Thursday, December 14, 2006

A body of dead Asiatic lion found in Dedakdi range of Gir

Source: Divya Bhaskar, Gujarat Daily, Rajkot Edition Dtd. 8-12-2006


A dead body of lion was found in Dedakdi range of Gir (West) forest. As per Shri Shukal, DFO, Gir(W), a dead body of 3 year old male lion was found by the patrol guard around 6.30 PM near Hardadwa dhola area  in Dedakadi range in Gir(W). On being informed higher official rushed to the place. Necessary legal formalities were done and postmortem was carried out next day with a conclusion of natural death. It is to be noted that last year a large number of lions had died in Gir. With death of one more lion, wild lifer were shocked.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Asiatic Lion Cub falls into well; Rescued

Source: Times of India, Ahmedabad Edition Dtd. 13-12-2006


Forest Department officials rescued a lion cub from a farm well after the owner of the farm Bhimjibhai Kumbhar informed them about the lion cub on Monday. The well had no parapet wall. The incident occurred near Jambuda village, 25km from Gir Sanctuary. Conservator of forest Bharat Pathak said officials successfully rescued the cub after a short while. The lion had fallend into a well at Patala village of Dhari Taluka on December 8, 2006.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Increased Traffic upsets Gir's (Asiatic Lion's) Delicate Balance

Source: Times of India Ahmedabad Edition Dtd. 9-12-2006 By: Rajiv Shah


Gandhinagar: The Gujarat Government has finally acknowledged that the Gir WLS, the only home to the Asiatic Lion, is facing a major problem of human interference.


An internal report based on a recent State Wildlife Board Meeting, has said that the "steady flow of traffic along the Dhari-Una road passing through the sanctuary has risen over the years disturbing wildlife."


Pointing out that the Union Territory of Diu on the Saurashtra Coast is a hugely popular tourist spot due, the report says, to reach the destination, the people, “people are inspired to take the Dhari-Una road passing through the Gir Forest and Tulsishyam so that wildlife sightings can also be done.


IT adds, “The records maintained by the forest department show that four lakh people and one lakh vehicles pass this road per year in either direction.”


The report proposes to develop an interpretation centre for Rs.5 crore at Ambardi, in the midst of the sanctuary, but does not say how to stop people from passing through the Dhari-Una road, on which the Tulsishyam temple is situated. It is also silent on the Kankai temple, situated in the midst of the dense forest in Gir Protected Area, where nearly 600 people lunch on the weekdays.


A state transport bus and tens of diesel-run cars and jeeps which are banned, reach Kankai, where there is a dharmashala, goes up manifold on week ends and Sundays.

The Asiatic Lion roar in Gir; Rs 60-cr project to conserve lions

State mulls setting up 3 gene pools, new habitats to help breed more of the endangered Asiatic lion

Ahmedabad, December 6: It’s some roaring good news for animal lovers worried about the endangered Asiatic lion. The State Forest Department has mooted a Rs 60-crore project under which it proposes to set up gene pools to conserve the genetic diversity of Asiatic lions of Gir forest and its surrounding areas. A detailed project proposal was sent to the government on Wednesday.

The department has requested the government to include the proposal in next year’s budget and has plans to implement this proposed Rs 60-crore lion conservation project in the next five years, which also includes creating new areas for the habitation of big cats. At a recent meeting of the State Wildlife Advisory Board held in Gandhinagar, Chief Minister Narendra Modi had suggested setting up such gene pools for the conservation of Asiatic lions.

Confirming this, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Pradeep Khanna told Newsline that his department proposed to set up at least three gene pools or banks— one each in Junagadh, Bhavnagar and Rajkot districts — for which separate funds would be earmarked and special technical staff recruited.

Khanna said that under the proposed project, about 30 lions and lionesses would be picked up from the Gir National Park and Sanctuary and kept in semi-captive condition at these three places where efforts would be made to conserve their genes through breeding. Not only this, new habitation areas for Asiatic lions will be created in the eastern region of Gir, including Jessar, Palitana and Mahuva under the conservation project.

“The Asiatic lion found only in Gir is an endangered species. And the concept of setting up such pools or banks will not only help us conserve the genetic diversity of rare big cats, but also maintain their population when their number further shoots up in future,” the Wildlife official said, adding that the population of Gir lions is at present 359.

A member of the National Wildlife Board G A Patel said such gene pools, when set up, would help maintain the population of Gir lions in case their population was threatened by an epidemic like situation in future. In fact, the Hyderabad-based Centre for Chromosome Molecular Biology (CCMB) is already carrying out detailed analysis of genes of endangered species like tigers and lions, and Gujarat could seek the help of CCMB experts in setting up gene pools to preserve the Asiatic lion’s progeny, said Patel who recently retired as the State Chief Wildlife Warden.


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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lion safari in Jaipur on the anvil

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rajasthan is to begin work on a much-awaited lion safari at the Nahargarh biological park here.

The Central Zoo Authority has approved the layout of the safari, officials said. The state government has sought Rs.3 million for the project from the central government. The proposed safari is to be developed on 36 acres of land.

The plan includes construction of five dens, specially designed to give natural ambience to the lions. The dens would provide respite to the lions from extreme climatic conditions.

Two watchtowers would be constructed to monitor the activities of the lions. Initially, the safari would start by bringing in 10 lions from the Gir forest and the Jaipur zoo.

