Monday, February 26, 2007

Open wells claim lives of two Asiatic Lion cubs and one leopard in Gir

Source: Translated from Gujarat Samachar Date: 26-2-2007


Rajkot; Sunday; There are frequent incidences of deaths of lions, lion cubs, leopard and other animals by falling in open wells near Gir forest. At the time of such incidences, forest department only requests and appeals open-well owners instead of taking strong legal action which has lead to death of two lion cubs and one leopard by falling in open wells in village Nani Dhari near Dalkhaniya.


It is reported that two lion cubs, about 1 to 1.5 months old, fell into 60feet deep open well of farm land owned by Jilbhai Jebaliya in village Nani Dhari in Dalkhaniya range on Dhari-Khambha Road at 6 km from Gir sanctuary. Water level in this well was 10 -15 feet.


A pride of two female lions along with four cubs was living in this farm land. Lions had killed one male blue bull two three days back. Tire marks of a four wheel vehicle were also seen in this private land. A inquiry is also being done about this four wheel vehicle.


In a separate incidence a leopard died by falling in to open well in farm land of Nanubhai Samjibhai in Linepara area of Dhari.


Kishore Kotecha’s comment:

As most of the open-wells are situated outside forest border, in revenue area, Forest Department can not take legal action on open-well owners. Hence it would not be correct to blame Forest Dept. for such incidences. Only Govt. of Gujarat can pass some legislation to cover such wells and stop such incidences. Also Govt. of India can give financial aid which would help covering such deaths. Money spent by Govt. of India on lions is only a fraction of amount spent behind tigers!!


Also NGO’s from western world should come forward in such a noble cause to help in construction compound wall surround such open wells. Most of the farmer are poor and hence cannot afford such expense of construction. Also few NGOs believe that if existing open wells are covered it would not solve the problem as new open wells would be dug. But in reality, new open wells are not being dug now-a-days as boring is quite cheaper option for getting underground water.


Kishore Kotecha
Asiatic Lion Protection Society
Rajkot 360001 India,

Friday, February 16, 2007

Man-animal conflicts? Vanishing Herds Foundation to rescue of Asiatic Lion

Source: Ahmedabad Newsline Date: 16-2-2007  By: D P Bhattacharya


GIR: Foundation’s project to barricade wells in Amreli already on


Ahmedabad, February 15: To reduce mortality rate of Gir’s Asiatic lions and bring down frequency of man-animal conflicts, the State Forest Department and the Vanishing Herds Foundation (VHF) have come up with a number of measures keeping in mind the concerns of locals living in the vicinity of the Gir Sanctuary.


According to VHF governing body member Arobinda Sinha Roy, the VHF has begun a project to construct barricades around open wells in Amreli district. “Open wells in Saurashtra region do not have protective walls around them,” said Sinha Roy adding that in recent years, 20 lions and cubs have died after falling into wells. The project began in 2006. So far, we have barricaded 12 wells in Amreli district. By March 2007, we hope to complete barricading at least 100 wells. After that, we will focus on barricading 250 wells every 12 months,” said Sinha Roy.


The State Forest Department has been helping the VHF identify the wells, he said adding: “Our strategy is simple. Once a well has been identified, we enter into an agreement with villagers, who then construct the walls. We provide the money and monitor the construction.”


The VHF has also placed a global positioning system (GPS) along the wells for audit purposes. “The project is quite challenging as construction of each barricade involves expenditure of approximately Rs 12,000. There are around 1,000 open wells in Amreli district alone,” he added. Moving on to incidents of man-animal conflict, Sinha Roy said, “Lions venturing out of Gir more often than not target livestock of maldharis. The attack on cattle often provokes maldharis to poison or electrocute the lions. There are around 7,500 people and 14,000 livestock in the area around the Gir sanctuary.”


According to Sinha Roy, man-animal conflicts can be attributed to delay in compensation to people whose kin or livestock die in man-animal conflicts or are carried away by lions.


