gir-forest-in-the-last-three-years

As many as 116 lions have died in the last three years in Gir forest in Gujarat, the last home of the Asiatic lion, the state government said in the Assembly here today.

This information was given by the Minister for Forests and Environment Mangubhai Patel in a written reply to a question raised by Congress leader Arjun Modhvadia.

The minister has stated that as per the last census in 2005 there were 291 lions in the Gir forest.

In the year 2007, some 40 lions died, while 42 died in 2008. Thirty lions died in the year 2009, out of which one was killed by poachers.

According to the minister, four lions have died in the first two months of the current year.

116 lions died in Gir forest in the last three years

26-03-2010
116 lions died in Gir forest in the last three years
DNA
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_116-lions-died-in-gir-forest-in-the-last-three-years_1363361

In Gujarat which is the last adobe of the Asiatic lion, as many as 116 lions have died in the last three years, the state government said in the Assembly here today.

This information was given by the minister for forests and environment, Mangubhai Patel in written reply to a question raised by Congress leader Arjun Modhvadia.

The minister has stated that as per the last census in 2005 there were 291 lions in the Gir forest.

In the year 2007, some 40 lions died, while 42 died in 2008. Thirty lions died in the year 2009, out of which one was killed by poachers.

According to the minister, four lions have died in the first two months of the current year.

Out of the 116 lion deaths, 108 died due to natural causes like old age and diseases, one died after falling into an open well, while seven were killed by poachers.

The minister stated that according to 2005 census, it was estimated that 123 cubs were born in that year.

The minister, earlier this month had told the state Assembly that there were presently 68 lions, 100 lionesses and 123 cubs in the entire Gir forest which is spread in three districts like Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another carcass found in Babariya range

24-03-2010
Another carcass found in Babariya range
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1269413094734

A day after a lion was found axed to death, news of a decomposed carcass of an Asiatic lion found in Junagadh shocked animal lovers. However, the post mortem of the body, which was in fact found on Monday, proved that the lion had died a natural death a fortnight ago.

The body was found near Gir west, Babariya range, infamous for poaching of six lions by an MP gang in 2007. It was found next to Machundri river near Jokhiya.

According to deputy conservator of forests, Babariya range, Sandeep Kumar, the carcass is of a 14-year-old lion which had died of old age 15 days ago. All 17 claws and nails were found intact on the body, except one which might have fallen off due to old age, Kumar said. The carcass was found lying.

Ironically, though, the lion's body lay undetected for 15 days in this area which was supposed to be under strict vigil since the 2007. "It is very much possible that due to water present in the vicinity foul smell of decomposing was not smelt by the beatguards. It is surprising that they use to visit regularly in the area for bath and yet did not detect the body. We are looking into the matter as this area is covered by the foot patrol staff, who file an 'all well' report on a daily basis.

Head injuries killed lion: Postmortem

24-03-2010
Head injuries killed lion: Postmortem

Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1269413094734

The lion that was found dead with severe wounds on its throat and head died of the fatal traumatic injury. This was confirmed by the postmortem report, refuting claims of any other cause of death. Assitant conservator of forest (ACF) Anita Karne told TOI that inquiry in the matter is still on as the circumstances that led to the incident have to be verified.

Among the findings, one of the interesting facts was that the lion was not hungry which is believed to have made its its behaviour suspicious. Sources said, that the lion had preyed upon a goat and this was detected during the post mortem.

"The lion, three to five years old, has injured around nine persons, including villagers and forest beat guards, which is a strange behaviour," said Karne. The forest department is focusing on this point as to why the lion entered the human habitation and why it was so aggressive as to attack humans as this is not the animal's normal behaviour.

There were several questions raised on the wound area, which many animal lovers had claimed was abnormal for a sudden attack. However, refuting this argument, Karne said, "The injury under the neck happened due to a sudden attack with an axe which was thrown at the lion to save oneself."

This is the first incident ever when a lion was killed by villagers with an axe. In the past lions have been poisoned or electrocuted. On Monday morning the beast was first seen near Chorvadi village in Junagadh. It went on to hurt seven persons before it died in Mandanpura village. TNN


Police officials inspect the site where the lion was found killed on Monday

Lion census in Gir sanctuary from April 24

24-03-2010
Lion census in Gir sanctuary from April 24
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1269413094734

Gujarat state forest department is getting ready for lion census to be conducted from April 24 next month in Gir sanctuary in Junagadh district.

Nearly 1,500 officials will be deployed for the exercise, conducted every five years for
a headcount of Asiatic lions at Gir, sources from the department said. The officials have been given special training for the perfect headcount of lions, sources said, adding that the department will have photograph of each and every lion to make sure of perfect headcount.

The four-day census will begin from April 24, in which first two days will be of primary headcount and final headcount will take place in last two days sources said, adding that GIS (geographical information system) will be used this time in the census. National Park District Forest Officer (DFO) Sandip Kumar said nearly 1,500 officials will be working in which 900 assistant, 100 subzonal officials, 28 zonal officials and region officers and observers will be performing duty in the census. The final report will be submitted to the chief minister, who will disclose the exact figure of the lions in Gir sanctuary, sources said.

In last census, 359 lions were reported at the sanctuary, but after that a number of beast were killed by poachers while many succumbed to injuries after falling down in open wells in the forest of Gir.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Foresters say lion was killed in self-defence

23-03-2010
Foresters say lion was killed in self-defence
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Foresters-say-lion-was-killed-in-self-defence/594437

An asiatic lion found dead near the Gir Range periphery was possibly killed in self-defence, forest officers have said.

Assistant Conservator of Forest P S Babariya said: "The lion's body was found near the periphery of the Girnar Range, on the outskirts of Chorwadi, Nawagam and Mandalpur villages. The lion was aged around 3-4 years and was hit on the head with an axe."

Girnar Range — some 70 km from the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary — is home to some 30 lions as per the last census of 2005. Gujarat has a population of 350 lions including those living in the Girnar Range and the sanctuary. People living in the periphery of the sanctuary are also known for their commitment to lion preservation.

Forest officers said the lion had reportedly wounded seven people (including a forest guard) from Chorwadi, Nawagam and Mandalpar villages, who have been admitted to the Junagadh Civil Hospital.

According to hospital records, the injured are Chorwadi vice sarpanch Mahesh Baldania (30), Gopa Mor (72), Forest Guard Parbat Gharsaeda (50), Chandu Chovatia (45), Salim Khayam, Abdul Pathan and Mohammad Pathan.

According to reports, there were a total of three attacks on humans from a lion pride that had ventured into the outskirts. Baldania and Mor were reportedly attacked by a lioness, while Gharsaeda and Chovatia were wounded by a lion. Khayam and the two Pathans were injured by a lion.

Forest officers said the lion was possibly killed between 10.30 pm and 12.30 am, adding that the men were probably woodcutters, carrying an axe.

Babariya said: "The claws have been found intact. It is clear that the lion was killed in self-defence. It is not a case of poaching." He added: "The big cat probably died of haemorrhage. The body has been sent for post-mortem to the Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh city."

The Forest Department has registered a case under the Wildlife Act, 1972 against three unidentified persons. Babariya said the Forest Department is yet to confirm the names of the injured and those who killed the lion, adding that the last three names entered in the hospital register are the suspects.

Lion killed after attacking 7 persons in Ahmedabad

23-03-2010
Lion killed after attacking 7 persons in Ahmedabad
Press Trust of India
http://www.ptinews.com/news/577399_Lion-killed-after-attacking-seven-persons

A lion was allegedly killed by a group of men in self-defence after the animal attacked them near a village close to the Gir wildlife sanctuary in Junagadh district here today, forest officials said.

Seven men, including a forest beat guard, were injured in the lion attack that took place on the periphery of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary near the village.