Visitors would be taken on safari in closed jeeps, he added. They would be able to see everything except the lions hunting their prey.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Asiatic Lioness dies due to Snake Bite

Courtesy: Amit Jethwa
During last week a lioness deadbody found in Jamwala range of Gir National Park. Post mortam was conducted by 3 Vaternary Officers panel and cause of death declared as snake bite. Lioness was young and age around 6 years.detailed inquiry of this case is demanded by Gir Nature Club.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Employees mourn old Asiatic Lion's death at Gwalior Zoo

Gwalior, Nov.27 (ANI): The death of an old lion in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior Zoo has cast a pall of gloom on the officials as it was the second death here within a week.
Most of the employees believe that the 16-year-old lion Raja died due to old age but they are awaiting the post mortem report to ascertain the actual cause of the death.
The fact that a four-horned antelope also died three days earlier has aggravated the tension.
According to Narendra Sharma, a zoo official, the lion had stopped eating and passed away before the veterinary doctors could attend to him.
"The exact reason behind the death will be known after the PM (Post Mortem) reports. He was 16 years old. He did not eat food Friday night. Though, we called doctors but he died before anything could be done," Sharma said.
Gwalior Zoo, has some species of Indian wildlife kept in natural surroundings. It has become a conservation zoo for Satpura National Park in Madhya Pradesh.
Asiatic lions are found only in India and, at present, there are about 300 of them in the Gir national park in Gujarat.
Unlike the tiger, which prefers dense forests with adequate cover, the lion inhabits the scrub-type deciduous forests and open habitats.
In the mid-20th century their number was less than 15, as the Maharajas and princes for whom the majestic animal was the most coveted game vigorously hunted them.
The population stabilised after a breeding programme was launched in the Gir sanctuary in the 1960s. (ANI)

SC green singal for Lion Safari in UP

The Supreme Court on Monday gave a green signal to the Uttar Pradesh Government to set up a Lion Safari Park in an area of 150 hectare in Fischer Forests in Etawah district of the state for conservation of Asiatic Lions.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal granted the permission for setting up of the Lion Safari on the basis of an affidavit filed by the Chief Conservator of Forests which said that the Central Zoo Authority had already approved the plan on January 23, 2006.
The court, however, emphasised that the state government would adhere to the conditions imposed by the Central Zoo Authority and abide by all statutory norms in this regard.
The apex court’s permission was necessary in view of its November 27, 2000 order that no State Government or Union Territory shall set up a new zoo without getting clearance from the Central Zoo Authority and orders from it.
According to the Uttar Pradesh Government, the proposed Lion Safari would play a major role in conservation of the Asiatic Lions who were facing a serious threat to their survival.
Apart from the in-situ conservation in its present home range or in any other alternate home range that might have been conceived by the Centre, the proposed Lion Safari would play a major role in ex-situ conservation of Asiatic Lions too, the UP Government said.
It also submitted that the proposed Lion Safari would help educate people about wildlife protection and conservation.
There are not more than 50 Asiatic Lions in captivity outside Gujarat, which is considered to be the home state of the endangered animal.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Asiatic Lion gets first safari outside Gir

Source: Times of India News Paper Ahmedabad edition Dtd. 26-11-2006
Dhari (Amreli): The wandering lions of the Gir are making the Gujarat Govt. draw plans for a second safari outside the protected Gir sancturay. The officials have identifieed Ambarwadi near Dhari, about 70 Kms from the original sanctuary. This would, in effect, be the first safari outside the Gir sanctuary.
Given that a large population of these wild cats already drifted away from Gir and made the new site their home, officials said many tourists have already started visiting Dhari to see Asiatic Lions, even as it is yet to be given the safari status. Nearly 80,000 people visit Gir every year. Thanks to the good amount of rains received this year, the forest department is expecting about one lakh tourist this year.
Forest officials added that the new site - with Shetrunji river passing and Khodiyar Dam being in vicinity - is ideal for a safari. Besides it will also attract tourists who are on their way to Diu and Tulsishyam, as the new sarari site falls on the way to Diu. Earlier, tourists coming from Ahmedabad, wanting to visit Diu and Gir, would have to take a special detour through Junagadh.
Principal chief conservator of forest (Wildlife) Pradeep Khanna sai, "The sarari would be more of an interpretation centre, where research will also be conducted." The state wildlife board has cleared the proposal and sent it to the central govt. for the final nod.
Conservator of forest, Gir Bharat Pathak said, "The proposed safari park is ideal, as more people want to know about the Asiatic Lions today." He added that the park would be on the lines of the Devaliya in Gir. Apart from Asiatic Lions, information will also be provided on the range of birds spotted in the area.
The new safari will also help in sensitising the local populace about the big cats. There have been number of instances of man-animal conflict given that the lion is a comparatively new migrant here.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Asiatic Lion enters the territory of Mota Dadwa village of Gondal Taluka

Source: Translation of Gujarati local news paper GUJARAT SAMACHAR Dt.26-11-2006


A lion was seen in farm houses of village of Mota Dadwa which is 27 Kms. away from Gondal. This has scarred local villagers. Yesterday this lion killed a cow in farm of Hamir Aalabhai and then through out the night kept roaring.


As per further details available, it was heard since three days that there is a lion nearby Dadwa village. Then this was confirmed as lion killed was seen and had killed a calf in the farm. Throughout the night this lion was moving in and around cotton fields and due to its loud roars villagers were scared and were awake whole night. Labours working in all the farms left their jobs incomplete and went away. Local authorities are being informed about the incidence.


Kishore Kotecha’s Note:

Although this incidence looks normal I have given it here because the place referred to i.e. Mota Dadwa village is very far from Gir forest. This is for the first time in last many decades that lion has strayed this far from its original home in Gir forest.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Gir East to be developed for tourism

Source: Sibte Husain Bukhari. ‘State plans for tourists: a roaring time at Gir East’, The Indian Express, 23/10/06.

