Friday, September 28, 2007

WCT Signs MoU for barricading 101 open wells to save Asiatic Lion

Hi Friends

On 26th September 2007, our organisation, Wildlife Conservation Trust signed a MoU with Gujarat Forest Department to barricade 101 open wells in Gir area. The highlights of this MoU are:

-         We will be doing 101 wells in coming 2 months. Work has started from 22nd Sept 2007. We are the first organisation to start work and sign MoU.

-         The RCC barricade design is designed by us, which is economical, fast to install and sturdy compared to normal limestone barricade. (Any one interested to know more about this design may write to us).

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition (front page) and Indian Express gave good coverage to the news. These are attached hereunder.


Kishore Kotecha, Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rajkot  Mob:098240 62062




Saving Asiatic Lions: Open wells in Gir to be covered

Indian Express

In what could be an important step towards conservation of Asiatic Lions, the state forest department and NGO Wild Life Conservation Trust (Rajkot) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cover thousands of open wells located at the periphery of Gir Sanctuary. The wells often turn out to be watery graves for wild cats.

According to the forest department, around 8,778 open wells are located within the six-km periphery of the sanctuary. A total of 47 lions have fallen victim to open wells over the past six years. Of these, 24 cases proved fatal. A number of leopards, too, have died in a similar manner.

The total cost of building a parapet on a well has been estimated to be Rs 10,000.

According to the MoU, the forest department would provide a subsidy of Rs 4,000 for erecting parapets on wells. The remaining expense of Rs 6,000 will be borne by WLCT, said president Kishore Kotecha.

Deputy Forest Officer A Atara said very few wells in and around sanctuary areas have parapets. “As many as 24 lions have died after falling into wells over the past six years. Parapets on wells is one of the most urgently required steps to save lions.”

The WLTC aims to cover 101 wells in Kotda, Palia, Chanchi and Dalkhania villages in Paliya beat in Dhari range as part of its first phase of construction work. It began construction of parapets on September 22, and the work is expected to be over by November-end.

Kotecha said WLTC has worked out a new design for parapets wherein RCC plates would be used in place of sandstone. The new design has brought down the construction cost by 50 per cent, he added.

WLCT has also instituted annual awards with cash prize for outstanding work in the field of lion conservation in various categories, including contribution by beat guard, forest officials, schoolchildren, teacher and the best research on Gir Sanctuary or Asiatic Lions.

NGOs, corporates give lions wall cover


Times of India, Front Page

RAJKOT/AHMEDABAD: Over 8,000 open wells in Gir forest that claimed the lives of 24 Asiatic lions during the past six years, will finally have parapet walls, courtesy corporates and NGOs.

A MoU for this purpose has been signed with Rajkot-based NGO Wild Life Conservation Trust (WLCT) for construction of parapets on 100 wells during the current fiscal, said Bharat Pathak, conservator of forest (Gir). He added that parapets on 1,500 wells will be constructed this fiscal itself.

Corporates, including Reliance, Ambuja Cement, Tatas and Shell, besides leading wildlife conservation NGOs, have evinced interest in the exercise, which is likely to be finished in three years. As per a survey carried out by the forest department, 8,778 open wells are situated in 158 villages surrounding Gir forest, which pose a grave threat to wild animals. Around 700 wells, located in Gir forest range, have already been covered by the forest department. The most vulnerable for wild animals are wells in Kotda, Paniya, Chanchai and Dalkhania villages where construction of parapets on wells will be taken up on a priority basis. During the past six years 47 lions had fallen into the wells.

According to Pathak, apart from WLCT, Reliance Rural Development Trust (RRDT) and Ambuja Cement would also construct parapets on 2,000 wells. Negotiations were on with few other big corporates for the project, he added.

Additional chief conservator of forest Pradeep Khanna said, "We have prepared two plans. The first is where the government would monitor the process of parapet construction and would give a total of Rs 4,000 per well and the remaining would have to be financed by the NGOs and corporates. In the second model, the NGO would give the money to Lion Conservation Society formed by the state government and the government would take up the construction on behalf of these NGOs or the corporates."

When contacted, RRDT chairman Parimal Nathwani, also group president of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), confirmed that the trust would complete parapet work on 1,500 wells in one year’s time.