According to forest officials, preliminary probe indicated that the men allegedly killed the lion with an axe in self-defence.

The injured were being treated at the Junagadh civil hospital, they said.

A case has been registered under the Wildlife Protection Act and further investigation in the matter was on, forest officials said.

The gir sanctuary is the last abode of the Asiatic Lion. 359 lions were found in Gir in the last census conducted in 2005.

Gir villagers kill lion in self-defence

23-03-2010
Gir villagers kill lion in self-defence
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Gir-villagers-kill-lion-in-self-defence/594373

An Asiatic lion was killed on Monday by villagers in Junagadh district who claimed that it had attacked and injured seven people.

The forest department has registered a case under the Wildlife Act against three unidentified persons from Chorwadi village. The village falls under the Girnar range in outer Gir Wildlife Sanctuary area, the last home of the Asiatic lions. All the seven injured have been admitted at the Junagadh Civil Hospital. The forest department is in the process of identifying the people who killed the lion.

"The lion's body was found from the Girnar range, on the fringes of which three villages — Chorwadi, Nawagam and Mandalpur — are located. The lion was hit by an axe on the head. It was a male lion, aged around three-four years," said Assistant Conservator of Forest P S Babariya.

23-03-2010
Foresters say lion was killed in self-defence
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Foresters-say-lion-was-killed-in-self-defence/594437

An asiatic lion found dead near the Gir Range periphery was possibly killed in self-defence, forest officers have said.

Assistant Conservator of Forest P S Babariya said: "The lion's body was found near the periphery of the Girnar Range, on the outskirts of Chorwadi, Nawagam and Mandalpur villages. The lion was aged around 3-4 years and was hit on the head with an axe."

Girnar Range — some 70 km from the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary — is home to some 30 lions as per the last census of 2005. Gujarat has a population of 350 lions including those living in the Girnar Range and the sanctuary. People living in the periphery of the sanctuary are also known for their commitment to lion preservation.

Forest officers said the lion had reportedly wounded seven people (including a forest guard) from Chorwadi, Nawagam and Mandalpar villages, who have been admitted to the Junagadh Civil Hospital.

According to hospital records, the injured are Chorwadi vice sarpanch Mahesh Baldania (30), Gopa Mor (72), Forest Guard Parbat Gharsaeda (50), Chandu Chovatia (45), Salim Khayam, Abdul Pathan and Mohammad Pathan.

According to reports, there were a total of three attacks on humans from a lion pride that had ventured into the outskirts. Baldania and Mor were reportedly attacked by a lioness, while Gharsaeda and Chovatia were wounded by a lion. Khayam and the two Pathans were injured by a lion.

Forest officers said the lion was possibly killed between 10.30 pm and 12.30 am, adding that the men were probably woodcutters, carrying an axe.

Babariya said: "The claws have been found intact. It is clear that the lion was killed in self-defence. It is not a case of poaching." He added: "The big cat probably died of haemorrhage. The body has been sent for post-mortem to the Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh city."

The Forest Department has registered a case under the Wildlife Act, 1972 against three unidentified persons. Babariya said the Forest Department is yet to confirm the names of the injured and those who killed the lion, adding that the last three names entered in the hospital register are the suspects.

Leopard attacks girl in a Veraval village

23-10-2010
Leopard attacks girl in a Veraval village
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1269332763031

A leopard attacked a 10-year-old girl in Moraj village of Veraval taluka in Junagadh district on Sunday night. Jaya Chandh had gone to attend the nature's call when the leopard pounced on her. Hearing her cries, her family rescued her.


Lion axed to death near Gir

23-03-2010
Lion axed to death near Gir
Times of India By Kulsum Yusuf
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Lion-axed-to-death-near-Gir/articleshow/5709614.cms

In a bizarre incident, a lion was axed to death by some villagers in the greater Gir concept area of Junagadh district on Monday. Before it was killed, the lion had attacked seven people, including three of its attackers, who were hospitalised after the incident, forest officials said.

"It appears to be an act of self-defence," said in charge deputy conservator of forests Anita Karne of Junagadh Sasan Gir.

The lion, aged between three and five years, was first spotted near Chorvadi village, 4 km from Gir sanctuary. Deputy sarpanch Mahesh Baldaniya, 65, was attacked and injured on his leg by the lion, which then walked into a farm in Mandalpar village. On way, it reportedly attacked Chandu Chovadiya, 45, a farm labourer, Gopal Mor, 70, and a forest beat guard PD Gharsanda before it was found dead at 11am in the farm.

Karne said, "Foresters found a felled tree next to the lion's carcass. From the wounds it appears to have been attacked by a sharp object, possibly an axe, which cut the blood stream to the brain."

The attackers — Karim Pathan, 42, Salim, 32, and Abdullah Pathan, 45, all residents of Junagadh — are woodcutters.
"Preliminary investigation suggests that these persons — labourers hired to fell trees before monsoon — were working when the lion attacked them," Karne said, adding that the spot falls under the revenue area and not the sanctuary. It's not yet certain how many woodcutters were present.

In charge conservator of forests Sudhir Chaturvedi said, "This kind of a multiple attack on humans by a lion is extremely rare. It needs to be studied as to whether there was any provocation"

Carcass of the lion killed by villagers

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Leopard carcass found at 5 kms from Dhari

21-03-2010
Leopard carcass found at 5 kms from Dhari
Gujarat Samachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

A state carcass of adult leopard was found behind Khokhra Mahadev temple on outskirts of Dhari. The body was so stale that postmortem had to be done on site only. It is expected to have been died four five days back. The place of incidence is only 5kms from the forest office and still it came to knowledge of forest staff only after so many days.

Carcass of lion found in Babariya Range

21-03-2010
Carcass of lion found in Babariya Range
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Forest department received information of a lion carcass near Machhundri reservoir in Jankhiya round in Babariya range in Gir West. Range forest officer informs that it was adult lion of about 10-12 years and may have died before 10 days. They are investigating the scene to find out reason for the death. Post mortem shall be done on site only. It is assumed to be death due to old age says Dep. Conservator of Forest Sandeep Kumar. 16 of 18 nails were found.

It is worth mentionity that this is the same place where six lions were killed in April 2007.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Girnar ropeway project unites Congress, BJP

20-03-2010
Girnar ropeway project unites Congress, BJP
Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Girnar-ropeway-project-unites-Congress--BJP/593283

The proposed ropeway will have 18 cabins, each with a capacity of 8 people

The treasury and opposition benches appeared to be united in the state Assembly on Friday over the issue of construction of a ropeway over the Girnar hills.

The place is home to dozens of Hindu and Jain temples where lakhs of people from the state and outside visit every year.

During the discussions on the issue after a question raised by BJP MLA Kanubhai Bhalana, state Congress president and Dabhoi MLA Siddharth Patel said it is a project of vital importance for the development of Junagadh.

He said the project has found support from local trade and commerce organisations as well as social and cultural bodies. Patel said his party would support the government on the issue of development.

Leader of the Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil said he had personally taken up the matter with the Union Forests and Environment Minister, urging him to give clearance to the project soon.

Thanking the Congress members for their support, state Tourism Minister Jay Narayan Vyas said the project was started in July 1994. Usha Breco Limited was given the assignment to implement it at the cost of Rs 89.31 crore. The company, he said, had to construct it at its own cost and give annual royalty to the government. The royalty amount was to increase every five years.

However, the project, he said, could not take off because the Centre did not give permission owing to environmental issues.

He expressed the hope that the project would see the light of day with all political parties backing it. He said the ropeway would have 18 cabins, each with a capacity of eight people. As many as 2,000 people would be able to travel by it in one hour, he added.

Gujarat's Girnar ropeway project to start next year

20-03-2010
Gujarat's Girnar ropeway project to start next year

DNA
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_gujarat-s-girnar-ropeway-project-to-start-next-year_1361157

Finally after a delay of almost two decades, the Girnar mountain may get its ropeway. Tourism minister Jaynarayan Vyas informed the state assembly about the status of Girnar mountain ropeway project.