Contact: Bharat Pathak, CF (Wildlife) Junagadh, Sardar Bag, Junagadh, Gujarat. Tel: 0285 - 631678/ 630051. Fax: 631211


The Gujarat State Board for Wildlife has recommended the development of tourism facilities in Gir East division to ease the tourist pressure at Sasan. It has been decided to set up an interpretation zone in Aambaradi Reserved Forest near Dhari town in Gir East on the lines of the one in Devalia near Sasan.


The additional tourism attractions in this area include the famous Khodiyar dam and temple, which adjoin the proposed site for the interpretation center. The decision was taken at a recent meeting of the board that was chaired by Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Gandhinagar. Rs 5-crore have also been sanctioned for the project.

Gujarat to get 2nd safari park for Asiatic lions


Ahmedabad, Nov 16 (PTI) For wildlife lovers who have not managed to get a glimpse of majestic Asiatic lions of the Gir safari park in Junagadh district of Gujarat, there is a better opportunity coming up.


The state wildlife board has decided to set up a second safari park in Amreli district soon and has got most of the required clearances, senior officials of the forest department said.


"The state wildlife board has cleared the setting up of a second safari park in the state. It will be at Amberdi forest range in Amreli district," Junagadh district forest officer Bharat Pathak told PTI.


The official, however, did not give specifics like the size of the upcoming safari park but said it would be a good alternative for the animals (living in Gir safari park) and for wildlife enthusiasts coming from across the country.


A forest department source said this second safari park would be a big boost for tourism as nearly 2000 wildlife lovers had returned from Devadia safari park in Gir in the past few months without sighting a single lion. PTI

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wells turn death traps, foresters helpless

Ahmedabad, November 8:  By: Brahmananda Shasmal
A 14-year-old lionesss died in Pachpachiya village near Tulsishyam range in Gir East after falling into a 100 feet-deep well.
A lion was found dead in a blind well in Gir sanctuary area.
A leopard was found dead in a blind well (without parapet walls) near Talda village of Khamba taluka on the outskirts of Gir sanctuary
These are few of the several incidents where the wild cats of Gir met a watery grave. While the Forest Department is raising a hue and cry about a chinkara being filmed during the shooting of Lagaan eight years ago in Kutch, they are silent about the fact that the wild cats are meeting their death after falling into open wells around the Gir Sanctuary — sole abode of the Asiatic lion.
‘‘Every year there are at least 15 such deaths,’’ says Amit Jetva, president of Gir Nature Youth Club. ‘‘There are more than 6,000 blind wells within a 6 km-radius of the sanctuary’s borders. The number of wells has gone up in the past couple of years. Saurashtra is an arid zone where farmers dig wells for irrigation purposes. But these are the very areas that fall in the lion’s migration path. So the Forest Department as well as the State Government should take an initiative to protect these wild cats, which are the pride of the State and nation as well,’’ he says.
Forest officials say lions and leopards usually fall into the blind wells while hunting at night. In pursuit of stray cattle or other prey foraging in the fields or farms on the sanctuary’s periphery, they often fall into these wells and drown before anyone can even spot them.
As more land comes under cultivation around the Sanctuary, the number of blind wells are rising, posing a threat to wild cats.
Sadly, except for appealing to the farmers to cover the wells, there is nothing much that the Forest Department can do as their jurisdiction does not cover these revenue areas.
Pradeep Khanna, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), says, ‘‘We have left no well uncovered within the sanctuary area. There are over 6,000 wells on the periphery of the sanctuary and these are on private land. In these areas, we are requesting farmers to cover these wells or erect some visible barriers so that wild cats can be prevented from falling into these wells.’’
He said, ‘‘It’s not that the Forest Department is doing nothing to save the wild cats. There were several incidents where our staffers had rescued animals from wells.’’
“We cannot prevent such deaths as the lion migration area is vast. We can help farmers to construct parapets, cover wells or create visible barriers, but we cannot lend financial assistance to all farmers to construct parapets. There are some motivating NGOs, who have offered to help farmers construct parapets and pile up wooden brush over the well,’’ says Bharat Pathak, conservator of forests, Junagadh, adding, ‘‘If the farmers can dig wells at a cost of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000, they can afford another Rs 2,000 to construct parapets over the wells.’’
When asked about the death of lions, Minister of Forest and Environment Mangubhai Patel says, ‘‘Every state should make provisions for the development of sanctuary area. It is sad that lions are dying in this manner. However, figures also reveal that there has been a rise in the number of lions. Now, there are 359 lions in the sanctuary.’’
To prevent such incidents, Jetva has a solution. ‘‘All it requires is proper legislation. People in lion migration areas must be forbidden to construct wells. There are more than 150 lions in non-protected areas. That lions are dying in this way just shows how careless the authorities are,’’ he says.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Happy Diwali & Proseperous New Year

Wish You All  A Happy Diwali  &
    A Prosperous New Year
  Kishan, Saheli, Kruti, Kishore  and  Kotecha  family
Royal Enclave  Jamnagar - Rajkot
Special Homes for NRIs at Jamnagar
For information visit: or phone
Hitesh Shah  - UK   08700 15 7777    or     Kishore Kotecha - India  0091 98240 62062 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Captive breeding to save lion king

Chetan Chauhan   New Delhi, October 8, 2006


The Centre has found a way to stem the decline in lion population and keep states — willing to splurge on lion safaris — smiling.

