Friday, July 15, 2011

Lions conquer new territory in Gir

Lions conquer new territory in Gir
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

Ek bungla bane nayaraa -- this Hindi movie classic could well be the anthem of this young couple in Gir who are busy setting up their new home. A lioness from Raydi and a lion from Kamleshwar have established their supremacy over a region in Gir which never had a stable lion population till date.

"The lioness from Raydi area has separated from her group and has paired with a four and half year male who was staying in Kamleshwar dam site," said forest officials.

The two have set up their own territory in Tapliwala area inside the sanctuary. This is the area which housed a stray lion population. The two, realizing that the area was isolated, have already established their supremacy in the area.

"After announcing their presence the two have been sighted mating," said forest officials.

The pair has been mating for the past four days and this was their first mating encounter. This incident also proves the behaviour of the lions that they are not mating within their own family, but are moving out in search of male from other groups.

The two having set up their own territory is a fact that highlights a trend in Gir - sub adult cubs venturing out alone hunting for new areas. Usually two sub adults form their own territory, but in this case it is a single male who has declared his supremacy.

Deputy conservator of forest Sasan, Sandeep Kumar said "We are quite pleased and optimistic with this development. This area, which this pair has chosen as their home, is on a popular tourism circuit."

This incident has also revealed that lioness or the lions do not mate within their own group. "It is like an unwritten law among the big cats. Usually, A lioness will not mate with the lioness in her own group as they are related. Likewise, a sub-adult lion does not mate within his pride," Kumar said.

In the past there were some reports of in-breeding within the prides, but off-late with the increasing number of male lions, the incidents of breeding within the group has stopped. The 2010 census has revealed that there were 97 males. This was the highest number of males that the state ever had, said a senior officer.

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