Tuesday, October 02, 2018

All big cats died naturally: Guj forest dept


All big cats died naturally: Guj forest dept

The pioneer


Amid lots of hue and cry over the deaths of 11 lions in the Gir Forest — the last abode of Asiatic Lions situated in western Gujarat, the State forest department claimed that the deaths of big cats were natural and not a single death occurred due to viral infection or other disease.

Many eye-brows have been raised following deaths of lions in Dalkhania and Jashadhar ranges situated in eastern part of Gir Forest. During 12th to 19th September as many as 11 lions died due to infighting and territorial war, confirms GK Sinha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) and Head of Forest Force in Gujarat.

Reasons including aging, disease, injury, weakness and infighting for capturing territory are considered as natural in the case of lion's death. Hence the State forest department is considering these deaths of Asiatic Lions as natural. Despite the fact, 11 deaths within a span of eight days would be alarming for the state forest department considering that International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the Asiatic Lions (Panthera leo persica) as endangered due to its small numbers and area of occupancy.

"Basically lion is a territorial animal and stay within its pride. As a result of it whenever the leader of a pride becomes weak, mostly due to aging, strong lions from neighbouring prides try to take his place and attack on the weak lion and his progenies. In such attacks, stronger lion not only kills the weaker one but his cubs also," said the PCCF.

Of the 11 lions died due to territorial war, there were six cubs, two lionesses and three matured lions. As on Friday autopsy reports of eight lions have come and prima facie the experts are of the opinion that all eight big cats died of infighting. Post Mortem reports of remaining three Asiatic Lions are awaited, but mostly the cause of the death likely to be the same.

With a view to curb more deaths of lions due to infighting, the State forest department has shifted five mature lions from Dalkhania and Jashadhar ranges to other places in Gir forest. According to Sinha, deaths of lions due to territorial war were considered as natural phenomena and such incidences are occurring time to time. However, such high death toll within a short span due to infighting was alarming, he adds.

Generally, in one lion's territory up to three lionesses reside and after mating season each lioness would give birth up to four cubs. Gestation period of lioness is around 110 days and in normal circumstances lioness become pregnant after an interval of 20 to 24 months. Of the total newly born lion cubs, only 25 to 30 per cent reach to maturity, while 70 to 75 per cent die due to some or other natural and unnatural reasons. 

As per the last census of Asiatic Lions in the eight districts of Saurashtra region, 523 big cats were reported that including 109 mature male, 201 female, 73 sub-adults and 14o cubs (below one year). On and average every year 210 lion cubs born in Gujarat and of these nearly 140 die by the time they reach up to the age of three years. Hardly 70 of them are surviving and reach to maturity. During the year 2017-18 as many as 69 lions died in Gujarat. Of these 51 died due to natural reasons and 18 due to unnatural reasons including accidents, electrocution and other causes.

Artificial insemination can help breed healthier lions - scientists


Artificial insemination can help breed healthier lions - scientists



A step towards tackling inbreeding is being celebrated by scientists‚ who have successfully used artificial insemination on a lioness in the North West.

The lioness‚ at the Ukutula Conservation Center and Biobank‚ has given birth to two cubs conceived via non-surgical artificial insemination (AI)‚ using fresh semen collected from an adult male lion at the same facility. These are the first lion cubs to be born by means of artificial insemination‚ according to a team of scientists from the University of Pretoria (UP)‚ who are studying the reproductive physiology of the female African lion.

The development of artificial insemination protocols for this species could be used as a baseline for other endangered large wild felids‚ the team said in a statement.

Explaining the need for these protocols‚ the team said: "Although African lions normally breed quite well in captivity‚ the wild population is highly fragmented and suffers progressively from isolation and inbreeding. Indiscriminate killing and prosecution‚ habitat loss and prey depletion‚ epidemic diseases‚ poaching‚ and trophy hunting threaten the extinction of these existing wild populations."

In just two years‚ the African lion population is estimated to have decreased from about 25‚000 (in 2016)‚ to 18‚000 in 2018. A decline of more than 60% has been noted over the last 25 years.

The African lion is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species‚ with the West African lion subpopulation considered critically endangered. The Asiatic lion is also considered endangered in the wild.

According to Dr Isabel Callealta‚ a qualified veterinarian from Spain and PhD candidate at UP‚ the team now has novel data for the African lion's reproduction physiology.