As an alternative to relocating lions from the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary to Kunho Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh and to the proposed Lion Safari in Uttar Pradesh, the government has hit upon a captive breeding plan.

The Gujarat government had refused to shift the lions from Gir despite deaths and health threats. Gir is home to the dwindling tribe of the endangered Asiatic lions in India. The Central Zoo Authority (CRA) has asked both the state governments to look for lions in major zoos of the country and relocate them for captive breeding. “We have 71 lions in different zoos. Some of them can be transferred to the wild after captive breeding under strict scientific guidance,” CZA’s member secretary Dr BR Sharma said.

In case of Kunho, the authority has suggested shifting of lions from the Bhopal zoo, while lions from zoos in Lucknow and Hyderabad have been recommended for the safari in Etawah district. Admitting that relocating the animals from zoos into the wild was difficult, Sharma said the idea was  not improbable.

Citing instances, he said Red Pandas were relocated from Darjeeling Zoo into the wild successfully. “It requires patience as it takes several years to free the animals from the captive breeding centre,” he said. The easiest way out was stymied when Gujarat rejected a Ministry of Environment and Forest’s proposal to provide lions from the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. The ministry wanted a another habitat for the lions outside Gir fearing epidemics.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Study: Lion's mane a cool response

For a lion, having a bushy, dark mane is not a sign of greater sexual prowess and appeal, contrary to what researchers thought. And most of the famed "maneless" lions of the Tsavo region of Kenya, which became notorious in the late 19th century as man-eaters, actually do grow manes.
These surprising conclusions are the result of a seven-year study of East African lions. The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Zoology, revealed that mane growth is most closely correlated with climate - that lions that live in higher altitudes with cooler weather generally have more profuse manes.
It also found that lion manes continue to grow after an animal has reached sexual maturity and that the best-maned lions are typically rather old. "Usually lions are well past their breeding prime when they carry the most extensive and often darkest manes of their lives," said co-author Julian C. Kerbis Peterhans of the Field Museum in Chicago. The researchers found no support for the theory that the "maneless" lions of Tsavo have a leonine version of male-pattern baldness.  While the Tsavo lions do tend to have lesser manes, the researchers said that was a function of their relatively low-lying habitat.

The researchers studied the wild lions of the Tsavo valley and the Serengeti range in Tanzania, adjacent areas that differ only in their elevation and climate. The researchers did not study captive lions because of the many ways they and their lives are different from wild animals, including inbreeding, stress, chronic inactivity and climate-controlled environments.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Why Did the Lion Lose His Mane?

Source: Science NOW Daily; By Brendan Borrell. 29 Sept. 06

The male lion's magnificent mane sets him apart from other cats--and it's a great charmer for the ladies--so why would he do without it? That question has puzzled scientists since 1833, when the first reports of "maneless" lions trickled in from around the world. Now, a research team reports that lions from the Tsavo region of Kenya deliberately delay mane growth to cope with the region's harsh temperatures.

John Patterson, an avid hunter and a British Colonel, was one of the first to document manelessness in Tsavo's legendary man-eaters. Ever since, naturalists have developed evolutionary scenarios that would have made Rudyard Kipling proud. Some researchers suggested that lions lost their manes because they were snagged too many times in Tsavo's ubiquitous thorn scrub. Others argued that Tsavo's aggressive lions have unusually high testosterone levels, known to cause male pattern baldness in humans. Still others proposed that Tsavo's lions were a distinct subspecies or were related to an extinct lion pictured in prehistoric caves.

But zoologist Thomas Gnoske at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, considered something these speculators didn't: lions shipped to zoos in cooler climates grow longer manes. This made him wonder whether hot temperatures account for Tsavo's thinning tomcats. To find out, Gnoske and colleagues studied museum specimens and conducted 10 years of fieldwork in Tsavo and in the Serengeti, which is about 10 degrees cooler. In an article published online this month in the Journal of Zoology, the team reports that lions in the Serengeti grow a full mane in 5 years--by the time they're ready to breed--but that Tsavo's lions don't have much of mane until age 8, well past their reproductive prime.

Gnoske thinks smaller manes improve a young, vigorous lion's ability to keep cool. Bushy manes probably evolved to attract females in cooler climates where heat stress was not an issue, Gnoske says, and lions can't just turn off that program, now that they're in a place like Tsavo. "They're hard-wired to grow a mane, period, and they'll develop as large of a mane as they possibly can."

Mammalogist Roland Kays of the New York State Museum in Albany says he is surprised by the delay in mane development. However, he expresses concern about the accuracy of using field observations to estimate the age of Tsavo's lions. Gnoske says his team is currently focusing its research on Tsavo lions with known birth dates, but it will be a challenge to keep track of the wide-ranging animals through maturity, especially since radio collars are prohibited in Tsavo's national parks.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Saifai Lion Safari to realise Mulayam's dream

