Monday, November 11, 2013

Junagarh zoo to provide two pairs for Lion Safari

Junagarh zoo to provide two pairs for Lion Safari
The Times of India

The Lion Safari in Etawah will soon get four more lions. The Sakarbaug Zoo of Junagadh in Gujarat has decided to part way with two pairs of Asiatic lion for Samajwadi Party supremo's dream project.

The two pairs would arrive at Lucknow Zoo in next few days. With this, the state capital zoo would house three pairs of Asiatic lions."We have already procured two pairs of Asiatic lions from Hyderabad and Rajkot zoos. While a pair is kept in Lucknow zoo and the other is house in Kanpur zoo.

Soon we will get four more lions from Sakarbaug zoo in Junagadh. These lions will be initially kept at Lucknow Zoo and would be shifted to the breeding centre at the safari by January next year. The work at the Lion Safari is in its final stage of completion," said Lion Safari director, Gurmeet Singh.

Plantation of grass, trees and plants is already complete. "We have planted 'Deenanath', 'Kareel' and 'Khair' grass to develop Lion habitat. Similarly, a good number of saplings of 'neem', 'sheesham', 'chokhar' and 'ardu' have been planted to keep the foliage as realistic as possible to the lion's natural setting," said another senior Forest department official while talking to TOI.

Once the Safari gets developed, the state government would open the place for tourists, he said further. It would be the second-of-its-kind project after Gujarat with world-class facilities for the upkeep of royal beast. Once the facilities are in place, visitors can drive through a thoroughfare, spotting royal animal roaming in the safari.

Meanwhile, the development work at Lion Safari is in full swing these days for Asiatic lions. Some 150.83 hectares in Fisher Reserve Forest area on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari, in 2005.

However, it was shelved by Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after Samajwadi Party returned to power in March 2012. The Union ministry of Environment and Forest approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crore for the Lion Safari project. The government had authorized Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for the construction and execution of the Lion safari.Facilities for visitors: Parking, toilet, ticket counter, children park, interpretation center, bus stay, rest-shed, cafetaria, rain shelter and souvenir centre.

Facts: The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single isolated population in Gujarat State. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small population size.

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