Monday, December 31, 2007

Young leopard found dead in coconut farm


Young leopard found dead in coconut farm

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, December 30 A Juvenile leopard, aged about three, was found dead in a coconut farm located on the outskirts of Una town in Junagadh district on Friday.

Shantibhai Gajera, the coconut farm owner discovered the carcass on the ground, upon which he immediately informed the forest officials, who then rushed to the spot along with veterinary doctors in tow.

A post mortem report revealed that the animal had died as a result of infighting. The fact that the carcass, including the claws, were found intact, further corroborated this, they said.

When contacted, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki said, “a full grown leopard had probably killed the animal.”

Solanki said, there were clear-cut signs and evidences of infighting, including pugmark of a full-grown leopard, which was noticed at the spot.

“Territorial disputes often result in fights among big cats. In this case, the leopard had preyed on a calf, but a full grown leopard killed it,” he said.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Driving license must for Gir visit (For vehicles using Sanctuary Roads)


Driving license must for Gir visit (For vehicles using Sanctuary Roads)

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition

Rajkot: Harried over lion poaching, the forest department has decided to increase vigil in the Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions in the world. The department will note down the driving license number of every driver with a private vehicle that enters the sanctuary.

When a private vehicle enters the sanctuary through Dalkhaniya near Dhari in Amreli district now, the guards at the gate will ask for the original driving license and allow the car only after noting down the number. “If the driver is not carrying the original license, the person who is traveling along, will have to give his license number,” said a guard at the gate.

He said in two cases none of the occupants of the vehicle had the license. “We asked for the photo identity card,” he added. Officials said that after the poaching incidents earlier this month, the officials found that vehicles were entering the sanctuary unchecked. They are worried as traps to snare animals were laid within the sanctuary.

Officials said the government has decided to bolster the internal security as well. Many guards were found wanting prompting government to get strict. During inquiry it was found that the guards on night duty on the Una-Talala road were not keeping a record of entry of vehicles in the sanctuary. Now guards will allow only a delay of 15 minutes. “Further delay can land the driver in trouble,” officials added. Conservator of forest Bharat Pathak said the noting of license number also helps the officials to have the identity of at least one person traveling and this would tighten the vigil.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Success in saving Asiatic lion in India hemmed by lack of habitat


Success in saving Asiatic lion in India hemmed by lack of habitat

Live The Wall Street Journal By Elizabeth Roche/ AFP

“From 20 in 1913 to more than 350 today; the Gir lions face a bleak future as land becomes a scare commodity”

Gir (Gujarat): Success in saving the rare Asiatic lion in India has in turn created new challenges to the king of the jungle in its last natural habitat, as problems with human encroachment and poaching mount.

The population of lions in the Gir forest of Gujarat has climbed from 20 in 1913 to more than 350 today, experts said. “The increase in the population of lions in Gir is posing a problem,” said Daval Mehta of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) in Gujarat. “The lions are dispersing to reclaim their earlier habitats, which is bringing them into increasing conflict with humans.”

A wake-up call to the growing troubles for the lion in the Gir forest came this year, when more than 30 of the animals died between January and November—the most lion deaths in one year on official record.

Among the biggest threats to lions are thousands of open wells, said Kishore Kotecha, head of the voluntary Wildlife Conservation Trust, noting that 25 of the animals have drowned in wells between 2002 and 2007.

Farmers and residents of the 158 villages that border Gir have dug some 9,000 wells, and to save money, “they leave the wells uncovered, transforming them into death traps for lions and other animals in the reserve,” Kotecha said.

Lions have also been killed by electric fences built by farmers to keep deer away from their crops.

Increased traffic—cars and buses shuttle pilgrims to four Hindu temples inside the sanctuary—has taken its toll, too, with at least one lion killed by a vehicle this year.

Bharat Pathak, a senior wildlife official overseeing the Gir conservation programme, said work was under way to keep “the sanctuary area free of human encroachments, besides sensitizing people to the behaviour of lions to ensure that there is harmony between the species”.

Those measures include nature education programmes and allowing more people to observe lions in a controlled manner, said Pathak’s deputy, H.S. Sharma.

Genetically different from the sub-Saharan African lion, Asiatic lions are smaller and boast a more modest mane. They have a fold of skin running along the belly—rarely found in their African cousins.

At least 1,000 Asiatic lions roamed India in the 1800s before hunting took its toll.

The highly territorial male lion needs at least 20 sq. km of land to survive, experts said. Under a 2005 census, Gir had 87 fully grown males fighting for too little space.

“It is necessary to increase the reserve area to protect the lions,” Mehta said, noting the Gir Reserve area had not been expanded since the 1970s.

The traditional threat of poaching also remains a major concern for the lion. In March, eight lions were killed by poachers in three separate incidents.

“We have arrested them and registered cases against them,” Pathak said. Once found from Macedonia to Yemen and the subcontinent via Iran, “today, the Asiatic lion...survives only in India,” said Pathak. “That is why it is imperative to continue conservation efforts.”

“The species is recovering,” Pathak said. “But the lion is not yet off the list of endangered species of the World Conservation Union, which means we still have some way to go.”

Given that the revival of the Gir lion population has created many of the problems, the WPSI has suggested re-location of the animals—an idea the Union government is toying with.

“It is important not to fritter away the results achieved so painstakingly over the years. A second unconnected population of lions is essential to ensure survival,” said WPSI executive director Belinda Wright.

