Friday, August 29, 2014

વેરાવળનાં ડારીમાં ૨પ ફૂટ ઉંડા કૂવામાંથી સિંહબાળને બચાવાયું

વેરાવળનાં ડારીમાં ૨પ ફૂટ ઉંડા કૂવામાંથી સિંહબાળને બચાવાયું

(ડારીમાં 25 ફૂટ ઉંડા કૂવામાં બચાવાયેલું સિંહબાળ)
- વેરાવળનાં ડારીમાં ૨પ ફૂટ ઉંડા કૂવામાંથી સિંહબાળને બચાવાયું
- વન વિભાગનું રેસ્કયુ ઓપરેશન
- આજે માતા સાથે મિલન કરાવવામાં આવશે

વેરાવળ: વેરાવળ નજીકનાં ડારી ગામની સીમમાં એક વાડીનાં ૨પ ફૂટ ઉંડા કુવામાં બે માસનું સિંહબાળ પડી જતાં આજે વન વિભાગે રેસ્કયુ ઓપરેશન હાથ ધરી બચાવી લીધું હતું અને આવતીકાલે તેની માતા સાથે મિલન કરાવશે. વેરાવળ નજીક ડારી ગામની સીમમાં આવેલી વાડીમાં આજે સવારે નવ વાગ્યે વલીભાઇ નુરમહંમદ ભરડેરા ગયેલ ત્યારે કુવામાં વન્યપ્રાણી પડી ગયું હોવાનું ધ્યાને આવતા વન વિભાગને જાણ કરતા ફોરેસ્ટર એચ.આર.રતનપરા, સમેજા સહિ‌તના સ્ટાફે સ્થળ પર દોડી જઇ તપાસ કરતાં સિંહબાળ હોવાનું જણાતા રેસ્કયુ કરી તેને સલામત બહાર કાઢી લકડધાર એનીમલ હોસ્પિટલમાં ખસેડયુંહતું.

જયાં વેટરનરી ડો.અપારનાથીએ ચકાસણી કરતાં તેને કોઇ ઇજા ન હોવાનું જાણવા મળ્યું હતું. આ સિંહબાળને આજે હોસ્પિટલમાં સ્ટાફની દેખરેખ હેઠળ રાખ્યા બાદ આવતીકાલે તેની માતા સાથે મિલન કરાવવામાં આવશે. તેની માતા સિંહણનું લોકેશન નવાપરા - ડારી બીટ વિસ્તારમાં મળી ગયું છે એમ વેરાવળ રેન્જનાં આરએફઓ ડોડીયાએ જણાવ્યું હતું.

The co-existence of Gir's lions and maldharis

The co-existence of Gir's lions and maldharis
The Times of India

The secret why lions have been flourishing in Gir has finally been decoded. Wildlife experts have found that it is the generosity of maldharis, who do not grudge the big cats preying on their cattle, deserve to be given credit for the steady growth in population of the Asiatic lions.

A study by YV Zala of Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and his team says that the maldhari communities and lions of Gir co-exist in a win-win situation. A major part of the lion prey base is the livestock of maldharis while the community gains from free access to forest resources.

The WII study, 'Living with Lions: The Economics of Coexistence in the Gir Forests, India', done by Kaushik Banerjee, Yadvendradev V Jhala, Kartikeya Chauhan and Chittranjan V Dave reveals that Gir maldharis do not view lions as a threat. There had been no attack by the big cats on humans in the past two decades within the area covered in the study. Moreover, lions had attacked and killed mainly unproductive cattle (such as bulls, ailing calves, aged, and dying cattle) for food.

The study further states that the average annual financial loss per household for maldharis because of livestock lost to lions (after excluding compensation) was minimal (Rs 2,038). But the free grazing rights and the compensation at current rates were additional profits for maldhari families living inside Gir. The profit is approximately equivalent to a person's annual minimal wage for 213 man days.

The report further states that the study had not taken into consideration the additional benefits maldharis get by living inside Gir. These benefits include collection of fuel wood and minor forest products, use of forest topsoil mixed with dung sold as manure, free access to water, job opportunities with the forest department and maintaining their social customs.

The study reveals that the total revenue loss because of hunting by lions came to Rs 3.56 lakh per 100 live stock (in cases where government pays compensation. Where no compensation was paid, the loss was Rs 6.19 lakh).