WLCT executive director Kishor Kotecha said a design of the parapet wall has been prepared and has been approved by the forest department. According to estimates, each wall will cost around Rs 10,000 out of which forest department will give subsidy of Rs 4,000

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Special Issue of ZOOS' PRINT Magazine as a tribute to Late Shri P P Raval

Special Issue of ZOOS' PRINT Magazine as a tribute to Late Shri P P Raval

Dear Friends,

ZOOS’ PRINT the most prestigious and authentic magazine on wildlife and conservation in South Asia has published a special issue as a tribute to LION MAN of India Late Shri P P Raval. He spent prime time of his life in conservation and protection of Asiatic Lion and Gir. In Ms. Sally’s words, “Another 20 years of Raval would have made even more of a difference to Gujarat forests and wildlife.” I can only say, in 19th centaury Nawab of Junagadh saved Asiatic lions and in 20th century Mr. Raval’s efforts were none-the-less.

I strongly recommend you all not to miss this special issue. Those of you, who have not subscribed to this magazine, may read it online or download from web for free.

I heartily thank Ms. Sally Walker, Editor Emeritus of ZOOS Outreach Organisation and her team for bringing out this Special issue.


Kishore Kotecha

Wildlife Conservation Trust, RajkotGujarat

Mob: +91 98240 62062


From: Sally

Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2007 8:44 PM
Subject: ZOOS PRINT MAGAZINE and JOURNAL October 2007 Contents

Dear colleagues,

The OCTOBER 2007 Special issue “Memories of P.P. Raval, the Lion Man (1951-2006)” of ZOOS'  PRINT [Volume XXII, Number 10] is published and the online version is available free on the web at

ZOOS' PRINT MAGAZINE (ISSN 0971- 6378, ZOOS' PRINT, Volume XXII, Number 10, October 2007 (RNI 9:1))



Memories of P.P. Raval, the LION MAN (1951-2006) Pp. 1-32

PP Raval web.jpg

For more information and various activities of ZOO OUTREACH ORGANISATION Kindly visit our Web sites:                

With best wishes,

Sunday, September 23, 2007

4 abandoned cubs found dead in Gir


4 abandoned cubs found dead in Gir

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, Sptember 22 Four lion cubs abandoned by their mother were found dead in Gir-east forest division while another died while undergoing treatment in Sakkarbaug zoo. Officials have ruled out the possibility of foul play and maintain that all the deaths were natural.

According to details, foresters, while trying to trace an ailing lion, found the carcass of four cubs in Bhuribhekh area under Hadala forest range in Gir-east on Friday. Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir-east), V G Rana said, “Remains of the two cubs, aged four to five months, were found from Hadala forest bit and investigations revealed they had died a week ago. The carcasses of the other two cubs, aged eight to nine months, were also found from same area but from a different location. One cub had reportedly died five days ago while another died just a day ago,” he said.

Samples of the carcass remains have been dispatched to the forensic science laboratory, Junagadh and Anand Veterinary College, for a detailed clinical examination. All the claws of the four cubs have been found to be intact and officials have ruled out any possibility of foul play and maintain that death was natural.

In a separate incident, an abandoned lion cub which was shifted to Sakkarbaug zoo a fortnight ago for treatment died on Friday. The cub was found from Sarasia forest range in Gir-east forest division.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Asiatic Lions: New reserve on the anvil


Asiatic Lions: New reserve on the anvil By Jay Mazoomdaar

Gujarat the only home of the Asiatic lion had until now not agreed to give any of them for a proposed sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, even though the lions in Gir were under threat from poachers, epidemics and natural disasters.

But now the Centre has prepared a fresh blueprint for a backup that won't require Gujarat to release any of its lions.

The 11-year wait for a second home for the endangered Asiatic lion at Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh will soon be over.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Central Zoo Authority have a fresh plan ready.

''We will select pure bred Gir lions from different zoos and these first generation lions will breed in a big natural enclosure which is already there at Kuno-Palpur. We will release herbivores for the second generation lions so that they can hunt and get naturalised. In this process, the third generation lions should be fit to be released in the wild outside the enclosure,'' said Dr Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary, NTCA.

The blueprint will be discussed at the next meeting of the National Board for Wildlife on October 8. Once approved, it will be about four years before the third generation lions can be released in the wild.

But the initiative may raise eyebrows, considering India has opposed the Chinese model of releasing captive-bred tigers into the wild.

''We are identifying pure gene lions and they will be kept off display and bred in natural enclosures with prey species. And the tigers in Chinese farms are victims of severe inbreeding and can hardly be called tigers,'' said Dr B R Sharma, Member Secretary, CZA.