Group of six lions kills 11 cattleheads


Group of six lions kills 11 cattle heads

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, December 22 A Group of six lions, reportedly roaming in the revenue area, went on a rampage in the outskirts of Sukhpur village on Friday, killing 11 domestic animals. The incident occurred on Sukhpur-Dalkhania road in an area adjoining the forest near Dhari in Gir East forest division.

Reports said that over six lions were seen roaming in the outskirts of the village. They later attacked grazing cattle and killed 10 goats and a calf on the spot. A cattle owner, Bhaya Bharwad, managed to escape unhurt.

The attack by the predators created havoc among shepherds and farmers working in the fields. According to the villagers, the lions had reached very close to the human habitat. Later, village Sarpanch Yousuf Juneja informed forest officials. However, by the time they reached the spot, the group of lions had disappeared.

Lioness carcass recovered from Gir East, foul play ruled out; elsewhere Lioness attacks a farmer; elsewhere Leopard falls in open well


Lioness carcass recovered from Gir East, foul play ruled out; elsewhere Lioness attacks a farmer; elsewhere Leopard falls in open well

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, December 25 The carcass of a full grown lioness was found on Tuesday from the Gir East forest division, while in two separate incidents, a lioness along with her cub attacked a farmer injuring him badly, while a a leopard which had fallen into a well near Keshod, was rescued unhurt and released again.

Forest officials said, the carcass of a lioness aged about six years was found lying on the forest floor in Bhania, under the Tulshishyam range in Gir East forest division.

Deputy conservator of forest (Gir East) J S Solanki, said, prima facie it did not seem to be a case of foul play.

"All claws and organs were found intact. A panel comprising three veterinary doctors has conducted a post-mortem on the spot, but the exact cause of the death has not been established. We have dispatched the animal's viscera to veterinary college —Anand and Forensic Science Laboratory — Junagadh, for a detailed clinical examination. Only after receiving these reports, will the exact cause of death be ascertained," he said.


Meanwhile, in another incident on Monday afternoon, a lioness attacked Bhana Koli, a farmer, on the outskirts of Vajadi village near Una. Koli received injuries on the chest and on his leg. He, however, showed great courage and fought with the big cat, which escaped from the scene. Koli was admitted to the Government Hospital at Una, where he is said to be out of danger.

According to forest officials, the lioness and her cubs had become a frequent visitor to the revenue area outside Gir. On Monday, forest department officials had commenced on an exercise to locate the feline and her cubs, when the big cat chanced upon Koli in a maize field, and pounced on him.

Elsewhere, on Thursday, a full grown leopard was evacuated from a well, located on the outskirts of Bhanduri village in Keshod taluka. When informed, trekkers and a rescue team from Sasan Gir forest rushed to the spot. Deputy Conservator of forest (Girnar range) B T Chadhasania said, "rescue operations were completed this afternoon. The leopard has been rescued un-hurt and released in the forest."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Panther, cub make old Rajkot their home


Panther, cub make old Rajkot their home

Indian Express

Rajkot, December 20 Just a couple of days after Asiatic lions were spotted far away from the jungle at Mahuva in Bhavnagar district, a panther with a cub in tow, is believed to have made Rajkot its home, some 150 km away from the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.

Forest department officials confirmed after four days of close observation that a panther and its cub have taken sanctuary in a small cave near Khadpith in Old Rajkot. The department, on Thursday, installed a cage with a bait to capture the animals.

The presence of a carnivore in the area came to light after a cow was found dead on last Saturday. Forest department officials initially reported either a panther or a hyena had fed on that livestock. But a close examination of the pugmarks revealed that it was a panther and not a hyena.

Officials have also traced the animal’s location through stool samples. “Stool samples were found outside this particular cave like structure near Khadpith, which is located very near to the Aji riverbed,” said Divisional Forest Officer G P Vadi. He said, “A team of forest department officials have been patrolling the area since the last four days. After it was confirmed on Thursday, that it’s a panther, probably with also a cub also, we have put up a cage to catch the big cat.”

Forest officials are, nevertheless, clueless, as to how a panther reached all the way to Rajkot from the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. Panthers, like their bigger cousins, the Asiatic lions, have often been found wandering outside the forest area, but mostly on the coastal belt. As such, this is all the more surprising since Rajkot doesn’t fall even on the coastal belt.

New Sanctuary for Asiatic Lions being planned by State - Central Govt.


New Sanctuary for Asiatic Lions being planned by State – Central Govt.

Source: Divya Bhaskar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

There are 359 Asiatic Lions in their last abode in Gir forest. Lions have been straying outside the sanctuary because of space constraint. Thus State and Central Govt. are thinking to add 300 sq. km more area to the existing 1460 sq. km. Necessary proposals have been prepared for the same.

In last two decades two regions have been added to the area of National Park. Still the the king of the jungle is wandering outside as far as sea-side of Mahuva and Vallabhipur. Looing to the situation it has been decided to further extend the area of existing 1460 sq km area.

A team headed by PCCF Shri Pradeep Khanna is studying the proposal. If the proposal is approved by the Central Govt. then the area adjoinging existing sanctuary will be added.

At present there are about 25 lions in Jesar and Mityala sanctuary area, 25 lions have made Bhavnagar district as their permanent home and also about 8 lions are regularly found in Umrala and Mahuva towns, as per information of Forest Dept. If the expansion proposal is successful then in true sense king of the jungle will have best habitat.