The study further states that a family which had 100 heads of livestock annual made Rs 11.04 lakh per annum because it lived with lions. This was only where compensation was paid for livestock lost to the big cats. Where compensation was not paid, a family made Rs 8.40 lakh per annum.

Zala and his team have recommended that if removal of livestock is ever contemplated, it should be done in a phased manner so the natural prey base of the lions can be built up. However, removal of livestock was unlikely to be fully compensated by any increase in wild ungulate biomass. With a lion-focused conservation policy for Gir, maintaining livestock at the current levels or lower stock density could also be considered as an alternative management practice.

Time to protect our endangered wildlife species

Time to protect our endangered wildlife species

After 65 million years of existence, the earth's biodiversity is facing a threat of extinction once again. But this time around, man is responsible for this loss. We have secured the human race from being a victim of most of nature's vagaries and have managed to control nature's mechanisms such as diseases and some natural calamities. But now, our unplanned management of the planet's resources is putting pressure on other species.

Scientists term this as an anthropogenic mass extinction. They are calling it the sixth occurrence of mass extinction (five mass extinctions have already occurred in the history of earth). This is an exclusive kind of extinction, because this time, each case is facing a unique kind of consequence and all the reasons behind such an occurrence are initiated by various deeds of human beings.

While this is a worldwide phenomenon, let us focus on India for now, where many of our species have reached the brink of extinction. For example, in a 10-year-period, the number of four common species of vultures crashed by 99 per cent in the wild, just because of a single drug called diclofenac. Another large bird -- the Great Indian bustard -- has also reached a very diminutive level.

There are many more bird species like Jerdon's courser, Bengal florican and lesser florican, among others, which are facing habitat destruction and consequent population decline issues. To make matters worse, not much information is available on the possible threats to these species.

There are many more miserable stories, and even though the success rate of survival exists, it is quite low. But statistics related to the Indian one-horned rhino, Asiatic lion and pygmy hog are some big successes, and need to be given their due. For instance, the number of Indian one-horned rhino came down to 200 in early 1900s, but is now touching 3,000 in the wild. This miracle could come about largely due to the dedicated forest staff of Kaziranaga Park who controlled poaching in the area and set an example for the rest of the world.

And even though we have lost the Asiatic cheetah, we have been successful in saving the Asiatic lion. Facing the threat of destruction due to hunting by royals in various princely states in the pre-Independence era, the number of Asiatic lions has now grown from 20-25 to above 400. The credit for this positive story again goes to the forest department of Gir which managed to effectively curb poaching and hunting.

The positive story of the pygmy hog is also most encouraging. Thanks to the initiative shown by wildlife expert, Goutam Narayan, the species has been brought back from the brink of extinction. Pygmy hog is the smallest pig in the world and it makes a nest to live. However, the status of this pig's survival is more critical than that of tigers as it is still considered critically endangered according to IUCN, while the tiger comes under the endangered category.

Such success stories motivate us to work towards reversing the extinction process, but we need a proper plan and willingness to make these rare and valuable species safe in our country. It is now time to think and reflect on how we can -- in our small capacity -- make the change!

Lion cub rescued from well, reunited with mother

Lion cub rescued from well, reunited with mother
Zee News

A two-month-old Asiatic lion cub, who had fallen into a well at a village outside the Gir wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat`s Junagadh district, was rescued and also reunited with its mother, forest officials said.

The incident took place on Saturday when the cub was sitting near the well without a parapet at Dera village in Junagadh`s Veraval taluka and suddenly fell into it, said
Aradhana Sahu, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Junagadh.

The well`s owner informed forest officials, who then rushed to the spot.
"The cub was rescued with the help of a wooden cot which was lowered into the well," she said, adding the cub climbed onto the cot and was pulled up the same day.

Though the cub did not sustain any injury, the forest officials were concerned about its survival as such a young feline could not survive without its mother.

"After locating a lioness in the area, the rescue team kept the cub in an open cage, which was placed at a suitable site in the area. Our team led by range forest officer PP Kaneriya waited till late last night," Sahu said.
A lioness came, sniffed the cub and then took it along into the adjoining coastal forest area last night, she said.