“The compensation offered by the government takes about six to seven months to reach the people. The VHF is planning to set up its own ‘float fund’ of Rs 5-6 lakh so that people are compensated in a week’s time. An MoU is being worked out with the State Forest Department in this regard. The MoU proposes that as soon as a ‘kill’ is surveyed by the forest department outside the protected area, the VHF will be given a copy of the order. The foundation would then settle claims within two-three days, for which it would be reimbursed by the government. We feel that such a measure would go a long way in minimising man-animal conflicts,” he said.


Confirming this, State Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Pradip Khanna said that while the department had increased the compensation amount by about 40 per cent for ‘kills’ made by lions last year, the tie-up with VHF would help in speedy disbursal of the same.


Saving Gir’s Asiatic lions to be focus of symposium

ANIMAL conservation experts from around the world and the State Forest Department will come out with strategies to protest the Asiatic lion in Gujarat, during a two-day symposium which begins on February 27. The symposium has been organised by the Vanishing Herds Foundation (VHF). VHF governing board member Arobinda Sinha Roy said that the Foundation felt that access to latest global expertise on conservational methodologies would be of great importance. “Firstly, at least three major roads pass through the area protected for the lions. Secondly, as many as 8,00,000 people visit four temples in the area on an annual basis, causing pollution. Inbreeding of lions is a major issue, too,” he said adding that in order to restore the species as many as 250 pairs of lions are needed.



Kishore Kotecha's comments on this article:


Dear all,


Efforts of Vanishing Heard Foundation are not only worth appreciating but deserves millions of best wishes from Asiatic Lion Fans. I would be thankful to any of you in contact with this foundation to convey my message to their Governing body.


Also, they seem to have a good financial resource. I strongly recommend to them to do a survey on whether few Asiatic lion pairs should be translocated to Kuno Palpur MP or not? The survey should be done throughout the globe by electronic mail amongst conservationists, cat specialists and wildlife organisations. The result might be eye-opener for everybody.


Kishore Kotecha

Asiatic Lion Protection Society – Rajkot


Find Everything about ASIATIC LION & GIR at

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another safety net for lions in Gir

Ahmedabad Newsline Date 14-2-2007



Gandhinagar, February 13: It’s a roar of a move by the Gujarat Government. In a bid to mobilise additional resources for conservation of Asiatic Lion and its associate flora and fauna in the Gir National Park and adjoining areas, the State Government has decided to set up a separate autonomous body called “Gujarat Lion Conservation Society” to be registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act (XXI), 1860.


The other main functions of the Society will be to mobilise and provide all necessary inputs for the protection and management of Gir and adjoining meta-population of Asiatic Lions, and also facilitate the development and maintenance of captive gene pool at selected sites in and around the Gir forests.


State Forest and Environment Minister Mangubhai Patel has already cleared the file containing a proposal to form the Society. As soon as a government resolution (GR) on this is issued, expectedly sometime this week, we will initiate the process of getting the Society registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act”, sources in the State Forest Department said on Tuesday.


Confirming this development, State Forest Minister Patel told The Indian Express, “The decision to set up the Society assumes a great significance in the wildlife area, for it will not only help protect and conserve the Asiatic Lion in Gir and its expanding territory, but also fetch funds from the national as well as international agencies like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCNNR) for conservation and protection of Big Cats”.


Under the autonomous body, the Forest Department will carry out research activity for conservation of the Big Cat and its habitat, and also launch eco-development, eco-tourism and conservation awareness programmes. It will generate funds through the various sources : membership fees, donations, endowments, bequests, gifts, contributions, adoptions etc from/by national and international agencies, grants (both recurring and non-recurring) from the State and Central Governments and local self-government bodies.