Together Lets Save Gir and Asiatic Lion

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gir lions spread far and wide in search of new territory


Gir lions spread far and wide in search of new territory

Indian Express By Hiral Dave

Rajkot, December 17 After the Forest department spotted two Asiatic lions at the coastal town of Pingleshwar near Mahuva in Bhavnagar district, the question looming large is whether this species of the big cats require more space.

Since 1985, lions have started looking outside the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, the last abode for the Asiatic Lions. In the last two decades, the jungle king has expanded its kingdom on the coastal belt from Sutrapada in Junagadh to Khmbha in Amreli districts. As a result of this dispersion, away from forest, the present population of lions in the coastal belt stands at more than 100.

But, now, they have been showing signs of dispersion to farther areas, as well. "Two male lions have been spotted at Pingleshwar near Mahuva. In the last two weeks they have fed on livestock," said an official with the Bhavnagar District Division Forest Office. The official said the lions might have followed the coastal belt of Rampara, Bheradi, Victor, Patwa, Dodiya and Khared to reach Pingleshwar.

"Pingleshwar is located 35 kilometres from Rajula, which was so far the remotest dispersion site. But, what we are seeing here, are signs of further dispersion," said Amit Jethva, president of Gir nature Youth Club.

Officials are, however, adopting a policy of wait and watch before coming to any conclusion. "The department needs to keep a close watch on their movements. We need to see whether they come back to Amreli district in a few days or stay in Mahuva, find prey, breed and settle down," said Conservator of Forest, Bharat Pathak.

Extra-ordinary courage shown by women to save her children from Leopard in Gir Forest Area


Extra-ordinary courage shown by women to save her children from Leopard in Gir Forest Area

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

December 14, Junagadh: A women was living with her family in a tent in Sugar cane farm in Savni village in Talala Taluka. She had come with her husband from outside Gujarat state to work as labour in agriculture farms. They were living in tent with their three children (one to four years old). She was aged about 30 years.

On Thursday night her children were sleeping inside and she was sleeping outside near the gate of the tent. Her husband Fakirabhai had gone out for the work.

In the mean time, on chilly night, she was awakened by noise of leopard trying to enter the tent. She courageously tried to block the way of leopard. In turn leopard attacked her furiously and seriously injured her. During this fight, noise awakened other people and the leopard ran away.

Later she was admitted to the hospital and had about 40 stitches on her wounds.

Poaching racket unearthed in Gir revenue area


Poaching racket unearthed in Gir revenue area

Indian Express By Sibte Hussaqin Bukhari

Junagadh, December 14: After the lions, now it's the turn of other wild animals to be hunted along the periphery of the Gir sanctuary. The poaching racket – running rampantly in the revenue area, adjoining Gir forest, and unearthed by the forest officials – was involved in the killing of spotted dear, wild boar, porcupine and the peacock.

"A hunting racket was running in the revenue area – on the outskirts of Aankolwadi village falling under the Aankolwadi range some 25 km from Talala town in Gir West forest division," said B P Pati, deputy conservator of forest (Gir west).

He said the gang was also found involved in illegal wood cutting deep inside the forest. Three persons, including a woman and the owner of the agriculture land, where all poaching activities took place, were arrested in this connection on December 10 and 11, but some eight-nine involved in this crime are still at large.

"During interrogation the accused revealed that some eight-nine people are also involved in this racket. We have carried out raids at different locations but they are still at large. Efforts are on to nab them soon," Pati said.

Forest officials recovered deer skin and venison, wild-boar teeth, peacock feathers, knives used in slaughtering the animals, hunting materials including traps and electric wire, and teak wood from the three accused. They have now been booked under various provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and sent to two days custody.

According to Pati, the three admitted to having killed till date, four deer, two porcupines and one wild boar. "We have recovered spotted deer skin, venison, wild-boar's teeth, traps and material used in electrocuting wild animals, from their possession," he said.

Jayram Akbari, owner of the land said, he along with Rani and Dinu Devipoojak, the other two arrested, killed the animals by electrocuting them. After the kill, the carcass was handed over to the other gang-members. He said most of the people involved in the crime belong to the Devipoojak community and were locals.

Rani and Dinu are also resident of Aankolwadi village. Authorities have recovered peacock feathers from their possession. "We have recovered peacock feathers from them. It is presumed that they have poached the national bird," Pati said, adding that these locals don't have any connection with professional poachers, unlike Madhya Pradesh's tribal gang. "They are not involved in poaching of big cats. It seems that, basically, their aim of killing deer, wild boars, porcupines and peacocks are, to use and sell its meat and for trophy. During the raid conducted on Jayram house at Aankolwadi village, we also recovered some 35 CFT teakwood - worth rupees 35 thousand," said Pati.

The punishment for these offences is imprisonment between three to seven years and fine or both, he added.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Three caught in poaching spotted deer by Electrified fencing near Gir forest


Three caught in poaching spotted deer by Electrified fencing near Gir forest

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly Translated from Gujarati)

A racket of spotted deer poaching by electrocution and selling its meat was exposed by forest department in Ankolwadi village of Taluka Talala. Forest department has arrested three people including farmer of the land involved in the scam.

Today ACF – Talala was patrolling when they show a Raniben Bachubhai of Devi Pujak (koli) community who was carrying meat for sale. She was stopped for inquiry.

She was arrested and deer skin, peacock feathers and other wild animal parts were found from her house. On further interrogation of the women and her son, they revealed that they hunted deer with person named Vinod of their community.

