Sunday, March 17, 2013

188 cases of leopard, lion attacks

188 cases of leopard, lion attacks
Times of India

At least 31 persons died in Amreli and Junagadh districts in 188 attacks by leopards and lions in the last two years. The government, in reply to a question by Talala MLA Jasu Barad said that in 2011, 75 incidents of attack were reported from Junagadh and Amreli, but this increased to 113 in 2012.

The government also accepted that 31 persons were killed in the various incidents which took place mainly in the periphery of the Gir sanctuary which is home to Asiatic lions and even leopards. Of the 188 incidents, about 120 were reported from Junagadh while the rest were from Amreli district.

The government said that it has formed special rescue teams in Gir area for the rescue of animals who are involved in frequent attacks. The minister said that meetings of forest officials with sarpanchs were held to create awareness so that the villagers can protect themselves from such attacks. He said van mitras have been appointed in the villages. tnn

A senior officer from Junagadh said that of the 188 attacks, over 85 per cent were by leopards. The official said the majority of attacks were in Una and in the coastal talukas of the two districts. He said that during the census conducted last year, it came to light that leopards and their cubs have started inhabiting the fields. Sugarcane fields are important hideouts for leopards as the plants are tall. These fields are also a breeding ground for the wild cats that are shy by nature.

The officer said the fields in Una, Talala and Kodinar in Saurashtra along with those in south Gujarat and Vadodara have a good population of leopards. He said these animals keep moving between the forest area and the fields.

Forest land for two firms

The state government in a written reply said that the state has diverted forest land to two firms for non-forest activities. The government in reply to Rajula MLA Hirabhai Solanki informed the House that in 2011, forest land was given to Vodafone Essar Company and Ultratec cement. The land was given for non-forest activities. The government said that according to rules the land was not sold, but the companies were told to create similar area of green space.

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