Tuesday, July 03, 2018

4 species added to recovery programme by Wildlife Board

02/07/2018

4 species added to recovery programme by Wildlife Board

Down The Earth

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/4-species-added-to-recovery-programme-by-wildlife-board-60997

 

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) recently added four species- the Northern River Terrapin, Clouded Leopard, Arabian Sea Humpback Whale, Red Panda- to a Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species on the recommendation of a Standing Committee.

 

The progamme is one of the three components of the centrally funded scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH).

 

Started in 2008-09, IDWH is meant for providing support to protected areas (national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation reserves and community reserves except tiger reserves), protection of wildlife outside protected areas and recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats.

 

So far, 17 species have been identified under the recovery programme. These are the Snow Leopard, Bustard (including Floricans), Dolphin, Hangul, Nilgiri Tahr, Marine Turtles, Dugongs, Edible Nest Swiftlet, Asian Wild Buffalo, Nicobar Megapode, Manipur Brow-antlered Deer, Vultures, Malabar Civet, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Lion, Swamp Deer and Jerdon's Courser.

 

Difficulties in recovery of Critically Endangered species

 

H S Singh member of the NBWL told the standing committee that the recovery of some of the Critically Endangered or Endangered fauna is a difficult task.

 

"Except few cases, most of the recovery activities are restricted to study/research and monitoring," he said. 

 

While important for conservation, the ground reality is another matter, says Singh. "The recovery plan for the Great Indian Bustard and Wild Buffalo (Central India Population) was discussed two years ago and plan was also sanction with financial allocation but it is yet to be grounded. Now, we have very less chance of recovery of these species. The planning should be done before a species reaches to a critical stage," he told the committee.

 

Wild Buffalo population increased in Chhattisgarh

 

Once found in abundance across northeast India, northern and central India, the Wild Buffalo now has its last bastions in some pockets in northeast India and Chhattisgarh. According to a survey by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), not more than 50 individuals of the Wild Buffalo remain in three sub-populations in Indravati National Park, Pamed and Udanti Wildlife Sanctuaries in Chhattisgarh.

 

According to the WTI, the number of wild buffalo in Udanti-Sitanadi Tiger Reserve, Chhattisgarh increased from 7 to 11 under the Central India Wild Buffalo Recovery Project, a joint venture between the state forest department and WTI.

 

Data from the Ministry of Environment and Forest shows that Chhattisgarh was given a total of Rs 210 lakh between 2012-13 and 2014-15 for wild buffalo recovery programme.



Lion found dead in Bhavnagar had come in contact with live wire: probe report

27/06/2018

Lion found dead in Bhavnagar had come in contact with live wire: probe report

The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/lion-found-dead-in-bhavnagar-had-come-in-contact-with-live-wire-probe-report-5235065/

 

The carcass of a male lion, aged 10 to 12 years, was found in the Shetrunji river in Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar district on June 6. At the time, the forest department did not reveal the cause of death and had said that the matter was being probed.

 

The Asiatic lion which was found dead in the Shetrunji riverbed in Bhavnagar district earlier this month died after coming in contact with a live electric wire in an agricultural field, an inquiry by the forest department has concluded.

 

The carcass of a male lion, aged 10 to 12 years, was found in the Shetrunji river in Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar district on June 6. At the time, the forest department did not reveal the cause of death and had said that the matter was being probed.

 

However, a forest official in Bhavnagar informed The Indian Express on Tuesday that the lion was electrocuted. "A panel of veterinarians of animal husbandry department and forest department conducted the post mortem and concluded that the lion was killed due to electric shock. Burn injury marks were also visible on the animal's body," the officer said.

 

According to the officer, the forest department had withheld the findings of the post mortem report in order to identify the accused.

 

"The lion was electrocuted after it accidentally touched a steel wire which was connected to an electricity source in order to prevent wild boars and blue bulls from raiding the standing crop. When the farmers came to know about the death of the lion, they dumped the carcass in the riverbed," the officer said.

 

Farmers in the area often erect such electric wires around their farms to prevent the entry of herbivores like wild boars and blue bulls or nilgais that often damage standing crop by raiding farms, especially at night

 

"We have already questioned a man who is a share-cropper on a nearby field. However, we suspect more than one persons were involved and efforts are on to identify them," the officer added.