Initially, the forest officials were sceptic about finding the abandoned cub`s mother as female carnivores do not readily accept cubs that are not delivered by them. They often kill such cubs, she said.

"It has also been observed that carnivores do not accept their cubs if they come in contact with human beings. Fortunately, in this case, the lioness accepted its young one even as we were standing about 10 ft away from the cage," said Kaneriya.

Lion found dead in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary

Lion found dead in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary
The Times of India

A male lion said to be about three-year-old was found dead in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary's north division on Wednesday morning. Forest officials have not ruled out foul play in the matter. The lion was found dead near a bridge between Isapur and Kathrota villages in Kapuran forest beat.

"Sarpanch of Isapur informed us about the lion's death. Preliminary investigation suggests that it may have died somewhere else and was dumped here to destroy evidence. The lion may also have died due to infighting. We called in a forensic science laboratory team to ascertain the cause of the lion's death. We have sent its body to Sakkarbaug Zoo for postmortem," said range forest officer P T Kaneriya.

Sources said that a part of the lion's body was in a decomposed condition. There were no pugmarks found at the spot. This has led forest officials to suspect that the animal may have died an unnatural death somewhere else and someone disposed off its body on the roadside out of fear.

"We have formed three teams to the death and they are searching for evidence around the villages to ascertain whether it died an unnatural death,'' said a senior forest official. Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary houses around 40 lions.

According to the 2010 lion census, there are 411 lions in Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region. More than 250 lions have died, many of them unnaturally, in the last five years.

Petition warns possibility of conflict between lions and tigers

Petition warns possibility of conflict between lions and tigers
The Times of India

Madhya Pradesh forest officials have again got on camera a Rajasthan tiger T-38 in Kuno-Palpur sanctuary where Gir lions from Gujarat are proposed to be shifted. Its dominance in the area has now become a cause of concern for the two states.

State forest officials are more worried over its presence in the area considering a pending petition from a Gujarat-based NGO, Wildlife Conservation Trust-Rajkot, which has joined as a party to the petition filed by Rajasthan government claiming that there is a possibility of conflict between the two big cats because a natural movement corridor exists between Kuno and Ranthambore.

This petition is being considered as a last hurdle in the shifting of lions to MP as Gujarat government has exhausted all legal options to prevent the translocation after dismissal of its curative petition by Supreme Court last week.

According to our Ahmedabad bureau this NGO had filed a petition earlier in the apex court against translocation of lions to Kuno-Palpur. NGO claims that the court was never informed about the contiguity which Ranthambore Tiger Reserve enjoys with Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

They also quoted National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report, 'State of tigers, co-predators and prey in India-2008', which supports the stand of Gujarat that Kuno-Palpur is a tiger-occupied area close to other tiger habitats, including Ranthambore.

MP government has now recommended to the Centre that that T-38 be fitted with a radio collar to check any possible conflict with lions. Officials from Ranthambore have also visited Kuno to track T-38 and ascertain its safety there.
So far three tigers that went missing from Ranthambore have been located in Madhya Pradesh including one in Seoda range in Datia district - a mix of reserve and protected forest area -- and two in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary. Both MP and Rajasthan have installed separate camera traps in Kuno, said sources.

The tiger in Datia is said to be a 3-year-old cub of Ranthambore's T-26 tigress. Information collected from the forest officials and the GPS tracking by WWF India- Western India Tiger landscape team indicates this cub travelled more than 220 km to reach Seoda range. The range has both reserve and protected forests with the Sindh river flowing in the middle and the Vindhya hill ranges on the western side. There are many villages on both sides.

Last hope of stopping lion transfer dashed

Last hope of stopping lion transfer dashed
The Times of India

In a major blow to the Gujarat government, the last hope against translocation of Asiatic lions to Kuno Palpur has been dashed. The three judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha rejected the curative petition filed by Gujarat government against the apex court's order directing the translocation to Kuno Palpur.

On April 15, 2013, the apex court in a judgment directed that the lions be translocated to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh from the Gir Sanctuary. The apex court had also formed a 12-member expert group to decide on aspects of the translocation. The court had, in the order dated April 15, 2013, directed that the translocation be done in accordance with the guidelines of IUCN.