They also stated that farmer Jerambhai Akbari used to put electric current in fencing of his farm in Ankolwadi village. And when deer died of electric current, they used to sell the same to koli people.

Arrested accepted that they had killed two deer so far. They were presented before the Hon. Court with request for further remand. Forest department has further finding Vinod involved in the case.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A dead lion found near Machundri Dam


A dead lion found near Machundri Dam

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly Translated from Gujarati)


A carcass of male lion, age about 11 years, was found on the bank of Machundri Reservoir in Jasadhar Range of Gir East. As primarily reason of death is not known, samples have been sent to Anand Laboratory. On site postmortem was done by Veterinary doctors from Junagadh, Jasadhar and Samter. Mouth of the animal was submerged in water and all 18 claws were intact. Hence possibilities of poaching are rejected by the Gujarat Forest Department officers. This lion was given treatment before six months and was let free after that.


Kishore Kotecha’s comment: To me it looks like death due to ill health and hence natural death.

Task Force caught Sabbir assumed to be involved in Lion Poaching


Task Force caught Sabbir assumed to be involved in Lion Poaching

Divya Bhasker (Briefly Translated from Gujarati)


On Dec 8, Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh, headed by SP Amithabh, has caught defamed Sabbir and 15 others with 80 kgs of Tiger bones at Allahabad. To find out involvement of Sabbir in lion poaching and to verify possibilities of bones as the lion bones, three members of Gujarat Police and one member of Gandhinagar – FSL has left for Allahabad. Police is also investingating link of Sabbir with Sarakaslal, key accused in lion poaching.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Gujarat opposes move to send Gir lions to MP


Gujarat opposes move to send Gir lions to MP

NEW DELHI: The Centre's grand plan to relocate some of the Asiatic lions from their only home at Gir forest in Gujarat to the forests of Madhya Pradesh has run into serious opposition from the Narendra Modi government.

The plan, to save the lions from a disaster that could wipe them out in one go, involved relocating five of them from Gir to a 300 sqkm forest at Kunopalpur in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh.

As many as 30 villages falling within the identified area were relocated in 2003, but the plan mooted by the Wildlife Institute of India and accepted by the Centre is still hanging fire. A petition filed by Bio-diversity Conservation Trust of India through counsel Ritwick Datta alleged that the main reason for the stalling of the plan was the U-turn by the Narendra Modi government.

When amicus curiae Raj Panjwani brought this matter to the notice of a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran, it sought the views of both state governments as well as the National Board for Wildlife within four weeks.

Appearing for the Gujarat government, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi said the state's opposition to the plan was based on environmental grounds. He said even wildlife experts felt that lions could not be relocated to experimental surroundings already inhabited by tigers.

"The experts feel that tigers and lions can never co-exist in the wild," he said, rejecting the argument of the petitioner that the Gujarat government had changed its stand due to the ensuing assembly elections.

Madhya Pradesh's counsel Vibha Makhija said that she would ascertain the views of the state government and file a response even as the Bench said: "The plan appears to safeguard the Asiatic lions from perishing altogether as they live in groups within the confines of Gir forest."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Centre wants to shift lions outside state to save them from extinction


Centre wants to shift lions outside state to save them from extinction

Indian Express By Tanvir A. Siddiqui

Ahmedabad, November 25; The Centre is contemplating shifting some of the lions from Gir to other parts in India. Officials say the single population in Gir faces risk of extinction in the event of any outbreak of virus or any other deadly disease. This is why the Gir lions, the only remaining Asiatic lion species, should have habitats far and apart, said Meena Gupta, Union Forest and Environment Secretary.

But the state government is opposing the proposal tooth and nail despite the death of a number of lions in the region in the recent past due to reasons as diverse as electrocution, or falling into a well.

Elsewhere, Gupta, who is now in Ahmedabad to attend an international conference on environmental education, is convinced that the state government will see logic in her arguments and give the matter more thought in the interest of the survival of this rare species.

She said the Centre was optimistic about convincing the Gujarat government about shifting some big cats from the Gir sanctuary to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh. In an informal chat during the fourth International Conference on Environmental Education (ICEE) here on Sunday, Gupta said she was aware of the fact that Gir being the only natural abode of Asiatic Lion in the world, it was the USP of Gujarat as far as tourism was concerned. However, for the benefit of these lions, it was necessary to shift some of them from Gujarat. She said the Centre was hopeful of successfully setting up another reserve for Asiatic Lions outside Gujarat.

Gupta said the Centre was in continuous correspondence with the state government on the subject and the last exchange of letters took place about a month back.

In the letter, the State Environment and Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel had said that shifting of the lions out of Gujarat was not necessary because the Gir environment was suitable for them and secondly, their area was not limited.

Gupta said attempts to convince Gujarat on this have so far not been successful, but the Centre was keeping its options open. If shifting of some of these big cats did not materialise, then the animals would be procured from other zoos and would be given a suitable environment to multiply.

She further said the government was well aware of the difficulties involved with shifting such large animals, but it was necessary for the sake of the survival of the species. “We must think of the future when the space for them is going to be limited, which would reduce possibility of expansion,” she said.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

19-11-2007Farmers demand electric supply during the day time due to Asiatic Lion's fear


Farmers demand electric supply during the day time due to Asiatic Lion’s fear

Divya Bhasker (Briefly Translated from Gujarati)

Electric power for irrigation is provided to farmers of Maliya Hatina Taluka during night time which has increased difficulty for farmers. Lions straying outside forest in to farm lands and nearby village areas is very common. It being nocturnal animal wanders in these farm lands. Hence farmers are scarred to irrigate their farms during night time. Hence they have demanded electric power during day time to avoid going to their farms during night time. The demand is put forward by Farmer’s union before the PGVCL (Power Company) authorities.