 

"Lion population has increased with the tolerance the residents. But more and more lions are moving out of protected forest areas and settling into revenue land. This has increased man-animal conflict," said the officer.



Gujarat: 11 detained for illegally entering Gir forest

03/07/2018

Gujarat: 11 detained for illegally entering Gir forest

The Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-11-detained-for-illegally-entering-gir-forest-5243117/

 

The forest department on Sunday detained 11 persons for allegedly illegally entering the Babariya range of Gir (West) division forest in Gir Somnath district. According to forest officials, the incident took place at around 5 pm on Sunday, when during a routine patrolling, 11 men were spotted trekking in the jurisdiction of Thoradi, a revenue-cum-forest-settlement village.

 

"We detained and questioned them and concluded that they had inadvertently entered the protected forest area. They pleaded that they did not know that entering the area constituted an offence. Their offence was compounded and they were released," said Rajan Jadav, range forest officer (RFO) of Babariya range.

 

"They were a bunch of kids aged between 18 and 22. They were visiting a friend's place in Thoradi. They went out for a walk and entered the protected forest area," Jadav further said. The trespassing has been reported a month-and-a-half after seven men were arrested for luring Asiatic lions with chicken by entering the the same forest area. The forest department had arrested the seven men after videos of them harassing the lions went viral on social media.

 

The seven had allegedly organised a lion show which had also prompted the Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava and forest officers to visit Gir forest and assure the public that the endangered species were safe. Meanwhile, Jadav said the 11 were booked under Section 27 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act which deals with illegal entry in protected forest area. "Since the incident of Dhubak, we have turned Babariya range into a fortress and vigil is extremely high," he said, adding that they had not entered the forest for "staging a lion show".



18,000 wells still uncovered in Gir, govt tells HC

30/06/2018

18,000 wells still uncovered in Gir, govt tells HC

The Times Of India

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/18k-wells-still-uncovered-in-gir-govt-tells-hc/articleshow/64799752.cms

 

AHMEDABAD: Open wells have always posed a danger to the lions. In an affidavit submitted in the Gujarat high court the state government admitted that nearly 18,000 wells are yet to be covered in Gir, the last abode of Asiatic lions.

 

The government on Friday promised the HC that it will speed up the enclosing of open wells and fencing of a railway line in the protected Gir area by the end of 2019 so as to protect the lions and prevent their unnatural deaths.

 

Chief conservator of forests, wildlife circle, Junagadh, D T Vasavada, filed an affidavit giving details about the efforts taken to protect lions. The reply came in response to a PIL by the HC itself, after the state assembly was informed in March that 184 lion deaths had been recorded in the last two years, and many deaths were due to unnatural causes.

 

The government assured the HC, "The state government is alive to the situation and ensures that Asiatic lions, which survive only in the Gir landscape, being a national treasure, are well guarded and the species is well preserved under the aegis of the forest department."

 

Open wells have always posed a danger to lions. The forest department stated that it has already spent Rs 22.30 crore on enclosing 32,559 open wells, of the 50,517 such wells in Gir. The government gives farmers assistance of Rs 8,000 to Rs 16,000 for this. The remaining 17,958 open wells will be covered by the end of 2019, the department said.

 

The affidavit also stated that of the 86.8km Surendranagar-Pipavav railway track which passes through the protected area, 81.6km has been fenced off at a cost of Rs 38.89 crore. The remaining 5.2km of track in Amreli district will be fenced off in the next six months.

 

Interestingly, the HC in its PIL raised grave concerns about fences along the railway track, on the ground that it would blockade the lions' natural corridor. It suggested installing devices in locomotives that could detect the presence of lions' near the tracks.

 

On lion deaths by electrocution, the officer told the HC that a state committee has made recommendations to prevent unnatural deaths. Joint patrols of forest officials and officials of Paschim Gujarat Vij Co Ltd are carried out in several villages to identify electrified fences. The affidavit also stated that only two such lion deaths were reported in the last two years and action has been taken by the forest department in this case.

 

No plan to further restrict traffic on state highways

 

The forest department is not mulling further curbs on traffic on the six highways that pass through the forest. It said that four roads are completely closed at night because lion movements peak in the dark. State highways No. 26 and No. 98 witness minimal lion movement, so entry/exit points on these roads in the protected area are monitored. All vehicular movement is recorded.