Responding to a question of Visavadar MLA Kanu Bhalala in question hour, Vyas said that through a notification dated May 31, 2008, the government has reserved land for the ropeway project in Gir forest land. The state government has also submitted the proposal to the central government's National Wildlife Board and the Board too has decided to take up the issue after site visit. "We had several meetings with the central forest & environment minister for the project also. We are hopeful of getting clearance soon and the project is likely to start by 2011.''

The ropeway project will be undertaken by Ushabrecko Company at the cost of Rs89.31 crore. GPCC president Sidharath Patel said: "I and leader of opposition have also met the central forest and environment minister and requested them to clear the project at the earliest.''

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lion attacks on humans, cattle on rise

18-03-2010
Lion attacks on humans, cattle on rise
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1268888100593

Going by the rise in number of attacks on humans and livestock, it seems more lions are moving outside the protected area in Gir. In last one year, 42 attacks on humans, killing one, were reported in Junagadh district alone.

Replying to a question from Talala MLA Bhavan Bharwad, the government told the assembly on Tuesday that Rs one lakh had been paid as compensation for the death and Rs 1.95 lakh as compensation to the injured.

To another question, the government said that in Jafrabad and Rajula talukas of Amreli district, between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009, about 220 incidents of attack on livestock were reported, killing 472 animals in the process.

The government said Rs 7.88 lakh had so far been paid as compensation for deaths of livestock and another Rs 9.73 lakh are yet to be paid. In 2008, 146 animals were killed in Jafrabad, and the number went up to 208 the next year. In Rajula, 33 animals were killed in 2008 and another 74 the following year. The areas which registered maximum killings were Lunasar, Timba, Nageshri, Balani Vav, Mithapur, Moti Sakar, Vandh and Kagdawar, all in Jafrabad. In Rajula, the deaths were scattered across the taluka.

Senior officials admitted that with 120-130 odd lions moving outside Gir sanctuary, attacks on human and animals were likely to rise.

Revtubha Raijada, former member of the State Wild Life Board, said, "Gir's carrying capacity is just 270-odd lions, whereas it has now over 390 lions. After the census, we will know the exact number. Lions are moving out because of lack of prey base and territorial fights."

GA Patel, former chief conservator of forest, said, "Such attacks on humans were rare in the past. But with more development taking place on the peripheries of the sanctuary, the disturbance to the wild animal is increasing and the attacks are bound to increase."

Since the prey base is shrinking, the lions are moving out and attacking domestic animals, which are easy prey as they cannot run as quickly as a cheetal or a deer or any other wild animal, Patel said.

An adult lions requires an area of 30-40 sq km and hence there is always a fight for territory which results in the weaker lion coming out of the sanctuary and coming in direct conflict with the human beings.

"It is a fact that lions in past were found right from Gondal to Porbandar and upto Palitana and Bhavnagar. The lions are regaining their lost territory, as it is the human which has interfered in the lion territory," said Patel.

Ambardi to be second lion safari

18-03-2010
Ambardi to be second lion safari
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1268888100593

It is official now. The state government has announced in Assembly that Ambardi would be developed as a second safari park for the Asiatic lion. Replying to a question by Dhari MLA Mansukh Bhuva, the government said the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) had given its approval for the second safari in Ambardi in May 2008.

The government said nothing has so far been spent on the project, but it was preparing a plan. It said that once the plan was ready, the work would soon begin in the area.

Forest officials said Ambardi would be the second interpretation zone and would be on similar lines as that of Devaliya near Sasan. This will create a whole new tourist circuit from Amreli to Kodinar via Tulsishyam which would be a shorter route. Officials said this would promote eco-tourism in Amreli district which is just 60 km from Diu.

The officials said this would be a good site as it would shorten the route to Diu for those wanting to see the lion and head for Diu. One of the reasons for selecting this site is that Khodiyar dam is close by, so there would be no water shortage.

Forest officials said the Centre had cleared the project but the Gujarat government was delaying the project for want of funds. The revised proposal which the forest department has sent to the state finance department was of Rs 14 crore. This was because of the escalation of the costs. The officials said the new interpretation zone would have a cafeteria, a reception centre, theatre and parking facilities for the visitors.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leopard that could not be caged got caught in machine room

16-03-2010
Leopard that could not be caged got caught in machine room
Gujarat Samachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

A leopard that attacked five in Ishwariya village of Verawal Taluka was not caged so far and was roaming free as risk to human lives. Co-incidencly this leopard was caught in machine room of Devabhai Ramabhai Parmar's farm. Leopard was also injured few days back when in one of the attack people had retaliated. In the morning at at 6AM, farmer show the leopard going into the machine room. He informed forest department. Forest people closed the door of the room and tranquilized the leopard and caught him. Still there are 10-15 more leopards in the area, said local villagers.

Twelve leopards caught in two months; Total 1000 leopards in state of which 500 in Junagadh – Amreli

16-03-2010
Twelve leopards caught in two months; Total 1000 leopards in state of which 500 in Junagadh – Amreli
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Since last few months man-leopard conflict has increased since last few months. In last two months, leopards have attacked 11 persons and killed three. These incidences are more in coastal area of Junagadh district. This is time for cutting sugarcane crop, and sugarcane crop is favourite habitat for leopards which has caused increase in human attacks, said M M Sharma CF – WL.

Incidence are more in Verawal – Sutrapada area villages like Sonariya, Bhander and Hiran river bank, in which seven were injured and two women were killed. Five leopards were caught from this area in last 15 days. Still there are three more to be caged.

In Bhavnath valley area of Junagadh one man is killed and one injured in Leopard attack. Where as three incidence have happened in Vanthali, Keshod and Viswasar Talukas. One leopard in Kodinar, one in Vanthali, two in Visawadar , two in Una and one leopard in Junagadh have been caught so far by forest Department. More attack incidences are happening in Junagadh – Amreli districts because 500 leopards, that is 50% of total leopards in Gujarat state, are in this area.

Gir lions thrive but tigers get lion's share of Central funds

16-03-2010
Gir lions thrive but tigers get lion's share of Central funds
DNA By Jumana Shah
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_gir-lions-thrive-but-tigers-get-lion-s-share-of-central-funds_1359602

The population of tigers in India has continued to shrink despite infusion of huge funds into efforts for their conservation. No such funds have been available for lion conservation. Yet, the population of the Asiatic lions in the Gir forests — which, incidentally, is their last surviving abode — has continued to increase.

The lion census scheduled next month would be the latest exercise to arrive at an estimate of the lion population in the Gir region. Though the results of the census will be known only after a few months, it is estimated that lion population in the region has increased by nearly 20%. This would take the figure for the number of lions in Gir to approximately 425.

The last census in 2005 had estimated the population of lions to be around 359. If the next census indicates that lion numbers had increased by nearly 20%, lion conservation in Gujarat would become one of the biggest success stories of conservation.

Moreover, this rise in lion numbers would have come at a time when tiger population in neighbouring states (Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra) have plummeted despite the huge amounts spent on their conservation.

In Gujarat, on the other hand, lion numbers have increased despite the paltry sum allocated by the Union government for their conservation. Chief conservator of forests, MM Sharma, who is currently in-charge of Junagadh wildlife circle, told DNA that around Rs70 lakh was sanctioned by the Centre for lion conservation in 2009.

This is in sharp contrast to the crores spent on the tiger. "Just one Mumbai-based trust has donated over Rs81 lakh for tiger conservation this year," Sharma said. Gujarat's success story has been possible mainly because of the support of the local population.