Kishore Kotecha’s comment: I do agree with farmer’s demand. Giving electric power during day time will help reduce lion-animal conflict.

Religious people angry with forest department


Religious people angry with forest department

Gujarat Samachar (Briefly Translate from Gujarati)

This time every year lacs of religious people travel around the foot of Girnar Hill (called as Parikrama). The route of this track passes through the Girnar forest. About 18 – 20 Asiatic lions reside in this Girnar forest. There are many religious Trusts and NGOs who put up camps along the tracks and provide the devotees with free food and water. Till last year forest department allowed such NGOs to collect dry wood for fire to cook the food. But this year forest department has denied use of the wood.

Due to this NGOs have to bring wood on camel backs from distant city of Junagadh.

Kishore Kotecha’s comment: I appreciate such a bold step by forest department. In fact such tracks should be moved outside the forest. Most of these so-called devotees do not behave themselves while tracking.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Leopard kills three-year-old at Talala


Leopard kills three-year-old at Talala

Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 18 A leopard killed a three-year boy of a migrant labourer some 20 kilometres away from Talala town here. The incident occurred in a sugarcane farm located on the outskirts of Bhimdeval village. Later, the leopard was caught and brought to the animal rescue centre at Sasan Gir Forest headquarters.

The leopard attacked three-year-old Tejas (3), while he was sleeping by his mother’s side in a makeshift tent in a sugarcane field. The leopard snatched the boy from his mother and disappeared within moments in the nearby fields.

During this scuffle, the boy’s mother was awakened and resisted the leopard, but in vain.

Later, the victim’s father and other labourer families from nearby sugarcane fields started searching for the boy.

In the morning, labourers found some bloodspots in a nearby field. Forest officials from the Talala range forest office rushed to the spot and began a search operation, and recovered the boy’s body from the nearby field. The leopard had crushed the boy’s head and left part of the body. The boy’s remains were dispatched to the Talala community health centre for post mortem.

According to sources, the labourer family had migrated here some 20 days ago from Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district. The family were a resident of Dungerpatira village of Yaval taluka.

Officials further said this was the second such incident of a leopard killing a boy. Earlier in August, a 12-year-boy was killed at Aamodra Village in Una Taluka.

When contacted, deputy conservator of forest (Gir west) BP Pati confirmed the incident and said: “After the dead body was recovered, we laid four traps in the surrounding sugarcane fields and exactly at the same place from where the body was recovered. Later in the late evening, the leopard was trapped in a cage.”

The caged leopard has now been shifted to the animal rescue centre at Sasan Gir forest quarter, where it would now spend its remaining life in captivity.

Pati said the leopard possibly mistook the boy for a goat or any other animal.

“The incident occurred in the dark. Makeshift tent in which the labourer family was sleeping had no light and no door.

“More then 150 leopards have been sheltering in revenue area out side the Gir forest, in sugarcane fields particularly in three taluka namely Una, Talala and Kodinar,” he said.

He further said the victim’s family would be paid a compensation of Rs 1 lakh as per the government’s existing guidelines.

Leopard kill 3 year old boy near Gir forest


Leopard kill 3 year old boy near Gir forest

Gujarat Samachar & Divya Bhaskar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)


A poor family of from state of Maharashtra had come to work in a sugarcane farm in the Bhimdeval village near Gir forest in Talala Taluka. The little boy was sleeping with his mother in a kaccha hutment in the farm. Early morning the leopard picked the boy and ran away. Courageously mother hit blows on the leopard but in vein.


The incidence was reported to Gujarat Forest Department. Following the blood stains officers found the dead body without head and right hand about 1.5 km away from the place of incidence.


The victim boy was Tejas son of Dilip Bareiya. The incidence happened in Dineshbhai Bhagwanbhai Kavra. Another news paper has stated that the leopard is caught in cages laid by the forest department.

Saturday, November 17, 2007




The Supreme Court today heard at length the issue of relocation of Lions from Gujarat to its proposed second home at Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. This was in response to a petition filed by the Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India (BCTI) through its trustee Faiyaz Khudsar and represented by Advocate Raj Panjwani and Ritwick Dutta.

Arguing before the Bench headed by Chief Justice, Raj Panjwani informed the Court, that the issue is of prime importance given the fact that the entire wild population of the species in at one location and a single epidemic could wipe out the whole species. Further, detail studies were conducted on the feasibility of the area and over 24 villages have been relocated successfully from the Kuno Sanctuary. Thus as per the Report of the Wildlife Institute of India, the area can take in the first batch of Lions to begin with from 2008. The second phase of the project should have been over which includes translocation and unfortunately due to the objections of the state of Gujarat to transfer of the lions, the historic project has been almost stalled. It was further, pointed out that over 15 crores have been spent on the project and it will all go waste if the Lions are not translocated. The Chief Justice sought clarification as the number of lions which are required as well as the prey base for the same.   The court was informed as per studies, there are enough prey base for the first lot of lions and in addition to natural preys, there are also feral cattle which will serve as a buffer prey for the lions.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has filed an affidavit wherein it stated that the Minister for Environment and Forests, Government of India has written to the Chief Minister of Gujarat. However, the Forest Minister of the Government of Gujarat declined to part with any of the lions.