Two more lion safari parks to be opened by March ’19

30/06/2018

Two more lion safari parks to be opened by March '19

The Times Of India

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/two-more-lion-safari-parks-to-be-opened-by-march-19/articleshow/64798196.cms

 

Junagadh: Next year onwards there would be much more than just booze in your vacation to Diu! Just about 40 km on the way to Gujarat's favourite watering hole and vacation destination, tourists will get to see Asiatic lions from a close distance.

 

The forest department is planning to develop two more safari parks — one in Chikhalkuba near Diu and another in Chorvadala near Sihore in Bhavnagar district. The new safari parks are being planned considering the spread of this endangered species out of the protected areas of Gir National Park and Sanctuary.

 

At present, visitors can watch lions in Devalia Interpretation Zone besides Gir jungle trail in Sasan. The safari park in Chorwadala will not only have lions, but also other wildlife like black bucks, leopards and spotted deer. Currently, nearly 5 lakh tourists visit Sasan and Devalia park every year and two new options could reduce the load in these parks.

 

To reach Chikhalkuba, one has travel 15 km inside from the main road, leading to Diu via Una in Gir Somnath district. The department had floated the idea of Chikhalkuba Safari Park in 2014, but the project was stalled due to some litigations. The department has revived the plan and aims to complete it by March 2019. The safari parks are also aimed at curbing the flourishing illegal lion show business, which has embarrassed the state government.

 

Chief conservator of forest (CCF), wildlife circle, D T Vasavada told TOI: "We have got an in-principle approval for Chikhalkuba park and even constructed an interpretation zone. We will take a legal opinion and if required, high court's permission to develop it by March 2019. This will also ease the burden on Sasan."

 

Chikhalkuba will be developed on the lines of Sasan, where tourists will be issued the online permits and allowed to go inside only in a gypsy with the forest department team member. The safari park in Chorvadala village will be developed on the lines of Ambardi and Devalia parks. This park will be developed in more than 100 hectares area that will be fenced.

 

Chief conservator of forest, Junagadh circle, S K Mehta said, "We have the project report ready and received an in-principle go ahead. We have sent requisition for revenue land for this project and as soon we get it, we will start the work."


CITY’S AIRPORT TO GET A FACELIFT AHEAD OF VGS 19

27/06/2018

CITY'S AIRPORT TO GET A FACELIFT AHEAD OF VGS 19

Ahmedabad

https://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/others/citys-airport-to-get-a-facelift-ahead-of-vgs-19/articleshow/64754963.cms

 

Visitors to the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in January 2019 may get to see the Ahmedabad airport in an entirely different avatar. According to those in the know of things, the international and domestic terminals are set to get a major facelift.

 

As part of the airport beautification project, Ahmedabad Airport Authority (AAA) has planned to significantly increasing the green cover inside and around both the airports. This will also include getting imported plants to give a rich feel to the airport.

 

Major focus of the project is on improving cleanliness and hygiene on campus. AAA will spend approximately Rs3 crore on state-of-the-art 'mechanised environmental support service system' which will help keep the airport clean.

 

Talking to Mirror, Parimal Nathwani, group president (Corporate Affairs) at Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) which is part of the project, said, "We have been maintaining Ahmedabad airport premises for a few years. We wish to beautify the airport area by increasing the green cover. We are also planning to import plants from abroad."

 

Nathwani added they plan to install a stone structure with the words 'I Love Ahmedabad Airport' sculpted on it, with a miniature plane hanging beside it. This structure will be 100-feet-long and eight-feet-high, he added.

 

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He hinted that the work was likely to be completed before the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. Airport director Manoj Gangal said, "Apart from the beautification project, we will also develop business lounge and restaurants." Emphasising on the need for better amenities, Manish Sharma, MD of Akshar Travels, said, "Lack of facilities like business lounge and unclean toilets can give a wrong impression to the tourists. The authorities must take it on priority."

 

Gir at SVPI Airport

 

Air travellers visiting the Ahmedabad airport can now catch a glimpse of Sasan Gir, the only abode of the Asiatic lion in the world, through a replica installed at the domestic terminal. The AAI has developed the 11,000 sq feet open-to-sky area at the domestic terminal of the airport with lifesize replicas of lions, leopards, black bucks, eagles, and few other animals that are found in the Sasan Gir forest.