Kuno-Palpur was selected in 1996 as a second home for the lions but the Gujarat government refused to part with them. It was the threat to the lions in Gir that finally got the authorities moving.

''Forget poaching, even an epidemic can wipe out an isolated population. So the idea of a second reserve at Kuno but the Gujarat government never agreed. Now we don't need to wait for them anymore,'' said Dr Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary, NTCA.

If all goes well, the Kuno-Palpur sanctuary will be the Asiatic lion's second home by 2011, unless the Modi government now objects to the very idea of having lions outside Gujarat.

Carcasses of four Cubs found in Gir WLS


Carcasses of four Cubs found in Gir WLS

Gujarat Samachar Pg -1 (Briefly translated from Gujarati)

For the first time in last five years miserable incidence of death of four lion cubs at the same time in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary has been reported.

Only body parts of two cubs are found and are expected to have died a week ago. Hence real cause of death is not known. Twelve claws were missing from the carcass. Age of these cubs is expected to be four – five months.

On Thursday forest guards were combing Bhuribhekh area of Hadada range in Gir (E) to trace an ill lion. At that time dead bodies of two cubs and body-parts of other two cubs were found. Their bodies are assumed to be eaten away by other wild animals.

Dead bodies of other two cubs were also found in the same area. One is expected to have died four – five days before and other one day before. Both these are about eight – nine months of age. One of them is expected to have died because of abases and hemorrhage.

Samples have been sent to Forensic Science Lab in Junagadh and Veterinary College at Anand. Gujarat State forest department has claimed these deaths as natural and due to diseases. Department is also trying to find out exact nature of dieses and whether any other animals are infected due to such disease.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lion blood found in nails of two poachers


Lion blood found in nails of two poachers

Gujarat Samachar (Brief translation from Gujarati)


Eight lions were poached in Gir in Mar-Apr 2007. A gang of MP poachers was caught from Una town. Particles of dry blood of poached lions are found in nails of two men. These tests were done by Forensic Science Lab using special chemicals brought from Calcutta. FSL has handed over the report to CID who is investigating agency in the poaching case.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Once again, Gujarat Govt gets ready to fight relocation of lions


Once again, Gujarat Govt gets ready to fight relocation of lions

Ahmedabad Newsline By Bashir Pathan

Gandhinagar, September 11: EMBATTLED in the recent Gir lion poaching incidents, the Gujarat Government is preparing for another salvo of Madhya Pradesh to relocate some Asiatic lions to Kuno Palpur sanctuary in the neighbouring State. According to Sachivalaya sources, the MP Government has once again started mounting pressure on the Centre to include the controversial proposal of translocation of Gir lions in the agenda of National Board for Wildlife meeting, to be held in New Delhi on October 8.

The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is also the chairman of the NBWL. Among others, the chief wildlife wardens of all the States are members of the Board.

“We are aware that the recent unfortunate poaching incidents may prompt Madhya Pradesh to reiterate its demand to translocate some Gir lions to Kuno Palpur sanctuary, and representatives of the neighbouring State may even rake up this issue at NBWL’s meet. But, we will stick to our earlier stand. We will not shift Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh,” asserts Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel.

Patel told Express Newsline on Tuesday that the State Government had already informed the Union Ministry for Environment and Forest that the MP proposal for relocation of Asiatic lions was not acceptable, and that “our government has already intensified measures to protect the wild cats in and around the Gir sanctuary”.

Gujarat PCCF (Wildlife) Pradeep Khanna, who will attend the NBWL’s meeting in Delhi, said he would hold the government brief and resist any move by his MP counterpart to raise the Gir lion issue during the deliberations at the October 8 meeting.

He said that even at the June 2006 NBWL’s meeting, Madhya Pradesh had raked up this issue which he and another NBWL member from Gujarat G A Patel had vociferously resisted the MP’s move.

Asked, Khanna said there was no denying the fact that three poaching incidents, two in Gir and one in Bhavnagar district, had been reported over two months ago in which as many as eight Gir lions were killed. But, the State Forest Department had then swung into action and booked the culprits involved in the incidents. Not only this, the department has taken quick steps to check such incidents and protect the Asiatic lions.

Among the protective measures initiated by his department, Khanna said that of the total 300 posts of “vanya prani mitras” (wildlife friends) sanctioned by the Government, 180 were already recruited, besides 100 new posts of forest guards have been filled up. Moreover, as many as 100 motorcycles, 10 jeeps equipped with wireless sets and 75 walkie-talkie handsets have been purchased, while the department is in the process of purchasing 25 .12 bore guns and 10 revolvers for its staff protecting the Gir sanctuary, he said.