Saifai Lion Safari to realise Mulayam's dream
Abhinav Pandey, Lucknow, Sept 28: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's native village of Saifai in Etawah district would soon have the distinction of having the state's first lion safari, which will house endangered Asiatic lions.
Yadav's dream lion safari project at Fischer forest area in his constituency is likely to take shape on 35 hectares of land with a cost of Rs 18.57 crore. The Asiatic lions, which are facing a serious threat of extinction, would be given natural breeding atmosphere in the proposed safari in Saifai nesteled between the Yamuna and Chambal rivers, Forests Principal Secretary V N Garg told PTI.  These royal beasts were found roaming in south-western Asia and northern India barely 200 years ago and are now confined to a small pocket in Gir forest reserve of Gujarat only, he said.
Etawah district had a remarkable similarity of temperature and humidity, vegetation, ruggedness of the terrain with the Gir protected area, Garg added. This lion safari in Safai would be a special kind of zoo where the Asiatic lion would be kept for breeding so that the threat of their extinction could be minimised. About the breeding process, Garg said these lions breed very fast but the mortality rate of their cubs are very high.
"In the safari, with assured food we will surely succeed in bringing down the mortality rate," he said adding it would also be ensured that only pure Asiatic lions were kept in the safari so that chance of inter-breeding could be minimised. The government plans to borrow these Asiatic lions, to be kept in the Safari, from national zoos including one in Lucknow and Kanpur, Garg said.  Garg said the government had chalked out a "fool proof" plan and the budget for setting up the safari had been sent for approval to the planning department.
He said the Supreme Court had in an order in 2000 directed that no state government or union territory could set up a new zoo without getting clearance from the Capital Zoo Authority (CZA) and the court. The clerance from the CZA had been obtained and the matter was pending clearance from the apex court, which was expected soon. "Once the apex court's clearance is received the work on the proposed safari will begin," he said. Garg said the proposed lion safari would help encourage and provide an opportunity to the people of the state to learn about wild life protection and conservation. Besides, the western region of the state had no zoo thus depriving a vast population of an opportunity to know about the wild life, he said.
It would also provide the much needed fillip to the state's tourism sector as a large number of people are expected to visit the safari, he said. Safai has already been bestowed with an airstrip, a grand stadium cum sports complex and a state-of-the-art hospital on the lines of the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of edical Sciences in Lucknow. The area is also notoriuous for dacoits which get a safe haven in the ravines of the Chambal river ensconsed by bhind and Morena districts of Madhya Pradesh across the river.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scientists study lion mane variability


CHICAGO, IL, United States (UPI) -- U.S. zoologists say they have dispelled several longstanding misconceptions about mane variability among wild lions in the first such study of its type.

The nearly 7-year scientific assessment by researchers from Chicago`s Field Museum of Natural History found wild lions generally develop manes in accordance with local climate regimes. In Equatorial East Africa, climate is determined by elevation, thus lions with the largest manes occur at the upper limit of their altitudinal range, while similar-age males in the lowest and warmest environments typically have modest or scanty manes.

But, paradoxically, other lions in low and warm regions appear to acquire respectable manes, contrary to most popular and scientific accounts of the lions from Africa`s Tsavo region.

'We knew about the climate/elevation correlation since we were the first to publish those preliminary results in GEO 2001, but this new development really threw us for a loop,' said Tom Gnoske, senior author of the paper. 'However, once we analyzed all of the statistical data we found a very strong correlation linking increased age and continued mane development -- a significant variable ignored by all previous authors'

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Asiatic Lion injured....

Lion injured due to internal fight in Gebar forest area near Bagdana a new home for Asiatic Lions and rescued by Rescue Team, treated and left in natural home.


Amit B. Jethava
President - Gir Nature Youth Club
Email: amitjethava@

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Atul Singh Nischal wants all Asiatic Lion lovers to know.....

Atul Singh Nischal is a active wildlife lover and strongly spreading awareness about benefits of translocating few Asiatic Lions to Kuno Wildlife Sancturay in Madhya Pradesh. Today I received following email from him which I would like to share some part of it with everybody.

Hello all of you interested in nature & wildlife and in saving the Asiatic Lions for our future generations and Mr. Kishore Kotecha of “Gir & Asiatic Lion Protection Society (GALPS)”, India (State of Gujarat) and Amit B. Jethava of “Gir Nature Youth Club”, India (State of Gujarat)

Mr. Kishore Kotecha, yes please post photos & Asiatic Lion/Gir/Kuno news regularly to the Group, also translate local Gujarati news and post to ASIATIC LION Group as well as on the Blog. You can always mention at the bottom of the news that it is also now posted on the ASIATIC LION Blog and give the address of the blog also mention it is there in the Links section of our Group. As you know both "Gir & Asiatic Lion Protection Society (GALPS)" website and the Blog has already been added in the “Links” section of the ASIATIC LION Group by me for the benefit of all of us.

It is also great news that you Mr. Amit B. Jethava, President, “Gir Nature Youth Club” have also joined the ASIATIC LION Group, now you can continue your efforts to save Gir Sanctuary & surrounding habitat and Asiatic Lions along with all of us and your input is always appreciated as it will also inform all of us of what is happening on the field in Asiatic Lion territory. You are welcome to also post photos & Asiatic Lion/Gir/Kuno news regularly to the Group, also translate local Gujarati news and post to ASIATIC LION Group as well. You and your club members are also close to Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding regions where wild Asiatic Lions live like the members of GALPS, I will request that both your teams become members of this group and treat this as your own group. All the members of "Gir Nature Youth Club" and "Gir & Asiatic Lion Protection Society (GALPS)" please coordinate together your efforts to save the Asiatic Lions and spread awareness about their precarious situation. I will also request all of you to make joint trips regularly over the years to both Gir Sanctuary in Gujarat State and Kuno Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh State and also Zoos around the country who have or will have Asiatic Lions to ensure their wellbeing. Of course we love all the other animals and the forest/wilderness too so lets all care for nature as a whole too.

Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh is soon going to be the second home for wild Asiatic Lions (a geographically separated secure "second population" in a "second region" to guard against epidemics and natural calamities and who knows even War). All of us Wildlife & Asiatic Lion lovers should appreciate the efforts and sacrifice of the poor tribals from 24 villages who have already agreed and moved out of Kuno to make it an undisturbed second home for the re-introduction of wild free ranging Asiatic Lions. Thousands of Asiatic Lions lived in the State of Madhya Pradesh in India too and other parts as well along with Tigers before they were killed off by man like in other parts of Asia including in Iran and Europe where the Asiatic Lions once reigned not too long ago.