There is also provision for individual and institutional membership of the Society, with annual and life membership fees for an individual being fixed at Rs 250 and Rs 5,000, and Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh for institutional member in that order. Any India citizen, and institution, corporation, company or organisation constituted under relevant laws and interested in pursuing and promoting the objectives of the Society shall be eligible for its membership, informs a senior Forest official.


The Society will have a 16-member executive committee under the chairmanship of a Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, while the Conservator of Forests, Wildlife Circle (Junagadh) will be its member secretary and chief executive officer (CEO).


The government will also nominate two NGOs on the committee that will be empowered to collect and/or generate resources and funds on behalf of the Society, and will also coordinate and exercise supervision of its activities.


The total area of Gir Lion National Park and Sanctuary is 1,412 sq kms, which is the habitat for as many as 359 Asiatic Lions. Keeping in view the number of Big Cats increasing every census, the government has decided to expand the their home territory, with 192 sq kms of the Barda forests and hilly terrains having already been identified and earmarked as additional habitat for lions.


“At present, the Forest Department gets only about Rs 4 crore per year from the State Government, and another Rs 40 lakh from the Centre to maintain the Gir National Park and Sanctuary.


Over half of the funds goes into the recurring expenditure, including the salaries of about 300 forest staff employed there. This is too meagre an amount to carry out protection and conservation activities in the Girl forests - the only habitat for Asiatic Lions.


Hope, the Society will help the department generate adequate funds”, explains a senior official.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

No Shifting (Asiatic Lions) from Gujarat, PM told

Source: Time of India - Ahmedabad Edition February 1, 2007


Rajkot / Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government has stated that it will not shift a single Gir lion to the Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.


The state government mad its stance clear during the two advisor y committee meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently. Official sources said the issue was brought up during the meeting but Gujarat made it clear that they were in no mood to transfer lions to Madhya Pradesh.


Officials argued that the climate at Kuno-Palpur did not suit Asiatic Lions. State forest and environment minister Mangubhai Patel told ToI, “The government will be duty bound to transfer the animal if the Prime Minister orders it”.


The forest department has already started developing the 192 Sq Km at Barda Dungar in Saurashtra as an alternative site for the big cats who may find the Gir sanctuary congested. Patel said that at present there are 359 lions in Gir’s 1450 sq km area which includes 18km of  Mityala area. He said that some of the lions would be moved to Barda Dungar within a year to ease the congestion in Gir.


He also said the population of deer, spotted deer and rabbits has been increased at the new site so that the lions find enough prey by the time they are shifted.

Gir lions to find new abode at Barda Hills

Source: Express News Service  Thursday February 1, 2007


Gandhinagar, January 31: In a tactical move which may water down the argument to shift the Gir lion to Madhya Pradesh, the State Government has decided to introduce big cats to the region of Barda Hills lying between Porbandar and Jamnagar.


Declared a sanctuary sometime ago, the 192.35 sq km of undulating terrain resembles Sasan, but is yet to get its share of lion population.


We would be introducing five pairs of lion in the next few months in Barda," said State Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel addressing newspersons at his office on Wednesday.


The State Forest Department had proposed Barda as an alternative site for the expansion of home for the Asiatic lion. As a preparation for this, breeding centre for antelopes and hare was started sometime ago. The region already has a healthy population of blue bull and wild boar.


Though the population of lions from Gir has spread outside Sasan (Junagadh) to satellite areas of Mitiyala, Girnar, and Hipavadi, the cats in these regions have always been connected with the main population in Gir sanctuary.


With Barda at a distance of 130 km with no corridors to Gir, it would help develop and independent lion region in the State, said officials, adding that given the emotions involved, no one in the State is ready shift lions to MP.


"The shifting of lions to MP has failed twice in 1974 and 1981. The government is not ready for another chance," said a senior official.


The minister said apart from Barda, the area between Savarkundla and Mahuva spread over 125 sq km too was being strengthened as a lion habitat. As of now, Asiatic lion population is spread over 1450 sq km in the State, with the last census pegging the figure at 359.

Previous Posts