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.

Find Everything about ASIATIC LION & GIR at www.asiaticlion.org 

or contact info@asiaticlion.org

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

Find Everything about ASIATIC LION & GIR at www.asiaticlion.org 

or contact info@asiaticlion.org

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.

Find Everything about ASIATIC LION & GIR at www.asiaticlion.org 

or contact info@asiaticlion.org

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