"Gujarat deserves a pat on the back for the wonderful upkeep of lions," says Yadvendra Jhala, faculty at the Wildlife Institute of India. "The story may have been completely different if the lions had been in any other state. The people here are extremely tolerant to such a huge carnivore in their midst." Jhala was part of the tiger census team. "People here are mostly vegetarians," he said. "So the lions' prey-base has not been poached upon by the residents."

Despite the remarkable success, lion conservation in Gujarat still faces some big challenges. The lions' natural habitat — the Gir forests — is shrinking, mainly because of the growth in human population. In fact, it is shrinking faster than ever before.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Census, protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions

15-03-2010
Census, protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions
PIB Press Release
http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=59575

Rajya Sabha

The Ministry has been supporting the protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions since a long time. In order to conserve the single isolated population of Asiatic Lions, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had initiated habitat feasibility study through the Wildlife Institute of India, which inter alia has identified Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as an alternate home for the Gir Lions and for the release of wild lions from Gujarat. While State Government of Madhya Pradesh is agreeable for translocation of Gir Asiatic Lions in Kuno Palpur, State Government of Gujarat has not agreed to part with Gir Asiatic Lions. The matter is subjudice before Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in view of IA no. 100 in Writ Petition (Civil) 337/1995.

In past, an amount of Rs. 1545 lakhs has been released for relocation of village for preparing the habitat for Asiatic Lions at Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary. However no financial allocation is earmarked for this purpose in current financial year.

The Government of Gujarat has submitted a proposal for assistance for consolidation of long-term conservation of lions with proposed expenditure of Rs. 236.17 crores. The Planning Commission has approved the proposal but no additional outlay has been provided for this purpose to the Ministry. The Planning Commission has been requested to provide additional allocation for this proposal. In the meantime the Ministry is providing the funds for lion conservation under the existing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' for their protection and conservation.

As per the information provided by the State Government of Gujarat, latest estimated population of Lions in Gujarat is 359 (+10). There is no disparity about these figures.

The Central Government has taken various steps for their protection and conservation of wildlife and lions are as follows:

1. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 has been enacted to deal with the issues of protection and conservation of wildlife in India.

2. A network of Protected Areas has been established to conserve wildlife and their habitats including animals like Asiatic Lions.

3. Financial and technical support from the Ministry is being provided under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' to State/UT Governments for the conservation and protection of wildlife including lions and its habitats.

4. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, with a network of five Regional and three Sub Regional Offices, has been set up to control poaching.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (independent charge) Shri Jairam Ramesh in a written reply to a question by S/Shri Natuji Halaji Thakor, Vijay Kumar Rupani, Bharatsinh Prabhatsinh Parmar, Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala and Kanjibhai Patel in Rajya Sabha today.

KP

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leopard terror in Iswariya continues, five attacked

14-03-2010
Leopard terror in Iswariya continues, five attacked
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1268545884609

Locals of Iswariya village of Veraval taluka in Junagadh district were shocked after five persons in the village were attacked by a leopard on Saturday morning. The villagers had been relieved since the caging of four leopards from the area in past four days. The injured people have been shifted to civil hospital in Veraval town.

The leopard attacked the five persons around 8 am on Saturday, according to range forest officer, Veraval, KR Vaghashiya. "The incident took place when two persons were on their way to work in a sugarcane farm in Iswariya village. The victims told us that as they walked into the farm, the leopard jumped out from behind the tall sugarcane crops and attacked them."

Many people who heard their cries rushed to their rescue. However, the leopard attacked three of them,'' said Vaghashiya. The injured are out of danger. Four of the victims were injured below the knee, while one was injured on his thigh. The victims have been identified as Bhikha, Deva, Keshar, Natha and Uday, all natives of Iswariya.

Ever since a leopard killed two women in the village, the people of Iswariya have lived in fear of the wild animal.

Forest officials are on constant vigil to nab the wild cats and have been able to cage five leopards till now. "We have placed nine cages to catch leopards from the area, which is a known habitat for leopards," said Vaghashiya.

Two of the victims attacked by the leopard on Saturday

Saturday, March 13, 2010

One lion injured in internal fight

13-03-2010
One lion injured in internal fight
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Juna Savar in Kharapat area, is 20 kms away Savarkundla, in Greater Gir. It is dry throng scrubb kind terrain regularly in habited by pride of three lions. Few days back on lone nomed lion came into internal fight in which nomad was badly injured. The defeated poor lion is suffering pain and injuries since last many days in want of forest department's attention. And the pity is, there are no veterinary doctors in Jasadhar range!

Cow saves three from Leopard attack

13-03-2010
Cow saves three from Leopard attack
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Rangpur is small village in Sutrapada sub-district. A farmer Basubhai Bhagwanbhai Daki was working in his farm at 07:45 AM, suddenly a leopard came out of the bush and caught him by him on his shoulder. Defence, leopard bit him on his shoulder. A commuter Sanjay Rambhai Dodiya (Age-21) who was passing by on his motor-cycle, rushed to help the farmer. Leopard attacked him and caught him by his left hand and then right leg. On hearing the cries of the victims, neighboring farmer gathered but no one had courage to rescue them. In the meantime Meru(Age-20), son of Basubhai, came forward to rescue. Suddenly, a white cow, going for grazing in simtal as usua, ran towards the scene of incidence and took the leopard by horns. Leopard attacked her as well but finally left the battle-field. All the three injured were taken to Junagadh hospital  for treatment. Also cow was given necessary injection.

Friday, March 12, 2010

One more leopard caught in Ishwariya

12-03-2010
One more leopard caught in Ishwariya
Times of India
Print Edition

On the third consecutive day, forest officials in Veraval range of Junagadh district managed to trap the third leopard near Ishwariya village on Thursday early morning.

According to forest officials, the cages have been placed to nab leopards in the area, especially on the banks of Hiran River. Forest officials caught a six-year-old female leopard, which was sent to Sasan Gir. Resident of the area are scared ever since a leopard killed two women in Ishwariya village recently.

Farmers are harvesting sugarcane fields in Veraval-Sutrapada area. According to residents the fields are an ideal hiding place for leopards.

Despite the claim of deputy conservator of forests (Junagadh division) Anita Karne on Wednesday, that the leopard which had killed two women in the area has been caught and sent to Sakkarbaug zoo in Junagadh, residents are still apprehensive.

Lions of Gir, India's most endangered big cat: report

12-03-2010
Lions of Gir, India's most endangered big cat: report
Meghdoot Sharon & Bahar Dutt / CNN-IBN
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/lions-of-gir-indias-most-endangered-big-cat-report/111422-3.html?from=webx

A latest census report by the government of Gujarat has reported that in the last two years over 70 lions have died in Sasangir, the only forest in India which is home to the Asiatic Lion.

Less than 300 at last count, the lions of Gir are India's most endangered big cat. A Gujarat Government report admits that over 70 lions have died in the Gir National Park in the last two years.

"This figure is not alarming, " said Forest & Environment Principal Secretary SK Nanda.
The problem facing the lion in Gir is space. With territory in short supply, lions prowl the edges of the forest, often falling into one of the 8000 uncovered wells surrounding Gir - that are virtual death traps for the lions. Poaching is another threat - lions are often killed for their claws. Living in a single park, a single epidemic could mean extinction for the lion.

"All lions are in one space, if anything were to happen to these animals it would be a catastrophe," said Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program Ravi Chellam.

A new home for the lions has been prepared in Kuno in Madhya Pradesh, but Gujarat has refused to part with the lions… inspite of Jairam Ramesh's offer to exchange tigers for lions.

"I have written to the Gujarat Chief Minister saying that we will set up a tiger sanctuary in Gujarat. I'm hoping that will be incentive for him to part with a lion so to speak, the Madhya Pradesh CM is very keen, but it is Gujarat that has remained firm, " said Jairam Ramesh.