You all who are closer to Gir and Asiatic Lions should visit both Gir and Kuno and also post your trip photos and reports here on the group from time to time. Also appreciate the efforts of Madhya Pradesh Forest Department in preparing Kuno for Asiatic Lion re-introduction along with Gujarat Forest Department who is taking care of Gir where the only wild population of Asiatic Lions in the world is found presently. If you have any complains about any government employee or political party not doing enough for the Asiatic Lions and the protection of their habitat you can jointly lodge a complaint and let us all know too how it progresses. You can also write to Madhya Pradesh Forest Department and the Chief Minister to prepare Kuno properly for the Asiatic Lions and take urgent needed action so that it is ready to host Asiatic Lions sooner. Allocate funds in time to protect increasing wildlife population in Kuno against illegal poaching, help properly in rehabilitating tribals from villages who have agreed and moved out of the forest to make place for the Asiatic Lions. Inquire about what is the status of the prey population in Kuno and if any translocation of prey is being done to Kuno to supplement Asiatic Lion food base there. There are enough Nilgais and Wildboars in farmland all over the states in India that could be translocated to Kuno to help increase the prey base for Lions there. Prey translocation if needed can not be ignored. Though recent studies show that over the last decade or so the local prey base has already strengthened enough now to support a pride or two of translocated wild Asiatic Lions easily.

Unfortunately it seems the Indian State of Gujarat is still having difficulty in giving up its monopoly on the tourism revenues generated by wild Asiatic Lions which are only found in its bounds presently in the whole world. Gujarat is still opposing with all its might the re-introduction of wild free ranging Asiatic Lions to the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh, a program of the Central Government of India. You all can read about this tussle and the selfishness being shown by the State of Gujarat against sending any wild Asiatic Lions out of the State on the News pages of the website of “The Asiatic Lion Information Centre, The home of the European Asiatic Lion Breeding Programme” at:

I know there is lot to be done but its good that all of us are coming together to build awareness to ensure the wellbeing of Asiatic Lions, their habitat and other animals that live there as well.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank Lisa ("Lisa C.", zenzoolittle) to have helped us in forming this group and also thank Icer ("Annelisa Johnson" icer_01, and “Kishore Kotecha” (,, for being moderators and helping with the management of our group.

Everybody is invited to post articles and photos about Asiatic Lions in their natural habitat or from Zoos around the world. General articles about Asiatic Lion history from around the world and about other animals with whom they share their habitats are also welcome.

Long live the Asiatic Lions and the wildernesses around Gir in Gujarat where they now live and Kuno forests where they shall rule again soon.

Also reminding you all once again there is a sister species to Asiatic Lions which shared much of its habitat all over Asia including in India, it’s the “Asiatic Cheetahs”. Now having gone recently extinct in India the very last 50 to 60 remain in Iran. You can also help in spreading awareness about them. As we speak now they are sprinting towards their “Final-Extinction”, please read about them and follow the research links in my following article on Asiatic Cheetah to help in saving them too from extinction:

Best wishes

Atul Singh Nischal

Zoo in northern India sets up old age home for dying lions

International Herald Tribune (The Associated Press, Published: Sept. 20, 2006)


NEW DELHI Zookeepers in north India are watching mournfully as nearly two dozen lions slowly die after a breeding program left many cats sick, a wildlife official said Wednesday.

The program, which began in the late 1980s at the Chhatbir Zoo, tried to crossbreed Asiatic and African lions. It was discontinued in 2002 after many of the nearly 80 lions bred were struck by a mysterious disease aggravated by inbreeding and a weakened gene pool, said Kuldip Kumar, Punjab state's conservator of forests and wildlife. The Chhatbir Zoo, near the city of Chandigarh, is in Punjab state.

When the program ended, all of the male lions were given vasectomies to prevent further breeding, Kumar said. It will take about six years for the remaining 22 lions bred through the program to die of natural causes, he said.

Zoo authorities have decided to launch a new captive breeding project using "pure Asiatic lion stock from other zoos in the country but only after the last of the earlier crop of lions have been phased out," he said. The zoo has recently built an enclosed area for the oldest and most infirm of the lions, so they are not attacked by the more robust cats.

"At any time the zoo has around four to five lions that are too old and weak to compete with the younger more aggressive lions. This enclosure for them separates them from the younger lot," Kumar said. The lions are fed boneless meat and kept away from the zoo's immensely popular lion safari area, which is spread over 15 hectares (37 acres), he said.

Wildlife officials had originally hoped the hybrid cats could be introduced into the wild in an effort to bolster India's endangered wild lion population. "But we decided to stop breeding them after the lions were struck by a mysterious disease and some 30 of them died in 1999 and 2000," Kumar said.

Since Indian wildlife laws prevent killing animals, a cull of the aging cats has been ruled out. Meanwhile, zoo authorities were trying to make life a little bit more comfortable for the beasts.

Wildlife experts say rampant poaching is driving the Asiatic lion to extinction, especially in the Gir forests in western India, the last wild refuge of the big cats.

The last lion census conducted in the Gir forests in 2000 put the number of Asiatic lions at 320. However, the animals' numbers have further dwindled due to poaching, open wells that act as death traps and human encroachment on the lions' habitat.

