Sunday, January 13, 2013

Foresters save cubs from ravaging nomad lion

Foresters save cubs from ravaging nomad lion
Times of India

Winter has set in and the king of the Billiwadi Kundi area thought it an opportune time for a jaunt to woo nubile females or check out new territories to annex.In his absence,a coup was sprung as a young invader usurped the territory and began eyeing his mates.

This left forest officials worried as takeovers result in the massacre of new-born cubs.The department kept a close watch to save precious cubs from infanticide.An official in the forest department said,Whenever such takeovers take place,the new lion definitely attacks the young ones if they hinder him from mating with a lioness.The newborns do not leave their mother in the initial months and are at great risk of infanticide.

This trait is common throughout Gir,amid the angry roars of lions thrown out of their territory unceremoniously.At Billiwadi Kundi,this played out.
The lion who rules the territory in the eco-tourism zone of Gir had gone out.The area was invaded by a nomad who grabbed a female in the area.The female had three cubs which were less than a month old and hence we kept a constant watch on the takeover.This forced coupling was a danger for cubs,as they suddenly became unprotected, said Deputy Conservator of Forests,Sandeep Kumar.

He said that during the initial fight between the nomad and the mother,the cubs took shelter at a safe distance.Forest officials and ground staff kept close watch on these cubs.He further said that lions normally mate for 4-5 days straight,and the lioness didnt even attempts to locate her cubs during this.Finally,after the nomad left smelling a return and attack by the king of the area the female returned to her cubs after a three-day search.

Due to effective monitoring and observation these three little lion cubs could be saved, said Kumar.

He further said that the beat guards and the forest officials are now constantly keeping an eye on such territory invasions which are a routine affair in the first three months of the year.

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