With Meghdoot Sharon in New Delhi this is Bahar Dutt

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another leopard caged in Ishwariya village

11-03-2010
Another leopard caged in Ishwariya village
Times of India
Print Edition

On the second day in a row, Junagadh range forest officials caught another leopard in Ishwariya village early on Wednesday. This was exactly at the spot where a leopard had killed two women last month. Since the deaths, foresters have caught three leopards, one of which was caught on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, a female leopard got caught in the cage. It was also sent to Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh like the rest of leopards caught from the region. While Tuesday's animal was caught 50 metre away from Ishwariya, on Wednesday morning a leopard was caught in the cage exactly near river Hiran where the two woman were killed.

Later, the leopard was displayed in the village to assuage the fear of the villagers. "The area is habitat of leopards. So, whenever residents of the region complaint about the threats of wildlife animals, we attend to it immediately," deputy conservator of forests(Junagadh division) Anita Karne told TOI.

20 Asiatic lions die in Gir forest

11-03-2010
20 Asiatic lions die in Gir forest
Webdunia123.com
http://news.webindia123.com/news/articles/India/20100129/1434841.html

Twenty Asiatic lions died during 2004-09 due to drowning after falling in the open wells in and around Gir forest in Gujarat, says a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, which arraigned the Forest and Environment department for not taking appropriate action to protect the endangered species.

Surveys revealed that there were 8,696 open wells in and around Gir protected area. After a delay of more than three years, the department had started action to construct parapet walls to the open wells only from 2007-08 and in all, 6,024 wells were protected at a cost of Rs 2.82 crore, while balance 2,672 wells were still unprotected as of March, 2009.

Despite passage of 27 years after the Gujarat government notified its intention and 12 years after the Supreme Court directions in 1997, 1,153 sq km area of Gir sanctuary was not notified as national park, the CAG pointed out in its latest report presented in the recent session of the Legislative Assembly.

Notwithstanding the Centre's stipulation that mining activity within five km radius from the boundary of national park and wildlife sanctuary was not permissible, 13 mining units were operating within five km radius of Gir forest without lease orders,'' the report pointed out. ''No action was taken to get the 13 illegal mining units closed though lease cancellation orders were issued to another set of 22 mining units operating within five km radius from boundary of Gir forest with valid lease licence,'' it said.

The Wildlife Protection Act says that there should not be any human settlement in the protected area so as to provide undisturbed life to the wildlife. But at the end of 2008-09, there were 376 Maldharis (shepherd) families settled within Gir forest in Junagadh district, though 588 of the total 845 such families were relocated earlier outside the protected area. Eighty-seven relocated families had already returned and were residing unauthorisedly, the report added.

Fourth leopard caught from Iswariya village

11-03-2010
Fourth leopard caught from Iswariya village
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Fourth-leopard-caught-from-Iswariya-village-/articleshow/5673364.cms

Veraval forest officials on Thursday night caught one more leopard from Iswariya village in Veraval taluka of Junagadh district. This is the fourth leopard caught by forest officials.

According to range forest officer KR Vaghasiya the male leopard is about 10 years old and has been sent to Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh.

Vaghasiya said total five leopards have been caught after one of them killed two women in Iswariya village. Out of the five, three are females.

Are lions Gujarat’s immoveable property?

11-03-2010
Are lions Gujarat's immoveable property?
Times of India By Amit Bhattacharya
http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/earthshastra/entry/are-lions-gujarat-s-immoveable

The revelation that 72 lions have died in Gir in the past two years brings back the vexed question: who owns the Asiatic lions of Gujarat, the only place in the world where the subspecies is found in the wild?

The Modi government's answer is clear. The lions are Gujarat's pride and they wouldn't let even a few of these majestic creatures be resettled in any other place. In other words, the state government seems to be saying, these lions are the immoveable property of Gujarat – so, by definition, they can't be moved out.

To any person who has some sense of attachment with the natural world, this is a deeply troubling argument. Can any government 'own' a forest and all beings living in it? For that matter, do I 'own' the pet dog who shares the house with me?

Apart from the ethical dilemmas raised by this feudalistic stand, the Gujarat government may be harming the very lions it prides on. Most wildlife experts say there's a dangerous overcrowding of these big cats in Gir. The present Gir lion population of around 360 has very low genetic diversity because they have all descended from a handful of lions left at the turn of the last century (estimates of these original survivors vary from 13 to 100).

These factors make the Gir felines vulnerable to disease. In the recent past, epidemics among wild African lions are known to have significantly reduced their numbers. In 1993, for instance, a canine distemper virus spread among a study group of 250 lions in the famous wild plains of Serengeti in Tanzania and killed one-third of them. The Gir lions would, in all probability, be more susceptible if such an epidemic were to hit the area. Then there's the threat of natural disasters and manmade calamities.

In short, keeping all Asiatic lions in one basket (as it were) isn't a good idea. Which is why the Wildlife Institute of India in the 1990s the mooted relocation of some Gir lions – just 8-10 of them – to start a new line at the Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Spread across 344.686 sq km, Kuno was identified as the best potential site for reintroduction of lions. It lies in north MP, an area that was once a heartland of lions. Over the years, the habitat has been strengthened, the prey base developed and villagers relocated to make the place fit to receive its maned residents. The government, in a statement in the Lok Sabha, said it had sanctioned and released Rs 15.45 crore by 2007-08 for relocation and rehabilitation of families from 24 revenue villages in Kuno wildlife sanctuary. Expert teams have visited the area and reported that it is ready for lions.

But the Modi government remains unmoved. In the Supreme Court last month, it put forth a number of arguments, including "irreparable damage to the sociology of lions", to assert that Gujarat's lions weren't going anywhere. The state government's counsel added that any attempt to translocate the animals to the Kuna reserve "against the will of the people of Gujarat will cause irreparable damage to their conservation and cultural ethos".

By all accounts, 72 lion deaths in two years in Gir isn't an alarming figure. Experts say it's within the 10% death rate that is naturally expected in a population. Most of them praise the Gujarat government for doing an admirable job in conserving and strengthening the lion numbers in Gir.

Without doubt, Gujarat has cared for its lions. Another reason why the Modi government should look beyond the tourist revenues from Gir and start thinking about the long term health of its regal, yet fragile, animals.

Leopard that killed two identified, gets ‘lifer’

11-03-2010
Leopard that killed two identified, gets 'lifer'
Times of India By Vijaysinh Parmar
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1268479393500

Paw Prints Suggest It Was The Same Animal: DCF Anita Karne

Exactly a month after it mauled to death two women in Ishwariya village of Junagadh district, the leopard responsible for the killings was identified by forest officials on Wednesday. Junagadh range forest officials confirmed that the male leopard that was caught from Mandor village in Veraval taluka on Tuesday morning is the one.

"Since the Ishwariya village killings had taken place, our efforts were on to cage the leopard. We had placed cages at different places. After intense efforts, we have now zeroed in on the leopard. Our team of experts have confirmed that that paw prints, size and other signs at the spot where the incident occurred match with the caught leopard caught,'' deputy conservator of forests (Junagadh division) Anita Karne told TOI.

Karne added, "Now, we will write to the chief wildlife warden asking it to send this leopard permanently to a zoo. According to Wildlife Act guidelines, wild animals that are found to be involved in human attacks are thus 'imprisoned' in zoo for lifetime."

The killings, which had taken place on February 10, had created a huge scare in the villages of Veraval taluka. The incident was also the first of its kind when the leopard had dragged away adult humans and killed them.

In 2 years, 72 lions die in Gir sanctuary

11-03-2010
In 2 years, 72 lions die in Gir sanctuary
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/In-2-years-72-lions-die-in-Gir-sanctuary/articleshow/5669490.cms

Narendra Modi says Asiatic lions are the pride of Gujarat and he won't part with them. But the animals seem to be endangered in their sole habitat.

