Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Lions scale new heights in Junagadh

Lions scale new heights in Junagadh
The Times of India

The roar of Asiatic lions is echoing on hill tops now. Thewildcat, which is known only to hunt on plains, has actually scaled right up to Datar, the hill shrine located at a height of 3,600 feet from the sea level.

A group of lions, one male and two lionesses, recently climbed Datar hills and killed domestic cattle. Forest officials and locals said this was the first such instance of lions reaching such a height to prey.

"I have been living here since last four decades, but have never seen lions at the peak on Datar hills. This is the first time that lions killed our domestic animals kept at the cattleshed," mahant Vitthal Bapu of Jamiyal Shah Datar hills shrine (known as Upla Datar) told TOI. Vitthal Bapu said the lions stayed on the hilltop for three days. Datar hills area falls under Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, where there are around 35 Asiatic lions.

Range forest officer, south range, Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, Parbat Maru said, "We were surprised on receiving the message about lions killing domestic animals at this height. We have never come across such a case where lions have actually climbed up to the peak of a hill."

Forest officials believe that lions may have climbed Datar hills from Dungarpur direction and through Khodiyar Ghuna area.

According to forest officials, lions migrated from Gir forest towards Girnar and settled down here two decades ago. The state government declared it as wildlife sanctuary in 2008.

"This news is surprising as well as positive as lions have acquainted themselves with mountainous areas too," another senior forest official said. As per the last census of Asiatic lions, there are 411 lions in Gir, the last abode of Asiatic lions.

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