Lions are poached for their pelts and claws, both of which command a huge price in the illegal wildlife trade.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Gir lions on the verge of extinction
Bahar Dutt CNN-IBN Posted Tuesday , January 17, 2006 at 19:03

The Asiatic lion in India is on the verge of extinction, but it's cry for attention is being ignored.

Outside Africa, India is the only place where lions exist today. Its wild cousin, the tiger, on the other hand is found almost throughout the country, numbering around 3000-5000.

In contrast there are only 300 lions left in the wild in India, all in one forest - Gir. The big cat is on the verge of extinction and is crying out for attention. CNN-IBN traveled to the last bastion of the Indian lion to find out why.

Gujarat: The country is obsessed about the survival of the Tiger, but India's other big cat – the Asiatic Lion – is in far more serious trouble.

Found only in Gujarat, the Asiatic Lion, may soon beat the tiger to extinction.
Documents in CNN-IBN's possession show that the lions of Gir are being poached for their claws.

In August 2005, two lions were killed near Patla Village, Gujarat. 15 claws were missing from their dead bodies.

In September, five claws were missing from yet another lion carcass.
Between August and December 2005, 12 Lions have died at Gir, five of them killed by poachers and each time for their claws.

Poaching Deaths in Gir
Aug 2005 2 Lions killed near Patla Village. 15 Claws missing.
Sep 2005 5 claws missing from a Lion Carcass.
Aug-Dec05 12 Lions Dead. 5 killed by Poachers.

Each claw is worth Rs 10,000. Add to this the fact that the number of lions in Gir is just 300 and that Gir is the only place in India where the Asiatic lion is found.

Watch live video at

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006 has sent you an article from

Mystery disease killing lions in India

NEW DELHI -- Nearly two dozen crossbred lions are slowly dying in
northern India from a mysterious disease afflicting the hybrid
offspring of Asiatic and African cats paired in a discontinued
experimental program.

Zookeepers are mournfully watching the results of the program, which
began in the late 1980s at the Chhatbir Zoo and was ended in 2002 after
many of the nearly 80 crossbred lions were struck by a mysterious
disease linked to inbreeding and a weakened gene pool, said Kuldip
Kumar, Punjab state's conservator of forests and wildlife.

Wildlife officials had originally hoped the hybrid cats could be
introduced into the wild in an effort to bolster India's endangered
wild lion population.

When the program ended, all of the male lions were given vasectomies to
prevent further breeding, Kumar said.

Indian wildlife laws prohibit killing the animals.

It will take about six years for the remaining 22 crossbred lions to
die of natural causes, Kumar said.

Zoo authorities have decided to launch a new captive breeding project
using "pure Asiatic lion stock from other zoos in the country, but only
after the last of the earlier crop of lions have been phased out," he

The zoo has recently built an enclosed area for the oldest and most
infirm of the lions, so they are not attacked by the more robust cats.

"At any time the zoo has around four to five lions that are too old and
weak to compete with the younger, more aggressive lions," Kumar said.

The lions are fed boneless meat, he said.

Wildlife experts say rampant poaching is driving the Asiatic lion to
extinction, especially in the Gir forests in western India, the last
wild refuge of the big cats.

The last lion census conducted in the forests in 2000 put the number of
Asiatic lions at 320. The animals' numbers have further dwindled due to
poaching, open wells that act as death traps and human encroachment on
lion habitat.

Lions are killed for their pelts and claws, both of which command a
huge price in the illegal wildlife trade.


Brought to you by the

Monday, September 18, 2006

Waiting to die: last days of the cross-bred lions too weak to eat
Source: The Independent – UK. 18 September 2006

In the heat of the Punjab plain, an Indian zoo is waiting for its collection of lions to die. The males have all been sterilised, to prevent them breeding. Once the Chhatbir zoo had more than 70 lions; today there are 21 left. The problem is that Chhatbir zoo's lions are the result of an experiment in cross-breeding that went horribly wrong.

Looking to devise a special attraction during the eighties, the zoo's administrators created a unique hybrid species by cross-breeding Asiatic and African lions. Less well-known than its African cousin, the Asiatic lion is slightly smaller and has a less shaggy mane. It is close to extinction in the wild: there are only some 300 left, and the only place they are found is the Gir national park in India.

On paper, the cross-breeding programme looked fine. Lions have been successfully cross-bred with tigers, leopards and jaguars - so why not a cross between two natural sub-species? The zoo acquired two performing African lions that were being used in a circus, and bred them with its own two Asiatic lions.

But when their cubs were born, it became clear that all was not well. The hybrid lions were all born with severely weak hind legs. They could barely walk. It got worse: as the years went by, many of the hybrids' immune systems began to fail.

In 2000, when it had bred more than 70 hybrid lions, Chhatbir zoo decided to end the disastrous programme. The males were given vasectomies, and the authorities decided to wait for the hybrids to die naturally.

Today, some of the surviving hybrids are so weak that they cannot even tear meat from bones, and can eat only boneless meat.

With the Asiatic lion so severely endangered in the wild, conservationists have criticised the zoo for "wasting" its breeding programme on creating an unnatural hybrid subspecies. The zoo says that it will turn to breeding pure Asiatic lions, once all the hybrids have died out.
Although there are only 300 left in the wild, the Asiatic lion is in fact one of conservation's success stories. It almost died out completely in the wild: in 1907, there were just 13 animals left. That was when the Nawab of Junagadh, who was then the ruler of one of colonial India's princely states, ordered that they should be given protection within his lands.
The Asiatic lion was once found across a huge swath of the world, from the subcontinent, across Iran and the Arabian peninsula, and even in Europe, in the Balkans. But hunting and human expansion wiped it out everywhere but one corner of India - the Gir forest, the Nawab's old lands, which today lie in Gujarat.