The state government has admitted that 72 lions died in the Gir sanctuary in the past two years. Of them, one was killed by poachers and the rest, the government claimed, were from natural causes.

Replying to a question in the assembly, the state government said on Tuesday that there were only 291 lions left in the Gir sanctuary as on December 31, 2009. Among them were 100 lionesses and 123 cubs in a park spread over 1,400 sq km of forest area.

Conservationists have long complained that Gir was overcrowded and some lions need to be shifted to a sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. But Modi has repeatedly said he wasn't going to share the state's biggest tourist attraction.

More than 13,500 open wells in Gir pose a threat to lions, many of which have been killed after falling into them.

Many lion deaths in Gir have occurred from fights between the animals. "There are several deaths because of territorial fights over lionesses," says conservationist Sanat Chavan.

However, some officials say though lions are dying in large numbers, the total population is higher than what the government gave the assembly. Principal chief conservator of forests Pradeep Khanna told TOI that the data was only about lions in the protected area.

"Lions are also found in Girnar hills, in the coastal area as well as in Bhavnagar and other parts outside the sanctuary. The last census showed there were 359 lions. The next census will be held by April this year," he said.

72 lions died in Gir in last two years: Gujarat Govt

11-03-2010
72 lions died in Gir in last two years: Gujarat Govt

Press Trust of India
http://www.ptinews.com/news/556260_72-lions-died-in-Gir-in-last-two-years--Gujarat-Govt

72 lions died in Gujarat's Gir Forest in the last two years and there are around 291 lions left there, the state assembly was told today.

In a reply to a query by Chandubhai Dabhi (Congress), the government said 71 lions died due to natural causes while one was killed in poaching in the only abode of Asiatic lions, in the last two years.

According to the government, there are currently 68 lions, 100 lionesses and 123 cubs in the entire Gir area spread over three districts of Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar.

Giving details of the measures initiated by the authorities to protect the endangered wild animal, the Forest Department said security staff has been increased and they have been provided with latest communication equipment.

The department has stepped up patrolling in the dense forest and traffic within the protected areas has been regulated.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Local villager near Jafrabad scared of 25 lions and 15 leopard

10-03-2010
Local villager near Jafrabad scared of 25 lions and 15 leopard
Gujarat Samachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Coastal area of Jafrabad, with thorny scrub forest terrain, is habitat of twenty-five lions and fifteen leopards. There is enough pray base of spotted dear and blue-bulls, which makes this area suitable for big carnivores. In spite of such good pray availability, carnivores are attacking human beings.

Yesterday a leopard attacked Narsi Chiman Dabhi (Age-32) at his farm at Lor village near Jafrabad. Fortunately quick neighbor's help saved him. Few days back, due to lions as guests in his farm, a young man had to spend night on tree. Similarly a young man was badly injured by furious lion. Few days back, at Nageshri village.

Nageshri, Dudhada, Kadvadar, Dhodadri, Mithapur, Kantariya, Bhattvadar, Lal Nivav and other villages are located in 20km long Jafrabad coastal zone. Actually (as news article says) this is not forest, but is dense with Acacia thorny trees. Due to this lions from Khambha area have moved here in search of pray and water.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Leopard caged in Junagadh village

09-03-2010
Leopard caged in Junagadh village
Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Leopard-caged-in-Junagadh-village-/articleshow/5660484.cms

A male leopard was caught by Junagadh range forest officials from a farm in Mandor village of Veraval taluka of Junagadh district on Tuesday morning. Foresters said that a medical probe is on to ascertain whether this was the same animal that had killed two women of Ishwaryia village of the same taluka last month.

Sources in the department said, on Monday evening a resident of Mandor village, Meraman Dodia, called up forest officials after workers spotted a leopard in his sugarcane field. "We put up cages in areas surrounding the spot in the evening. By 5 am on Tuesday, a leopard was caught in one of the cages. We have sent this leopard to Junagadh's Sakkarbaug zoo,'' said a forest official. The seven-year-old male leopard is eight feet long and about two-and-a-half-feet high.

Two women labourers from Madhya Pradesh were mauled to death on February 10 by a leopard on the outskirts of Ishwariya, which is located close to Mandir and Sawa villages. After the incident, villagers of the region have remained scared as the incident had been the first of its kind of killing of adults. In fact, the forest department did nab a female leopard immediately after the incident but foresters discovered that the original animal was still at large. Meanwhile, attacks on humans continued with another woman and a girl being attacked.

"We are trying to ascertain if the leopard caught on Tuesday is the one that killed the two women. Officials will match footprints found at the time of the earlier incident with those of the latest caged leopard,'' said official.

Two injured Lions roaming in Patla area

09-03-2010
Two injured Lions roaming in Patla area
Gujarat Samachar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Two injured lions are roaming, without the needed attention of forest department, Iin Patla village area of Gir East. One of the lion is limping due to leg injury other lion is hurt in the back. And the pity is there is no Veternary Doctor in Gir!!

Monday, March 08, 2010

A royal secret to the jungle king’s long life

08-03-2010
A royal secret to the jungle king's long life

Times of India By Himanshu kaushik
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1268479393500

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.

Special efforts made to preserve lion gene pool

08-03-2010
Special efforts made to preserve lion gene pool
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1268479393500

In order to preserve the indigenous population of Asiatic lions, the forest department has set up three genepools in Sakarbagh zoo, Rampara Sanctuary and Hingolgadh forests. These genepools would involve a few lion pairs bred in semi captive conditions with the purpose of maintaining genetic diversity.

This lion population bred in semi captive environment will later be transferred to their new home at the Barda lion sanctuary. The project has already begun. Genepool programmes were already incorporated in the annual plan of the department this year.
Sakarbagh zoo has been chosen as a nodal centre for this activity. The laboratory would have facilities for Cryopreservation of semen, DNA finger-printing and sequencing, microbiology and biochemical testing, while artificial insemination and embryo transfer would be on of the functions of the centre. The wildlife gene bank would act as a repository of genetic material of the Asiatic lions. The programme will be undertaken under the aegis of the Gujarat Biotechnology Mission.

Not only this, the special the task force has also proposed the use of Geographical Positioning System (GPS)-based system for surveillance, animal tracking and also tracking of vehicles that enter the Gir Sanctuary. The task force has proposed that all field level subordinates, that is, foresters, supervisory staff and senior officers be equipped with hand-held devices capable of voice, data and geo-coordinate transmission. Long-term data generated from the network would increase our understanding about the dispersal dynamics of large carnivores, the task force report said.

Regarding animal surveillance through GPS tracking, the task force has proposed approximately 10 per cent of the lion population to be fitted with GPS collars for tracking. In the initial phase, about 50 animals will be fitted with the GPS collars. Besides this an automated radio sensor grid, which would consist of miniaturised, weatherproof, concealed sensors networked set off an alarm in the event of an unwanted intrusion in the forest.

TIGERS IN DANGS BUT WHERE IS THE PREY BASE?

08-03-2010
TIGERS IN DANGS BUT WHERE IS THE PREY BASE?
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?showST=true&login=default&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&Daily=TOIA&AW=1268479393500

Union minister of forest and environment Jairam Ramesh probably has no idea of what effort would go in to make the Purna Sanctuary in the Dangs, which was home to tigers 25 years back, wild again.

Experts feel the ground situation should have been considered before the minister offered Gujarat tigers for Dangs in exchange for lions for Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

Officials from the forest department said that the task would be like setting up a sanctuary all over again since there have been human settlements in these parts after the last tigers disappeared in 1993.

Forest officials say one would have to recreate the prey base, remove encroachments and even rehabilitate villages. The Purna wildlife sanctuary is scattered over a sprawling plot measuring approximately 160.8 square kilometres and positioned at the southern fringe of Gujarat.