"This‚ together with the success of the AI births of the lion cubs‚ not only celebrates a world first achievement‚ but has laid the foundation for effective non-surgical AI protocols for this species‚ using both fresh and frozen-thawed sperm‚" said Callealta.

According to the researchers‚ the application of these new techniques could provide a faster and broader diversification and distribution of the genetics‚ and a reduction of disease transmission.

The owner of Ukutula‚ Willi Jacobs‚ said: "There can be little doubt that wildlife conservation through education and ethical scientific research is the most suitable‚ long-term solution for our planet's conservation challenges and dwindling wildlife populations."

Kuno Palpur Sanctuary area to be extended by 413 sq km


Kuno Palpur Sanctuary area to be extended by 413 sq km

The Hitavada – The People's Paper


By Ankita Garg,

If the proposal sent by wildlife wing of Forest Department sees the day light then Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary will be preparing to extend its limits. The proposal sent by Wildlife Wing envisages extension of sanctuary by another 413 square kilometres.

This will not only increase the area of Kuno Palpur Sanctuary but will also make it fit to stake claim for national park status as well. Moreover, if its area is increased then it will be also fulfilling the condition of Gujarat government for translocation of its world famous Asiatic Lions.

After extension of its area, Kuno Palpur Sanctuary, which has been developed for translocation of Asiatic Lion, will spread over 1,288 sq km of area. There is proposal to de-notify the 202 sq km area of Karera Wildlife Sanctuary under district Shivpuri and 80 sq km of area of Ghatigaon Sonchidiya Sanctuary under Gwalior.

After de notification of both areas, Government would add them into Kuno Palpur Sanctuary.

Karera Wildlife Sanctuary was established in year 1981 to protect the population of Great Indian Bustard in the area. Now the area is being notified by Government due to protest by the local people and extinction of the Great Indian Bustard bird locally.

"We proposed Government to extend the area of Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary by another 413 sq km and also provide it status of National Park. Sanctuary has been developed for translocation of Asiatic lion project which is pending from over the years," said Alok Kumar, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (APCCF).

Talking to 'The Hitavada, he said the biggest condition set by Gujarat government was to extend the area of Kuno Palpur sanctuary for translocation of Asiatic Lions and if the area of sanctuary is increased by another 413 sq km then automatically, Gujarat demand would get fulfilled. At present, Kuno Palpur Sanctuary is spread over 345 sq km of area and now proposal has been come up to add another 413 sq km area into it. If sanctuary gets national park status then this 413 km of area will be developed as core area and 530 sq km of additional area will be buffer zone. He said that at present Asiatic lion is only in Gir National Park of Gujarat. In year 1991, proposal came up to translocate few Asiatic Lion in Madhya Pradesh to save the endangered species from extinction.

Madhya Pradesh Government selected Kuno Palpur area for the project and started preparing the jungles of Kuno Palpur Sanctuary. In year 2003, State Government staked claim for translocation of Asiatic lions from Gujarat by saying that Kuno Palpur sanctuary is ready in this regard. However, Gujarat Government had certain objections over the issue and still issue pertaining to translocation of Asiatic lions which is in doldrums.

He said after getting final nod in Cabinet meeting, proposal will be sent to the Central Forest, Environment and Climate Change Ministry. The proposal will also be presented before National Wildlife Board for final nod.


Monday, October 01, 2018

Gujarat: Lion cub barges into house in Junagadh village, ransacks household goods; injures woman


Gujarat: Lion cub barges into house in Junagadh village, ransacks household goods; injures woman

The Times Of India



RAJKOT: A female lion cub barged into a house in Khambhalia village of Malia Hatina taluka in Junagadh district of Gujarat after killing four cows. The wild cat injured a woman and created the mess inside the house.

Later, the forest team rescued the lioness after hours of struggle.

According to the forest department, the cub, aged two years, barged into the house of Punabhai Nandania around 3am in the morning after killing four cows and injured his wife who has been shifted to Chorvad hospital. The cub also ransacked the house.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) Junagadh Sunil Berwal said, "As the lion entered the house, people locked the house from outside and informed the forest department. Our team was already patrolling and immediately rushed to the village. The team tranquilized the wild cat and rescued it."

The lioness was then caged and taken to the Sasan Animal Care Centre. According to forest department, the animal will be released after some treatment.

lion injures woman: Gujarat: Lion cub barges into house in Junagadh village, ransacks household goods; injures woman | Rajkot News - Times of India

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