When contacted, former NBWL member and chief wildlife warden G A Patel said there was no question of the State conceding to the demand of shifting Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh because similar experiments had miserable failed in the past. “Since Kuno Palpur sanctuary has had some tigers, it’s not advisable to shift Gir lions there, as there are bound to be frequent clashes between the two carnivores over territories. It has been observed that tigers and lions can never co-exist”, he contends.

A new arrival at Chester Zoo

A new arrival at Chester Zoo
Wirral Globe News site

He's just a few days old but Tejas, the tiny lion cub, offers a glimmer of hope for his species.

The male Asiatic Lion, who is being hand-reared by Chester Zoo's carnivore team, was born to mum Asha after a three and half month pregnancy.

With between 300-350 Asiatic Lions left in the wild, the little male will make a big difference to the conservation of his species.

Asiatic Lions can now only be found in India's Gir Forest and 17 lions have been killed there in the last five months. With the number of Asiatic Lions plummeting, Chester's new cub will eventually play a major part in a breeding programme for his species, ensuring it continues.

Tejas - who is being fed a special formulated cat milk every three hours and whose name is Indian for sharpness - was one of two born to mum Asha. However, the other male cub was not strong enough to survive, weighing far less than his 1.2 kilo sibling.

Mike Jordan, the zoo's Curator of Higher Vertebrates, said: "Asiatic Lions face some real threats in the wild and the fact that 17 lions alone have died in the last few months - eight of those from poaching - shows just how critical the situation is for the Asiatic Lion.

The fact that Tejas is a male means he has the potential to play a really important role in the breeding programme for his species.

"It goes without saying that we were sad to lose the other cub however the surviving cub is going from strength to strength and will be weaned at about eight weeks of age."

In November, Mike will be travelling to India when he will facilitate a meeting with the IUCN and Indian Government to discuss ways of tackling the crisis facing Asiatic Lions.
4:47pm Tuesday 11th September 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Report: Suggested Measures that could be adopted to further strengthen the Protection of Asiatic Lions and Gir Biodiversity

In April – May 2007 we had written to you all for your suggestions in a report that we were preparing. We got overwhelming response from conservationist, naturalists, Sanctuary Managers all over the world. I heartily thank all those who have sent their inputs.

The highlight of this whole exercise is that we received many simple solutions to help conservation which does not need even a single Rupee or manpower or time. For example, roads inside WLSs cannot be closed altogether because of public resistance, but usage timings can definitely be reduced. Such a simple solution which needs only instruction to be passed!

With all inputs received, a report titled as “Suggested Measures that could be adopted to further strengthen the Protection of Asiatic Lions and Gir Biodiversity” is prepared. It is submitted to Hon Chief Minister’s office in end of June 2007. This report is also published in Sept 2007 issue of ZOOS PRINT magazine.

Those interested to have as soft copy of this report, can download this report from or write to me.

Kishore Kotecha

Wildlife Conservation Trust, RajkotGujarat , Mob: +91 98240 62062


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Offenders beware; Forest guards get more teeth

Cheers my friends.

Here is more good news from Forest Department. This move will really embolden frontline forest staff to use their weapons fearlessly. Normally they did not use weapons with fear of Police Complaints. And offenders / poachers were using police complaint as threat against forest staff. But now golden days are here again…  Please read attached email.

Should I say?

Happy Shooting to foresters!

Kishore Kotecha

Wildlife Conservation Trust



Offenders beware; Forest guards get more teeth

Ahmedabad Newline

Gandhinagar, September 3: FOREST guards would now be able to use their weapons against forest offenders without fear of police action against them. The state government has resolved to give them a layer of protection against criminal prosecution.

Aimed at giving more teeth and fire power to its field staff, in case of use of fire arms while protecting the forest areas, the Forest Department has resolved that a magisterial inquiry would be necessary before registering a case against any officer.