Being regarded as a flank belonging to the Western Ghats, the sanctuary is jam-packed with damp deciduous trees and thick bamboo brakes which provide an apt ambience for an entire caboodle of fauna to flourish. The Purna Wildlife Sanctuary in Dangs gained the recognition of being considered a sanctuary in 1990.

Conservator of forest HS Singh says, "There are encroachments in Purna and it would be a hard decision to reintroduce tigers. There are a couple of villages which fall in the corridor of the wild cat. There is a railway track and roads which pass through the sanctuary." According to him, there is also a need to have a prey base of about 20,000 animals. For introducing at least two dozen tigers, one would need a block of about 500 to 600 sq km.

Former principal chief conservator of forest GA Patel said that, "The government had legalised cultivation in 2004. There were about 2.5 lakh adivasis in the Dangs all involved in illegal cultivation. The government regularised about 70,000 hectares in the area. The animal would need an area with no interference and no disturbance. If tigers were to be introduced there, over 70 odd villages would have to be rehabilitated".

"Re-introducing tigers in Dangs would be like setting up a sanctuary again which would be time consuming and would involve lot of money," said Patel.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Long-term conservation of Asiatic Lion in Greater Gir Region

06-03-2010
Long-term conservation of Asiatic Lion in Greater Gir Region
PIB Press Release
http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=59126

The Planning Commission has been requested to provide additional funds under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' (IDWH) for conservation of Asiatic Lions. The Government of Gujarat has submitted a project entitled " A plan for consolidating long-term conservation of Asiatic lion in the Greater Gir region". The project proposal is for an amount of Rs. 262.36 crores for 5 years of which Central Government's share is 90% and State Government's share is 10%.

There is no decrease in the lion population in the country. There is an increase in the population of Lion. Present population of Asiatic Lion is 359(+10) as per estimation carried out in April 2005 as against 322 to 332 in 2001.

Gujarat wants Asiatic lion to roar

06-03-2010
Gujarat wants Asiatic lion to roar
Bombay News.Net
http://www.bombaynews.net/story/609295

Gujarat Tourism Minister Jai Narain Vyas Saturday made an impassioned plea for a sustained campaign for protecting the Asiatic lion, on the lines of the recent eye-catching campaign to save the tiger in India.

'The Rs.200 crore spent on the project to save the tiger is a step in the right direction. But there are 1,430 tigers in India and only 600 Asiatic lions. Why not a campaign to save the lions too?' Vyas said at the western region conference of tourism ministers here, pointing to Gujarat's Gir wildlife sanctuary, which is home to the Asiatic lion in India.

'Gir is known for its Asiatic lions. Why are we forgetting them? A campaign to save the lion should also be started on the lines of the 'save the tiger' campaign,' Vyas said.

'If a tiger is a secular animal, then a lion is also secular. Please pay attention to it,' Vyas added.

Vyas was making a presentation at the one-day conference. Organised by the union tourism ministry, it was aimed at deliberating on tourism related issues and problems that specifically pertain to the states in the western region to ensure holistic and integrated development of tourism.

Tourism ministers and officials from Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and the union territory of Daman and Diu attended the conference, which was chaired by Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Lion to get more land near Wankaner

04-03-2010
Lion to get more land near Wankaner
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?Daily=TOIA&showST=true&login=default&pub=TOI&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&AW=1267778537203

The state government, for the first time, came out in the open in the state assembly regarding its opposition to shifting of Asiatic lions from Gir to Madhya Pradesh.

The government in reply to the question asked by MLA of Karjan Chandu Dabhi said on Tuesday that for conservation of the lions, the government has identified a land near Wankaner near Rajkot.

The government has said that as part of the long-term conservation programme, it has identified this piece of land and has taken up the afforestation along with conservation plans in the area. Drinking water facilities have also been planned and check dams constructed for this purpose.

Further in reply to Jodia MLA Raghavji Patel's question, the state government said Central government has also in Supreme Court forwarded an opinion favouring shifting of lions to Madhya Pradesh.

The government added that SC has directed the standing committee of National Wildlife Advisory Board to discuss the issue and Central government based on the recommendation of this standing committee has forwarded its proposal to SC favouring the transfer of lions.

In the reply, government stated that it has opposed this move in the Supreme Court and even before the standing committee.

Moreover, while replying to third question related to lions, the government said that for the conservation of lions, it has constructed 29 speed-breakers between Mendarda and Talala. According to government, they have been constructed keeping in view the safety of the lions and also under the powers given to the officials under Wildlife protection act, 1972. Officials added that they had received representation to remove these speed-breakers.

Essar encroachment case: Govt mulling action against four forest officials

The state government is contemplating initiating legal action against four government officials for their involvement in four incidents of forest land encroachment by the Essar company. The government in reply to a question asked by Kalupur MLA Mohammed Farooq Shaikh said that the deputy conservator of forest in Vyara has filed four cases against the company under the Indian Forest Act 1927. The DCF has registered four cases between January 19, 2007 to October 30, 2007. Government said that Essar Steel had started construction of factory on forest land in Hazira village which had been stopped by the forest department. In another case, the company had allegedly carried out cleaning and had even fenced the same area which was also stopped by the forest department.

On February 6, 2007, a third case was registered against the company for carrying out illegal construction on the area. The fourth case, which was registered on October 30, 2007, was also about encroachment in the forest land. The government has said that in all four officials, including two range forest officials (survey) and surveyors each were found to be involved in the incident and the government has sought legal opinion on taking action against the officials.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

2 more leopards spotted near Ishwariya village

03-03-2010
2 more leopards spotted near Ishwariya village
Times of India
Print Edition

Two more leopards were spotted on Monday near Ishwariya village in Veraval taluka of Junagadh district where two women were killed recently by a leopard. According to sources, on Monday, a young leopard was spotted in a sugarcane field owned by Lakha Ram in Kholass village, who alerted forest department. Forest officer KR Waghasia along with other staff rushed there and trapped the leopard. It was shifted to forest office at Veraval. The beast was given necessary treatment and handed over to Sakkarbaug zoo in Junagadh. In another incident, a leopard jumped the wall of a house and killed a calf in ishwariya village on Monday night.

Leopard killed in territorial infighting in Junagadh village

01-03-2010
Leopard killed in territorial infighting in Junagadh village
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Client.asp?Daily=TOIA&showST=true&login=default&pub=TOI&Enter=true&Skin=TOINEW&GZ=T&AW=1267612227171

A leopard was killed in a territorial infighting between two big cats in a village of Sutrapada taluka on Friday night, said forest department officials on Saturday.

According to officials, the incident occurred on the outskirts of Matana village near Dhamlej in Sutrapada taluka where shepherds herding their cattle back to the village spotted the two big cats growling at each other in the bank of Somat river that flows by the village.

"Villagers told us that some of them had seen the leopards engaging in a battle that lasted for more than halfan-hour. Upon inspecting the site on Saturday morning, we found the dead leopard. It was a five-and-half-feet long three-year-old male. The beast was badly mauled and its head was partly chewn by its opponent," said range forest officer A R Vaghasiya.

Vaghasiya attributed the leopard's death to territorial infighting. "It appears that the river was the territory which one of the leopards had breached by crossing it, provoking the fight," he said.

Meanwhile, villagers of Matana have urged the forest department to nab the killer leopard.

In Gir Jungle Lions are named after famous person

01-03-2010
In Gir Jungle Lions are named after famous person
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

In Gir Jungle beloved Gir lions are named by local people and forest staff according to their habits, nature, physical looks, age, expressions etc. although lions internally do not recognize other lions by names, they recognize by smell and colour. But when man calls a particular lion by his particular name he responds! This is an age-old culture of man-animal relationship in Gir.