 

The project was inaugurated by Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani and Lok Sabha MP Paresh Rawal in presence of airport director Manoj Gangal. "The Gir has been developed with an objective to offer glimpse of Sasan Gir to tourists," said Nathwani, also the group president (corporate affairs) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) which has conceptualised the project.

 

Raval added an 'Aviation Museum' would be developed at the airport which would showcase its history .


Aviation museum likely to come up at Ahmedabad airport

27/06/2018

Aviation museum likely to come up at Ahmedabad airport

DNA

http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-aviation-museum-likely-to-come-up-at-ahmedabad-airport-2629825

 

There's a new attraction at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport – a replica of the Sasan Gir park located near the baggage belts. Flyers can now catch a glimpse of replicas of lions, leopards, deer, eagles and few other animals that are found in the national park and can even hear their calls. Airport officials are also planning to set up an aviation museum at the airport.

 

Paresh Rawal, Lok Sabha MP, present at the inauguration of the recreational park on Tuesday, said, "The display will benefit tourists and will also provide information to people. This is probably for the first time that a special attraction of any state has been so beautifully displayed at the airport. Since JRD Tata had landed his first flight at Ahmedabad, we would like to set up an aviation museum here at the airport. Flyers can pass their time constructively with these attractions."

 

Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani, who is also the group president (corporate affairs) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) said, "This is the age of marketing. Our Prime Minister had brought Amitabh Bachchan to campaign for Gujarat tourism. And hence, I feel that we can market our Gir sanctuary from the airport to spread awareness. Many people do not even know whether Gir has lions or tigers."



Gir zone opens at airport, lions roar welcome

27/06/2018

Gir zone opens at airport, lions roar welcome

The Times Of India

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gir-zone-opens-at-airport-lions-roar-welcome/articleshow/64755201.cms

 

AHMEDABAD: Flyers who land in Ahmedabad will now be welcomed at the domestic terminal by the royal roar of Gujarat's pride. The terminal offers a glimpse of Asiatic lions of Sasan Gir, their only abode in the world. A replica of Gir forest has been conceptualised by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

 

Airports Authority of India (AAI) has allotted an 11,000 sq feet area between the arrival and departure terminals. This forest zone features lifesize replicas of lions, black bucks, eagles, leopards, and few other animals that are found in Gir.

 

"Apart from the objective of giving a glimpse of the Gir forests, the replicas are a marketing tool and can facilitate mass awareness," said Parimal Nathwani, Rajya Sabha member and group president (corporate affairs), RIL. Nathwani inaugurated the forest zone called 'The Gir'on Tuesday. Accompaning him was Lok Sabha MP and actor Paresh Rawal. "Ahmedabad airport is likely to house an aviation museum in future," Rawal said. "J R D Tata, considered the father of civil aviation in India, made the country's maiden voyage from Juhu airport to Drigh airstrip, Karachi, via Ahmedabad in October 1932."

 

On the Gir exhibit, Rawal said: "Instead of whiling away time in the waiting lounge, passengers can spend some time at this interactive exhibit." He said it is probably for the first time that a special attraction belonging to any state has been displayed at an airport.


Tourists can now 'feel' Gir lion at Ahmedabad airport

26/06/2018

Tourists can now 'feel' Gir lion at Ahmedabad airport

Business Standerd

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/tourists-can-now-feel-gir-lion-at-ahmedabad-airport-118062600837_1.html

 

Air travellers visiting the Ahmedabad airport could now catch a glimpse of Gujarat's famous Sasan Gir, the only abode of the Asiatic lion in the world, through a replica installed at the domestic terminal.

 

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed the 11,000 sq feet open-to-sky area at the domestic terminal of the airport with lifesize replicas of lions, leopards, black bucks, eagles, and few other animals that are found in the Sasan Gir forest.

 

The project has been conceptualised by the RIL.

 

'The Gir' has been developed with an objective to offer glimpse of the only habitat of the Asiatic lion to the tourists visiting Ahmedabad, said Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani, who is also the group president (corporate affairs) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

 

Nathwani inaugurated 'The Gir' along with Lok Sabha MP Paresh Rawal.

 

"The exhibit will showcase the wonders of the Gir forest, especially to the people from Gujarat and other states and countries who might have heard of it but never visited it," he said.