The apex court had asked the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to take urgent steps for the reintroduction of a small number of lions to Kuno from Gir, on the ground that the highly-endangered species needed to be dispersed to eliminate the risk of extinction in of Justice K S case of an epiRadhakrishdemic. nan and The bench Justice C K Prasad had ruled that no state, organization or person can claim ownership or possession of wild animals in forests.

Animals in the wild are the property of the nation for which no state can claim ownership and the states duty is to protect wildlife and conserve it. Gujarat had later in May 2013 preferred a review petition which was dismissed in October the same year.

Later, the Gujarat government filed a curative petition.

The petition was taken up on Tuesday for an in-chamber hearing by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, Justice H L Dattu and Justice T S Thakur.

The three-judge bench in the order said: "We have gone through the curative petition and the relevant documents.

In our opinion, no case is made out. Hence, the curative petition is dismissed."

With this cura tive petition dis missed, Gujarat is left with no legal op tion but to translo cate the lions to Ku no Palpur from Gir.

The matter now rests with the 12 member committee, which has se nior government officials along with lion expert Ravi Chellam and scientist Y V Jhala, which will have to take a final call.

MP had plan to shift zoo-bred lions, looking at Modi's objection on those in wild

MP had plan to shift zoo-bred lions, looking at Modi's objection on those in wild
The Times of India

A day after Supreme Court dismissed Gujarat government's curative petition against shifting Gir lions to Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, top wildlife authorities in the state claim they already had a back-up plan to translocate zoo-bred lions from Gujarat, if Narendra Modi was possessive about those in the wild. The Gujarat government under Modi opposed the transfer tooth and nail in an eight-year legal battle.

On Wednesday, three-judge bench headed by CJI R M Lodha rejected the curative petition filed by Gujarat government against apex court's April 15, 2013, verdict allowing shifting of lions from Gir to Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

"We were ready with a project to shift zoo-bred lions from Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh in case Gujarat government refused to shift some from the wildlife sanctuary. Centre had sanctioned a special budget for this project which was prepared much before the curative petition was filed," said retired wildlife officer. Gujarat forest department too had agreed to shift three zoo-bred lions to Madhya Pradesh. But after the Supreme Court junked the curative plea, the Gujarat forest department may stall this transfer too.

Two days after the April 15 verdict, a decision was taken by the Gujarat government to transfer four lions to a safari at Uttar Pradesh chief minister AkhileshYadav's native Saifai village in Etawah district. Gujarat forest department had decided to transfer four lions to Uttar Pradesh, against the demand of 10.

Gujarat government also gave an explanation for its move, claiming that MP wanted lions from the wild to be translocated to a wild habitat for breeding while UP wanted shifting of zoo-bred lions to Saifai.

Madhya Pradesh's chief wildlife warden Narendra Kumar said lions will be brought to MP sometime soon.

In its first communique after Modi's swearing-in as Prime Minister, MP government had in June sent a proposal to ministry of environment and forests seeking a budget of Rs 79 crore to shift Asiatic lions from Gujarat. The budget includes Rs 20 crore for infrastructural development like construction of hospital and procurement of new vehicles and Rs 59 crore for relocation and rehabilitation of two more villages within Kuno sanctuary.

Retired chief wildlife warden H S Pabla said with the dismissal of curative petition all decks have been clear and there should not be any other problem in translocation.

A few wildlife officials in MP, however, claim there are more hurdles left as two Gujarat-based NGOs have filed separate petitions challenging translocation of lions to Kuno. First, a writ petition was filed by Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), a Rajkot-based NGO, which claimed certain facts were not brought to notice of Supreme Court. This petition was admitted in February. Last week, Supreme Court sent a notice to MP government to respond within a month.

Another was filed this month by Ahmedabad-based Priyavrat Gadhvi ? a bio-technologist and member of Gujarat State Wildlife Board. He claimed Supreme Court was kept in dark on importance of Madhya Pradesh's Kuno-Palpur sanctuary as an important natural corridor for tiger dispersal. Gadhvi said Kuno is a migration corridor for tigers of the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan to Madhav National park in MP. The petition has been admitted, but is yet to come up for hearing.