Bandi(tail-cut), Zabo, Kadiya (e), Ekamal(Lone), Tadka, Buddho (Oldie), Subahu, Ramdas, Tiliyo (Spot forehead), Panchanand etc. are names of lions living in Gir. There is an amazing story behind naming each lion.

There is a lone (nomad) lion in Sapness area and he is named Ekamal (Nomad). When two local Maldharis meet, one would warm another saying take care, Ekamal is sitting in front. Forest staff also use this nomenclature with local maldharis to locate particular animal.

An another big male in the same Sapness area has grown old and he is named 'Budhodho' (Oldie). One lion near Mohvel village near Dhari has got 'Zatho' alias 'Zablo' name. its about 15 years old. Whereas an adult lioness has tail cut so she is named as 'Bandi' (cut-tail).

There was an furious lioness living near Tulsi Shyam area. When ever it show human beings it will get angry and start raising her tail. She had also attacked two people. So she was named "Fulandevi" (famous Indian lady decoit). In the same area a there was a pair of male-female who acted like mad. They were always running after each other and playing. So they were named 'Gandu Belad' (Mad-couple).

There was a lioness a lioness near Vadaliya Hanuman Asharam. She was little fair skin. She was named 'Dhobi-Sinhan' (washer-woman).

One Bajariya Bapu (saint) lived in Ashram in between Kankai and Satadhar forest area. A lioness that lived in that area was furious by nature. So she was named 'Tadka' (Hindu demon character). Bajariya bapu had named her this way. It is said that lions obeyed what Bajariya Bajariya Bapu said. There was another strong male lion in the area. Bapu had name him as 'Subahu'.

One lion had dark spot on its fore-head. He was called 'Tiliyo' (just like Tilak that Indians do on their forehead). Two male adult lions like brothers in Dhari Rural area. So they were name Bhim – Arjun (Indian religious characters). One another male lion would hunt pouncing his all four legs and fifth one his mouth. So people named him 'Pachanand' (using five parts). One lion was darker in colour nad was named 'Kaliyo' (Blackie).

Just like individual names, local people and forest staff name lion prides also depending on no. of members. One such pride had nine lions and was named Navnath'. One pride of Seven lioness anytime and suddenly attacked its domestic and wild prey. People named the pride after famous cone-group as 'Satnari' (Seven women). One pride had five lions hence 'Panchnath'. Isn't this fascinating!

Lion attacks young man at Halariya Leopard attack at Odiya

01-03-2010
Lion attacks young man at Halariya Leopard attack at Odiya
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Lion attacked a shepherd Alabhai Raimalbhai on the outskirt of Halariya village in Bagsara taluka. He was grazing his herd of sheeps-goats when suddenly lion attacked one of the goat and killed it. When Alabhai tried to scare away the lion it attacked him. Injured man was taken to Bagasara and than to Amreli Govt. Hospital for treatment.

In another such animal attack, farmer Hasmukh Popat Moradiya (32 years) was going to his farm at Nasdi village about 10 kms from Savarkundla in Gir East was attacked by leopard hiding on the way in the foliage. He is resident of Odiya village. He was taken to K K Hospital Savarkundla for treatment. Nature lover Dave of Dhari has requested administration to keep sufficient stock Rabis injections in nearby hospital in Gir.

14 incidence of lion-leopard attack in six months in Amreli

01-03-2010
14 incidence of lion-leopard attack in six months in Amreli
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

No. of lions and leopards living in revenue areas of Amreli district has risen causing more and more man-animal conflict incidences. In last six months only more than 14 such incidences have been reported. In these fourteen people are injured and one girl is killed.

Few months back a girl was killed by lion in Savarkundla range, her family members were given compensation of Rs. 1 Lac. One month back injured lion in Chalala area attacked the forest guard. A muslim young man was attacked by lion at Zanzariya near Bagasara. He was taken to Rajkot Hospital for treatment. A Patel young man was attacked by lion Ghatiyan near Bagasara. Two man were also attacked at Nana Samadhiyala and Dittan villagers of Chalala sub-district. A six year old girl was attacked by leopard at Krangsha village near Dhari. In the same village, Koli woman was attacked by leopard before three months. About four months before a leopard attacked a bull in farm at Morzar of Chalala Taluka. A koli young man was attacked by leopard at Monvel village near Dhari a lion attacked Ahir man at Bharad village of Dangavadar. A lion attack also happened at Virpur village on Harijan young man. Now in last 48 hours, four lions attacked farmer at Nageshri, lion attacked at Halariya and leopard attacked man at Odiya village.

Kishore Kotecha's Comment:-
It is very much important that Govt. clears Greater Gir proposal.

Four lions attack a farmer

28-02-2010
Four lions attack a farmer
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Man-animal conflict incidences are on rise in Gir since last months. Farmer Panchabhai Jivabhai Kodi was working in his farm at Nageshri village some 15kms away from Rajula town in Bhavnagar district. Suddenly pride of four lions came and pounced on the ground and was badly injured. He was taken to hospital by the village sarpanch.

Gujarat saved India's pride

27-02-2010
Gujarat saved India's pride
Times of India By Ashish Vashi & Harit Mehta
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Gujarat-saved-Indias-pride/articleshow/5617888.cms

For hundreds of years now, this lion-faced state has been a natural abode of the jungle king. Lions were hunted in large numbers in northern and western India in 19th century. Gir was their last refuge because the Gujaratis protected them.

It is on sound scientific counts that Gujarat is resisting Centre's move to shift lions from Gir to Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.While the Nawab of Junagadh was among the first to bring in regulations to protect lions in the 19th century, the idea first came from Ashoka the Great in 257 B.C.

Ashoka's rock edict at Girnar talks about preservation over 2000 years back. If Gujarat had also killed the lions, the emblem of India would not have been those magestic four Asiatic lions, standing back to back. The symbol is taken from Sarnath, Ashoka capital. It's a great work of art and a symbol of India's pride, made possible only because Saurashtra protected the prides of lions in a corner of the peninsula.

After Gujarat was born in 1960, the government formed a lion sanctuary in 1965. In 1975, Gujarat government conceived a special project for the protection of Gir area and declared it a national park.

But only with the support of local people, the number of lions has gone up. According to the 1968 census, there were 177 lions, which went up to 350-360 in 2005.

The Gujarat government formed a committee to tackle the menace of lion poaching and a Rs 40 crore five-year plan was chalked in 2007-08. Gujarat Inc too has pitched in with financial support.

Leopard falls into Open Well

27-02-2010
Leopard falls into Open Well
Divya Bhaskar
Briefly translated from Gujarati

Incidence of Wild animals falling in Open Well are on increase. In one more such incidence, a leopard fell into Open Well in the farm of Jethabhai Bhagabhai Vadher in countryside (Simtal) of Gir Gadhada in Gir East. Animal was 2 year old and has been rescued successfully.

Plan for consolidating long-term conservation of Asiatic Lion in the greater Gir Region

03-03-2010
Plan for consolidating long-term conservation of Asiatic Lion in the greater Gir Region
Press Information Bureau (press release)
http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=58795

Lok Sabha

The Central Government strongly supports conservation of Asiatic Financial assistance is provided under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' (IDWH).Lion The Gir Forests in Gujarat is the only habitat of Asiatic Lion in India. The financial assistance provided to state for lion conservation in 2008-09 and 2009-10 is Rs. 32.00 lakh and Rs. 92.08 lakh respectively.

Government of Gujarat has submitted a project entitled "A plan for consolidating long-term conservation of Asiatic lion in the greater Gir region". The project proposal is for an amount of Rs. 236.17 crores of which Central Government's share is 90% and State Government's share is 10%. The Ministry has requested the Planning Commission to provide additional funds under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' (IDWH) for considering the proposal.

The Minister of State for Environment and Forests (independent charge) Shri Jairam Ramesh gave this information in a written reply to a question by Shri. Harin Pathak in Lok Sabha today.

KP

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