 

An interactive device has also been placed at the airport's arrival lounge that creates actual roar of lions and sound of other animals.

 

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Rawal said, "The display will benefit tourists and will also provide information to people. This is probably for the first time that a special attraction of any state has been so beautifully displayed at the airport".

 


GJ-AIRPORT-GIR (BES20)

26/06/2018

GJ-AIRPORT-GIR (BES20)

India Today

https://www.indiatoday.in/pti-feed/story/gj-airport-gir-bes20-1270355-2018-06-26

 

Tourists can now 'feel' Gir lion at Ahmedabad airport

 

Ahmedabad, June 26 (PTI) Air travellers visiting the Ahmedabad airport could now catch a glimpse of Gujarat's famous Sasan Gir, the only abode of the Asiatic lion in the world, through a replica installed at the domestic terminal.

 

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed the 11,000 sq feet open-to-sky area at the domestic terminal of the airport with lifesize replicas of lions, leopards, black bucks, eagles, and few other animals that are found in the Sasan Gir forest.

 

The project has been conceptualised by the RIL.

 

'The Gir' has been developed with an objective to offer glimpse of the only habitat of the Asiatic lion to the tourists visiting Ahmedabad, said Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani, who is also the group president (corporate affairs) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

 

Nathwani inaugurated 'The Gir' along with Lok Sabha MP Paresh Rawal.

 

"The exhibit will showcase the wonders of the Gir forest, especially to the people from Gujarat and other states and countries who might have heard of it but never visited it," he said.

 

An interactive device has also been placed at the airport's arrival lounge that creates actual roar of lions and sound of other animals.

 

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Rawal said, "The display will benefit tourists and will also provide information to people. This is probably for the first time that a special attraction of any state has been so beautifully displayed at the airport". PTI KA PD NSK NSK NSK RDS RDS RDS



Beautiful! Ahmedabad airport gets lifesize replicas of Gir lions, leopards and black bucks

26/06/2018

Beautiful! Ahmedabad airport gets lifesize replicas of Gir lions, leopards and black bucks

Financial Express

https://www.financialexpress.com/infrastructure/airlines-aviation/beautiful-ahmedabad-airport-gets-lifesize-replicas-of-gir-lions-leopards-and-black-bucks/1221315/

 

Air travelers visiting the Ahmedabad airport could now catch a glimpse of Gujarat's famous Sasan Gir, the only abode of the Asiatic lion in the world, through a replica installed at the domestic terminal.

 

Air travelers visiting the Ahmedabad airport could now catch a glimpse of Gujarat's famous Sasan Gir, the only abode of the Asiatic lion in the world, through a replica installed at the domestic terminal. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed the 11,000 sq feet open-to-sky area at the domestic terminal of the airport with lifesize replicas of lions, leopards, black bucks, eagles, and few other animals that are found in the Sasan Gir forest.

 

The project has been conceptualised by the RIL. 'The Gir' has been developed with an objective to offer a glimpse of the only habitat of the Asiatic lion to the tourists visiting Ahmedabad, said Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani, who is also the group president (corporate affairs) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

 

Nathwani inaugurated 'The Gir' along with Lok Sabha MP Paresh Rawal. "The exhibit will showcase the wonders of the Gir forest, especially to the people from Gujarat and other states and countries who might have heard of it but never visited it," he said. An interactive device has also been placed at the airport's arrival lounge that creates an actual roar of lions and sound of other animals.

 

Talking to reporters on the occasion, Rawal said, "The display will benefit tourists and will also provide information to people. This is probably for the first time that a special attraction of any state has been so beautifully displayed at the airport".



Is Gujarat Govt’s Action Plan for Lion Conservation Enough?

21/06/2018

Is Gujarat Govt's Action Plan for Lion Conservation Enough?

The Quint

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/gujarat-jumps-to-action-after-criticism-of-conservation-methods-fire-from-all-corners

 

When a video of locals harassing a lioness with a bait in the unprotected areas of Sasan at Gujarat's Gir went viral recently, social media lit up with outrage.

The Gujarat High Court had already pulled up the state government in March over poor measures to save Asiatic Lions – the pride of Gujarat, and of India – after reports of 184 deaths recorded between 2016 and 2017 were made public.