The immunity is aimed at shielding those forest personnel — from beat guards to range officers — who might be open to criminal proceedings for the use of fire arms. From now on, in any case of firing resorted to by the forest staff, first a magisterial inquiry would be held by a department appointed executive magistrate. Only after being found guilty of unnecessary, unwarranted, or excessive use of force by this inquiry, the officer would be liable to prosecution by police. With the department drawing flak over poaching of Asiatic Lions in the heavily protected Gir sanctuary, and continuous felling of trees by armed gangs, this provision of immunity is likely to embolden the armed guards. Officials maintain that this protection was needed to provide a sense of security to the lower staff charged with actual policing of the forest. “Earlier, the offenders knew that the forest staff would not use their weapons as they were likely to be prosecuted. After this decision, our staff and even the offenders know that the weapons can be rightfully used without fear of being dragged into wrongful complaints of excess use of force,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests M L Sharma.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Cash reward for info on lion poaching


Cash reward for info on lion poaching

Times of India Pg-3, Ahmedabad Edition

GANDHINAGAR: In a drastic step to check killing of lions in Gir sanctuary, the Gujarat government has decided to reward those informing about possible incident of poaching with a cash of Rs 2 lakh.

In case the wild cat is poached, those providing correct information about the whereabouts of those involved, will be rewarded with Rs 50,000.

The move, officials say would also increase the participation of locals in curbing the poaching menace.

The government has also formed a corpus fund for the lion conservation. Three officers - additional chief secretary (wildlife), additional conservator of forest (wildlife) and additional conservator of forest, would be managing this fund.

The state government was forced to take desperate measure to save the lion after eight lions were poached in different parts of the sanctuary and also outside, earlier this year.

The government also announced a compensation of Rs three lakhs for the kith and kin of villagers who are killed in an encounter with the lions. This compensation would be over and above the compensation given from the chief minister relief funds.

Also, any person injured in saving the lions from the poachers would get a compensation of Rs one lakh for permanent disability and Rs 50,000 for partial disability.

The government has also admitted that such poaching incidents are on the rise as there was a increase in the demand of the lion’s body parts.

The Gir National park is spread in an area of 1412.42 sq. km with 54 Ness and 14 forest villages. There are nearly 300 villages situated on the periphery of the national park.

New check posts in the national park, some with close circuit televisions and night vision cameras to capture any suspicious movement in the jungle are also being made. These check posts would be situated in Jasadhar range, Tulsishyam Range, Dalkhaniya range, Jamwada range and Bamansa ranges.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Two more arrested for Gir lion killings


Two more arrested for Gir lion killings

Ahmedabad Newsline By: Sibte Husain Bukhari

Junagadh, August 31: Two more men have been arrested for their involvement in the killing of eight lions in Gir forest. They have been remanded in ten days police custody by the Palitana town court in Bhavnagar district. Lions were slaughtered and their bones, skull and claws dispatched to some unknown destination, in which the international syndicate is believed to have played a major role. Three separate incidents of killing of eight lions occurred during March and April this year, which rocked the entire region.

Arrests had been made on August 24, however, the police preferred to remain tightlipped over the issue as they believed that divulging details could hamper the probe process.

The accused have been identified as Anand Minter Parghi and Hirakha Parghi. Both have been arrested from Balada village of Chhanera taluka in Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh. According to Bhavnagar police sources, a midnight search operation was carried out at Balada village in which 50 police personnel along with a Madhya Pradesh police party, scanned the entire area. Search operations aimed at nabbing the accused, commenced at around 2 am and lasted for 6 hours, which ended at 8 in the morning. Balada village is geographically surrounded by water of dams on three sides. The operations were carried out when torrential rains were lashing the area, the police said. The duo was nabbed by the police during the search operation, however, the main kingpin , Minter Aadivasi managed to escape under the cover of darkness.

Anand and Hirakha are close aides of Minter and in fact are son and son-in-law respectively. During their interrogation, both have admitted to their role in the killing of the lions. The Madhya Pradesh police’s tribal gang had killed 6 lions in Babaria range of Gir forest, and two lions at Bhandaria village in Bhavnagar district. It is believed that the duo had provided some vital information about Minter. Both were produced before Palitana town court that passed orders for 10 days police remand.

Meanwhile, a total 17 men and 13 women — all tribals, have been arrested in this connection by Junagadh and Bhavnagar police. Apart from this, atotal 55 children have been detained so far. According to Junagadh district jail superintendent D J Vanakar, 10 men, 9 women undertrials and 18 children below the age of 7 have been lodged in Junagadh jail. According to Bhavnagar jail officials, 7 men and 4 women undertrials have been put behind bars in Bhavnagar jail. While 39 children have been been given shelter at the juvenile home in Bhavnagar.

According to police sources, tribal gangs have a specific modus operandi. They are always accompanied by women and dozens of children and never stay at one place for long. The men flee from the scene of crime when they know that the police are at an arm’s length. The women and children are left to fend on their own.

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