There is a long history of experimental cross-breeding of lions and other big cats. Lions and tigers have been cross-bred to create "ligers", the world's biggest cats, which have faint stripes and small manes.


Zoo phasing out hybrid lion species after failed experiment
Source: The Hindu News Update Service September 17, 2006

New Delhi, Sept. 17(AP): Authorities said they were allowing 24 hybrid lions to die off after a decades-old crossbreeding experiment at a northern Indian zoo produced only weak offspring, many of whom have already died, a conservator said on Sunday.
Most of the surviving lions and lionesses, aged 12 years or older, are only expected to live for another five to six years, Kuldip Kumar, a Conservator at the Forest and Wildlife Department of Punjab.

It was hoped that the hybrid beasts could be introduced into the wild in an effort to bolster the endangered wild lion population in India.
After it became evident that the experiment dating from the 1980s to crossbreed Asian and African varieties of lions had failed, the Indian government decided against continuing the project.

Of the about 80 animals bred under the programme at the Chhatbir Zoo in the northern city of Chandigarh, up to 30 of them died in 1999 and 2000 due to a mysterious illness, Kumar said, adding that it could have resulted from ``excessive inbreeding or because of mixed stock.''
Several others have died of natural causes, he said.
These animals were produced by breeding captive Asiatic lions and African circus animals, he said.

From a wildlife conservation point of view, the mixed stock don't have any value,'' he said.
The zoo has 10 lions and 14 lionesses remaining, and those appear to be healthy, Kumar told The Associated Press.

The last lion census conducted in the Gir forests in western India in 2000 put the number of Asiatic lions at 320. However, the animals' numbers are dwindling due to poaching.
Lions in the Gir forest are poached for their pelts and claws, both of which command a huge price in the illegal wildlife trade.
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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lion Attacks youth in Dhari
Source: Times News Network Dtd. 17-9-2006

Rajkot: A lion attacked a youth on the border of Nani Dhari and Gadiya village, in Dalkhania range of Gir, on Saturday morning. The victim, Jitu Kathi, 25, a resident of Nani Dhari, was admitted to a hospital in Dhari after he sustained injuries on his leg and chest. According to his relatives, Jitu had gone with his cattle on the outskirts of he village when he spotted eight lions enjoying a kill. But before Jitu could leave the area, he was attacked by an adult lion.

Junagadh conservator of forests, Bharat Pathak said, “The incident took place on the border of the sanctuary. There is possibility that Jitu disturbed the lion family which had some adult cubs or Jitu may have been unaware of their presence and might have just blundered up to them.”

A senior officer, refusing to be quoted, said that usually when lions are enjoying a kill, it is dangerous to disturb them. But villagers in Dhari often try to attack them after they kill their buffaloes or any cattle. The officer said this makes the lions angry and they tend to retaliate. Sources in the department said that currently with dense growth of grass in the area, animals tends to stray outside the sanctuary to avoid the insects, leading to human-animal conflict during the monsoon.

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UP CM wants lion safari for Saifai
Source 16 Sep, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav continues to pamper his constituency of Saifai.

After having rewarded his pocket borough with a sports complex, an airstrip and entertainment extravaganza featuring Bollywood biggies, he wants to dole out another gift to the constituency for standing steadfast behind him, but has run into an obstacle in the form of a guideline laid down by the Supreme Court.

To give shape to his dream 'lion safari' project, the UP government has to comply with the November 27, 2000, order of the Supreme Court, which said: "No state government or Union territory shall set up a new zoo without getting clearance from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and orders from this court.”

In an application seeking the SC's permission, the state said except for zoos at Lucknow and Kanpur, western and eastern UP had no zoo, depriving a vast population an opportunity to learn and educate themselves about wildlife protection and conservation.

To correct this, the state government wishes to open a lion safari, which it described as a special kind of zoo, in the Fischer forest area of Etawah district. To buttress its arguments for a lion safari, the state, in its application moved through advocate Wasim A Qadri, expressed concern about the dwindling numbers of Asiatic lions, facing "serious threat of survival".

It narrated how these royal beasts were found roaming in south-western Asia and northern India just 200 years ago and are now confined to a small pocket in the Gir reserved forest of Gujarat.

"In view of this and the importance of the role of zoos and safaris in terms of conservation education, a lion safari park in an area of 150 hectares in the Fischer forest is being conceived,"the application said.

On the selection of Etawah district for the proposal, the government said, "There is a remarkable similarity of temperature and humidity, vegetation, ruggedness of the terrain etc between the selected area and the Gir protected area."

After justifying Etawah's suitability, the state explained its seriousness about the project by pointing out that a budgetary allocation of Rs 1.04 crore has already been made in this financial year towards the lion safari, which is estimated to cost Rs 5.6 crore. The state also placed before the apex court its communication to CZA seeking permission to set up the safari.

Dead body of Lioness found in Moruka Village
Source: Gujarat Samachar Daily 09-09-2006 (Translated from Gujarati Language)

Today a dead body of a female lion was found in village of Moruka. As reported by department of forest a decomposed dead body was found near temple of Avdai Mataji near Moruka Village. Postmortem of dead body was done by Ankolwadi Animal Hospital and Sasan Animal Care Centre and then it was sent to Forensic Laboratory at Junagadh for further investigation. So far cause of death is undetected.

It is also heard that a female leopard was found dead in open well near Una Coastal Area. Since last few months death of wild animals by falling in open well has drastically increased.

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