 

As many as 32 had perished due to unnatural causes, such as lions falling into open wells, electrocution by barbed wires, and road and rail accidents. The PIL is still being heard in the HC.

 

As the backlash of the viral video rattled the state government, they pulled out an "affirmative action" plan to silence their critics.

 

Confining Excess lion Population Within Gujarat

 

There are over 523 lions living in Gujarat as per the 2015 census. Three years on, the number could be well over 600, according to some wildlife experts. One of the major issues that the lion conservation movement in Gujarat faces, is that around 54.6 percent lions live outside the protected areas of the wildlife sanctuary.

 

As a result, lion and human interactions are at an all-time high, with videos of locals riding bikes in the lions' vicinity or tourists chasing them around in vehicles disturbing the feline's ecology making it to social media frequently.

 

One of the solutions that conservationists swear by is translocation of lions to new territory outside Gujarat.

 

Gujarat Not Keen on Inter-State Translocation?

 

Five years on, the Gujarat government claims that lions will be translocated, but under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines. These guidelines state that 33 studies need to be conducted before translocation is undertaken.

 

When The Quint asked the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest GK Sinha by when the translocation process will be completed, he passed the buck on to the Centre, and said only they will be able to reply.

 

Now, the state government is keen on moving lions to newer sanctuaries within the state.

 

By when? He did not respond.

 

Onus of Translocation Lies on Govt: Conservationist

 

Ravi Chellam, who is a member of an expert committee formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC) based on the SC Order to implement translocation pointedly said it is the complete unwillingness of the governments to deal with the complexity and urgency of the problem.

 

The Quint Spoke to Madhya Pradesh-based wildlife activists Ajay Shankar Dubey who had filed the contempt Petition in Supreme Court in 2014. "If they want to translocate lions within the state, why has that step not been taken, what has stopped the Gujarat government so far? Do we respect the SC order or not? Because it was supposed to be implemented in six months' time after the order was issued, and now five years down the line, and we are still talking about translocation," he added.



CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL LION SHOWS IN GIR

12/06/2018

CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL LION SHOWS IN GIR

The Pioneer

http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/crackdown-on-illegal-lion-shows-in-gir.html

 

In order to completely stop illegal lion shows in and around Gir Sanctuary and National Park — the only abode of Asiatic Lions in the world, Gujarat Government has decided to involve Special Operation Group (SOG) of the State police force.

 

The decision of SOG's involvement was taken after the visit of Gujarat's Environment and Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava to Gir Sanctuary in view of ongoing controversy over illegal lion shows in Gir area.

 

On his visit Vasava also held high level meeting of police, revenue and forest to address the issue of illegal lion shows. During the meeting it was also decided to make it mandatory to put sign boards related to ban on private lion shows near the receptions of hotels in Gir area.  The Minister has also instructed to put barriers on the approach roads leading to Gir forest in coordination with revenue department.

 

The state forest department has appointed over 300 Vanya Prani Mitro (friends of wild animals) for the purpose of lion conservation and paying Rs 1000 to each of them every month. Now it has been decided to double the amount to encourage them to enhance vigil on those who are involved in arrangement of illegal lion shows. These friends of wild animals are serving in nearly 300 villages near the Gir Sanctuary.

 

At present 90 Gypsy cars (Each having maximum capacity of six tourists) are allowed to enter inside the Gir Sanctuary except Saturdays and Sundays. On week-ends the limit is 150 Gypsy cars. However in the meeting it has been decided to increase daily permits so that more number of tourists can be accommodated and automatically they would not go for illegal lion shows.

 

More over it was also decided to increase involvement of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to create awareness about lion conservation and other environment related issues pertaining to Gir forest.

 

It is worth mentioning that in the last lion census conducted in the year 2015, total 523 Asiatic Lions were reported. For the purpose 252 sq km area of Gir National Park, 1153 sq km of Gir Sanctuary, 39 sq km of Mitiyala Sanctuary, 19 km of Pania Sanctuary and 480 sq km of protected forest surrounding Mount Girnar covered apart from  over 20,000 sq km of revenue areas where lions are straying. The census covered over 1500 revenue villages in eight districts including Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Botad, Bhavnagar, Porbandar, Jamnagar and Rajkot based on the visitation records including the occasional visits of lions in newer areas.

 

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put Asiatic Lion in endangered category.


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