Thursday, December 24, 2015

Land of the lions in heart of London

Land of the lions in heart of London
AHMEDABAD: Londoners can now stay within a whisker of Gujarat's pride -Gir's Asiatic lions. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), as part of its international project to protect Asiatic lions in Gir, has created a mini Gir sanctuary in London Zoo with a lodging facility called the Gir Lion Lodge.
It needs mention that London Zoo has three Asiatic lions - Indi, Heidi and Rubi - which are the progeny of big cats sourced from Gir years ago. Two more lions from Gir will be sent to ZSL by March. Designed on the lines of Sasan Gir, the lodge is part of the 'Land of the Lions' project to be opened by ZSL in May 2016. Spread over 2500 sq mt, the exhibit includes lion enclosures that are a throwback to lion's original dwelling in Gir. A metre-gauge railway station outside the Gir sanctuary, local shopping streets and the famed man-lion harmony in Sasan's villages have been depicted in the highly realistic exhibit.
Emma Taylor, head of product development at ZSL, said the effort will give Londoners a chance to live with magnificent Asiatic lions roaring in the heart of London. "This will also fund our work for wildlife around the world," she said.

Interestingly, the lodge, bookings for which began this week, will remain open from May to December. Gir sanctuary in Gujarat ,which is home to 523 lions, remains closed from May to October due to rains.
Dr A P Singh, chief conservator of forest Junagadh, said, "The ZSL recently donated one lakh pounds towards the conservation of lions in Gujarat. The state forest department has agreed to give two more lions to ZSL to prevent inbreeding."

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