The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Government of Gujarat on the issue and has posted it for further hearing on the 30th of November, 2007

Source: Priyabrata Satapathy, Member, Legal Initiative for Forest & Environment (LIFE)

C- 86, Lower Ground Floor, East of Kailash, New Delhi-65, Tele fax- 011- 46570551, 46570552, email-

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tremor-struck villagers now have wild animals for company


Tremor-struck villagers now have wild animals for company

Indian Express By:Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 7 A day after the tremors everything seems displaced in the three worst affected villages of Hiranvel, Chitrawad and Haripur in Talala taluka of Junagadh district. About 6,300 villagers have been forced to move out in the open, and what they fear more than the quakes now, are the wild animals. All these villages are located on the periphery of Gir forest where lions and leopards venturing out into the open are a common feature.

"All the houses have developed major cracks. One more jerk, and they'll collapse. We have no other option us but to sleep in the open. We have learnt to cohabit with wild animals, but sleeping in the open is fraught with danger," said Imtiyaz Majgul, a Sidi tribal man and a resident of Chitrawad village.

When contacted, District Collector Ashwini Kumar said, "There is no need to panic. The administration is monitoring the situation and has taken adequate action."

"Out of all the villages, Hiranvel is the worst affected with over a dozen houses damaged beyond repair. Fifty other houses have suffered major damages. All the 65 families here have been provided with individual tents, while in Chitrawad and Haripur villages, peoples have been provided temporary shelter in groups."

When contacted, Talala taluka Mamalatdar Amee Doshi said, "Out of the 950 people in Hiranvel village, 250 have taken shelter in tents provided by the administration, while others have moved over to their relatives in nearby villages," she said.

According to Talala taluka Development Official R J Vyas, a damage survey has been initiated in the affected villages for which 10 teams have been pressed into service since morning. The primary report is expected within the next two days."

"According to our primary survey, about 210 houses have suffered major to minor damages in the five villages. Sixty houses in Hiranvel, 50 in Haripur, 60 in Chitrawad, 25 in Sangodra, and 15 in Bhalchhel village have developed cracks after Tuesday's tremors," Vyas said.

Since Tuesday morning, more then 130 aftershocks have been reported from Talala taluka.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lion show up very near to Una Town


Lion show up very near to Una Town

Divya Bhaskar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

Today evening a lion was sitting on the compound wall of a sugar factory on Gadhada road on the outskirts of Una Town. This is for the first time the lion has been sited so near to such mini-urban town. The sugar factory is non-operational since many years. Lots of people gather to do Sinh-Darshan. Due to this lion was scarred and it ran away in to the jungle.

Happy Diwali and Proseprous New Year

Dear all,


Happy Diwali to you and your family.


May this festival of light and the New Year bring happiness and success to you.


God Bless...


Warm regards,


Kishore Kotecha & Family

Kotecha Builders P. Ltd ~ Wildlife Conservation Trust

128 Star Plaza, Phulchhab Chowk, Rajkot 360001, Gujarat

Mob: +91 98240 62062, Off: +91 281 2444074, Fax: 2477769

Em:  Web:

News Blog:

P Save a tree - please do not print this email unless you really need to. Together let us save Nature.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

River water splashes; (Asiatic) Lion does strange sounds


River water splashes; (Asiatic) Lion does strange sounds

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

After earthquake in Junagadh district flowing water in river in Ladudi village of Maliya taluka splashed two feet high.

Human beings came to know about the earth quake after it happened but wild animals came to know about it even before its happening. A farmer, Haji Kanabhai Baloch has farmland in Chuldi village in Maliya Hatina Taluka. He informed newspaper office that today in the morning at his farmland there was a lion under the bushes. Suddenly it stood up and started doing strange sounds. It appeared that this was not normal roar or challenge call but he sounded as if it was frightened of something.

Kishore Kotecha's comment: I believe this story and also strongly believe that animals do have sixth-sense that makes them aware about natural calamities before they occur.

Quake gives festive city jitters, (Wildlife of Gir Forest safe)


Quake gives festive city jitters, (Wildlife of Gir Forest safe)

AHMEDABAD/RAJKOT: The festive mood took a beating on Monday with two temblors, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale shaking up Junagadh at 5.58 am and 3.08 pm, the second of which rocked Amdavadis too. The epicentre was in Khakhrawada village of Talala taluka in Junagadh district. The temblors also shook up Saurashtra and Surat.

Panic spread in certain areas of Ahmedabad in the afternoon after people who watched windows rattle, vessels fall off the shelves and the ground rumble beneath their feet realised it was a tremor.

Heavy rainfall activating the fractured Deccan basalt rocks in Saurashtra was the main reason behind the two temblors in Talala taluka. Sources in the Institute of Seismological Research (ISR), Gandhinagar, said, “Nearly 80 per cent of Saurashtra is covered by Deccan basalt rock. This was the main reason for the past tremors too.”

Reports from Junagadh said a 78-year-old woman died due to head injuries and three others sustained minor injuries in Hiranvel village of Talala taluka where nearly 50 houses were damaged. The huts in three other villages — Sasan, Amrutvel and Chitrad — too have suffered cracks.

While 5.1 magnitude was reported by United States Geological Survey (USGS) Eathquake Hazards Program, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) mentioned the earthquakes were of 4.9 and 4.8 magnitude, respectively.

People in Veraval, Rajkot, Bagasara, Amreli, Maliya, Sasan Gir area, Gondal, Jetpur and Visavadar reported tremors. Also people living in Surat and Ahmedabad too felt the tremors in the afternoon.

Chief conservator of forest (Sasan Gir) Bharat Pathak, who is at present in Rajasthan, told TOI over phone that he had inquired about the wildlife in Gir and no untoward incident has been reported from there as per the preliminary reports.

Following Quoted from Indian Express

“GSDMA CEO Rajesh Kishore told this newspaper here this evening that the Forest Department’s buildings in Sasan, Amrutvel and Chitravad villages located within the Gir lion sanctuary had also developed cracks due to the impact of the earthquake.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lioness carcass found in Chuldi Village


Lioness carcass found in Chuldi Village

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

A body of lioness of about 7 – 8 years has been found in a farmland in Chuldi Village near Malilya in Junagadh district. Primary opinion of forest department for cause of death is snake bite. Body has been sent to FSL for further postmortem.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lion's death: Seven more arrested


Lion’s death: Seven more arrested

Indian Express: By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 4 Forest officials have arrested seven more persons in connection with the death of a lion by electrocution in July 2006. The officials had arrested one person on November 1 and were looking for the other accused.

The accused had tied the carcass of the lion with a big stone and thrown it into Vrijmi dam on the outskirts of Amarapur (Gir) village near Malia-Hatina town in Junagadh district in July 2002. The seven were arrested on Sunday on the basis of the details revealed by Daya Lakshman arrested earlier.

Range Forest Officer (Malia-Hatina) L V Chavda said, "The seven accused will be produced before the court of judicial magistrate on Monday. All the accused have confessed to their crime and told us about their roles in the electrocution of the lion and the subsequent throwing of the carcass into the dam water.'' He said that the statements of the accused had been registered and that they would seek 15-day remand for them.

The seven accused are Manji Lakha, his brothers Ravji and Dhiru, sons Bhikha and Sanjay, and two others_ Bharat Daya and Kishor Kala. Manji is the husband of Amarapur sarpanch Kanchanben and he is also the BJP's elected member of Malia-Hatina taluka panchayat.

In connection with the October 19 incident in which the carasses of five lions were recovered from the outskirts of Prempara village near Dhari in Amreli district, the four accused have been sent on judicial custody. The Judicial Magistrate (First Class) court of Dhari had rejected their bail application.

Later, on Friday, two of the accused _Ravji Hirani and Bhala Parmar_ approached the court at Rajula but this court also rejected their bail application. In the Rajula court, another application requesting a stay on the Dhari court order on narca-analysis for the prime accused is pending.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki said, "Now, prime accused Durlabhji Vadodaria has approached Rajula court and demanded a stay on his narco-analysis. Hearing for the same has been fixed on November 6.''

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has said that they will hold agitation against forest department from November 9 highlighting the issue of deaths of lions and also undue harassment of farmers by officials. The BKS units at Dhari, Khambha, and Talala have already submitted memorandums to range forest offices in this connection.

The memorandum reads: "The forest department has failed to provide adequate safety and security to the lions. We demand that 15-feet high walls be built surrounding the entire Gir forest." The memorandum also alleged that forest officials were wrongfully harassing the farmers in connection with death of lions.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

15 months after (Asiatic) Lion's death, 1 held


15 months after (Asiatic) Lion’s death, 1 held

Indian Express By Sibte Husain Bukhari

Junagadh, November 1 Fifteen months after a lion’s carcass was tied with a big stone and thrown into Vrijmi dam near Dhari in Amreli district, forest officials have arrested one person in the case. The lion had died after coming in contact with an electrified fence and the person responsible for it had thrown its carcass in an attempt to destroy the evidence.

On October 19 this year, five lions were electrocuted on the outskirts of Prempara village near Dhari under Gir East Forest Division.

The court has permitted the Forest Department to subject the accused to narco analysis to ascertain the truth.

According to details, the carcass of a lion was found floating in the waters of Vrijmi dam on the outskirts of Amrapur (Gir) village in Malia-Hatine taluka of Junagadh district in July last year. Though officials suspected foul play in the incident, they could not ascertain the exact reason behind the death,

In the 15 months of investigations in the case, officials said there are at least six people — all family members of Amrapur’s woman sarpanch—¿ involved in the crime.

Range Forest Officer (Malia-Hatina) L V Chavda said while one person had been arrested, they were looking for the other five.

According to Chavda, the accused have been identified as Daya Lakhman, Manji Lakha, his brothers Rava and Dhiru, and two sons Sanjay and Bhikha.

Only Daya Lakhman has been arrested and booked under Rule 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

While Lakhman confessed to the crime, he also revealed the names of the other accused.

According to sources, the accused persons are family members of sarpanch Kanchanben, who is the wife of prime accused Manji Lakha. Manji is also an elected member of Malia-Hatina taluka panchayat. “Five accused are still at large, but we will nab them within a day or two,” Chavda added.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Squads to identify electrified Gir fences


Squads to identify electrified Gir fences

Indian Express By Bashir Pathan

Gandhinagar, October 31 Even as the Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Gujarat Government on a petition seeking steps taken in Gir forest to check large scale poaching and to fence open wells to save Asiatic lions, the state Forest department and Paschim Gujarat Vij Company have launched a joint operation to identify electrified fences being erected by farmers in this region.

With the financial support of some prominent corporate houses, the Forest department and other agencies have also intensified the work on constructing parapets around farm wells located in areas outside the Gir sanctuary to prevent the recurring incidents of Asiatic lions falling in open wells.

“The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the government, but we are yet to receive it. We have already asked our government lawyer Hemantika Vahi in Delhi to send a copy of the notice. As soon as the government obtains a copy of the notice, we will file our response to it,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Pradeep Khanna.

Responding to a petition filed in the SC following a recent incident in which three lions and two cubs were electrocuted in the Gir Sanctuary (East) division, the apex court has sought responses from the Centre as well as the Gujarat Government on what measures they were taking to save Asiatic lions from extinction.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SC orders CBI enquiry into the poaching of Gir lion


SC orders CBI enquiry into the poaching of Gir lion


New Delhi, Oct 29: The Supreme Court today issued notices to centre and State of Gujarat on a petition seeking CBI enquiry into the illegal poaching of lions in Gir sanctuary in Gujarat.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran issued notices on a petition filed by Elephant G Rajendran, an advocate, who alleged that the lions were being killed as their bones are in big demand in China and these bones and jaws of the lions fetch a hefty price for poachers who indulge in this illegal killing of animals with active connivance of forest officials.

Out of 1,421 sq km forest area, Gir lion sanctuary is bred in 300 sq km area and is the only sanctuary for the Asiatic lions.

According to the petitioner, there are 300 wells without parapet walls and many lions have fallen in the wells in search of water. In 2000, there were 359 lions in the sanctuary and now only 350 are left. Recently, three lions were found dead under mysterious circumstances in the sanctuary.

The petitioner has urged the court to order an investigation either by CBI or state CBCID to punish the culprits and also to save the king of the forest from being extinct.

SC notice to Centre, Gujarat on lion deaths


The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses of the Centre and Gujarat government on a petition seeking steps in Gir forest to contain large scale poaching and to fence open wells to save Asiatic lions from extinction.

Advocate E G Rajendran argued before a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice R V Raveendran that poaching was rampant in the Gir forests, the last habitat of lions in Asia, as animal parts were in great demand in neighbouring China.

He said the lion population, which was estimated at several thousand a hundred years ago, had fallen to 359 in 2000. The number was still shrinking due to poaching and the presence of open wells in the Gir forest, he said.

"The reserve forest contains more than 300 wells without parapet walls and due to inadequate provision of water, the lions jump into these wells to quench their thirst only to meet a watery grave," he said.

He said around 8,000 people were living inside the sanctuary and sought a direction to the state government to immediately rehabilitate them outside the Gir forest.

Lioness attacks forester in Devaliya Park in Sasan


Lioness attacks forester in Devaliya Park in Sasan

Divya Bhasker (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

A lioness in Devaliya Park has attacked a forester while he was showing the pride to tourists. It is for the first time that such an incidence has happened in Devaliya Park. The reason for such behaviour or attack is not known. Forester is Dhirubhai Hamirbhai Dhabhi and is 45 years old. The attack was constantly for 10 minutes. His fellow collegues sprayed dust in to the eyes of lioness and with much difficulty forester was saved.


A man caught wearing Tiger Claws from Junagadh


A man caught wearing Tiger Claws from Junagadh

Divya Bhasker and Gujarat Samachar (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

A south – Indian man wearing tiger claws was working as labour in Vinayak Solvent on Dhoraji Road in Junagadh. On receiving information CF Shri M M Sharma send Forest department staff and arrested the man. Tiger claw was also recovered and sent to FSL for further investigation.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Court rejects accused's bail plea, paves way for narco-analysis test


Court rejects accused’s bail plea, paves way for narco-analysis test

Ahmedabad Newsline By Sibte Hussaqin Bukhari

Junagadh, September 25; considering the gravity of the incident, in which five lions died due to electrocution near Dhari on October 19, the Dhari court on Wednesday, dismissed the bail plea of all the four accused and sent them to judicial custody. Besides, the court has also given nod to conduct narco-analysis test on the prime accused.

On October 19, Forest officials had arrested four accused and booked them under various provision of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The next day, the accused were produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) at Dhari which put them in the custody of Forest Department for three days.

After completion of the remand, the accused were again produced before the court on October 24. The accused are _ Durlabhaji Vadodaria, his son Purshottam, Ravji Hirani and Bhala Parmar.

According to details, prime accused Durlabhaji had put up an electric fence surrounding his agricultural land to protect the standing crop from wild animals. His farm is located on the outskirts of Prempara village, some two km away from Dhari town, where the headquarters of Gir East Forest Division is located.

Five lions, including three lionesses of about 8 to 10 years of age, and two cubs of less than one year of age, were electrocuted and died on the spot. Later in an attempt to destroy the evidences, Durlabhaji and his son Purshottam buried the carcasses with the help of other two accused in their agriculture field.

According to Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki, “A total of 88 claws of the five lions were recovered while two claws are still missing. The accused’s possible connection with Madhya Pradesh tribal gang is under scanner.”

Lion is enlisted as Schedule-1 animal under the Wildlife Act, and killing of this wild animal is a non-bailable offence. And the punishment for the offence ranges from three to seven years of imprisonment and with a fine of Rs 25,000, Solanki said.

“We suspect Durlabhaji is hiding the truth. It requires more then half a dozen persons to bury five carcasses. So there may be more than four people involved in this offence,” Solanki said.

The court accepted investigation officer’s plea to conduct prime accused’s narco-analysis test. “We have already intimated the forensic officials for the test, and after receiving the date, we will proceed for accused’s narco-analysis test,” Solanki added.

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