MP government to fund lion translocation on its own

MP government to fund lion translocation on its own
Hindustan Times

The majestic Asiatic lions may finally find a new home. The much-awaited reintroduction of Asiatic lions from Gir forests of Gujarat to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary of Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh is all set to take off as the state government has decided to use its own resources to expedite the translocation of the king of the jungle.

The project was stalled following an objection of Gujarat government and a petition filed in Supreme Court. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India RM Lodha on Tuesday rejected the petition.

Unwilling to wait for the Central financing, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has decided to fund the project on its own.

"Though we have sent the proposal for funds to the Centre, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told me that MP government will spend the required money to make Palpur-Kuno an appropriate home for lions," Madhya Pradesh forest minister Gaurishankar Shejwar told HT.

"Lot of work has already been done and now we are readying for the rehabilitation of the two villages that would get displaced when lions come to the national park."

Earlier on April 15, 2013, the apex court in a judgment had directed that the lions be translocated to Kuno-Palpur in MP from the Gir Sanctuary.

Why translocation of lions As Asiatic lions exist only in Gir, where they number over 400, experts have often expressed apprehensions that high rate of inbreeding and less genetic diversity could make them susceptible to epidemics and make them extinct. In this light, a proposal was mooted to translocate a few of the Gir lions to MP in 2000.

Later, a study by the Wildlife Institute of India in 2006 identified Kuno-Palpur sanctuary as a suitable site for the translocation. Wildlife activist Fayaz Khudsar filed a public interest petition in the apex court in 2006 and sought translocation of Gir lions to MP.

Lion cub leads forest rangers to mother’s dead body at sanctuary in India

Lion cub leads forest rangers to mother's dead body at sanctuary in India

The 15-month-old cub guarded its mother's body until officials returned

A lion cub at an sanctuary in India has led forest rangers to its dead mother's corpse, in what was described as "very rare" behaviour by keepers.

The lion corpse was discovered when a forest guard spotted a cub hiding alone in bushes. The guard followed the animal out of the bushes and to the body at a nearby hill, where it then waited and guarded his mother until other rangers appeared.

Anshuman Sharma, the Deputy Conservator of Forests in the Gujarat Gir Forest National Park, told the BBC the lioness most likely died in a fight with another animal.

Mr Sharma said he was patrolling the Tulsi-Shyam range when he spotted the cub hiding, which was unusual as lion cubs are typically accompanied by their mothers.

"I followed the cub which led me to its mother's body lying on a small hillock. The mother was called Rupa. It initially looked like she was sleeping, but when it didn't move, I prodded it with my stick. That's when I discovered that the lioness was dead," he said.  

A post-mortem found the animal had sustained broken bones and internal injuries and had died from a haemorrhage, said Mr Sharma. It was aged about 11-years-old.  

He later returned with a team of officials to remove the body, and found the cub still sat next to his mother – something he described as "very peculiar".

Cubs are typically dependent on their mothers until they are aged between two and three-years-old. The 15-month-old is now being monitored by forest officials as a precaution.

"It's mother, Rupa, seemed to be a loner who lived and hunted alone, But now that the lioness is gone, we expect the cub to join another group, or another lioness may start looking after it," Mr Sharma added.

Lion expert Yadvendra Dev Jhala of the Wildlife Institute of India said he has never heard of a similar incident.

However, he told the BBC the lions there "generally know their individual guards well" because of the lack of conflict between humans and the animals in Gir.

Buffaloes gore lioness to death near Sasan-Gir border

Buffaloes gore lioness to death near Sasan-Gir border
The Times of India

An 11-year-old lioness was gored to death by a buffalo herd and her broken carcass was found by a beat guard who was led to the dead mother by her 18-month-old cub.

Forest officials were surprised by this unprecedented incident which was confirmed by the postmortem report, which pointed out that the lioness had multiple fractures in her ribs and had died of intestinal haemorrhage.

Such occurrences are rare in the wild. It took place at a hill top, some 500-600 metres from Kothariya village, bordering Sasan-Gir, where cattle grazing activity heightens during the monsoon season. "Usually lions die of infighting and natural causes. It is very rare to see the predator being killed by a herd of resilient herbivorous animals," said HS Singh, a lion expert and member of National Board of Wildlife.

On Saturday, Rana Mori, the beat guard, was on his round, when he spotted a cub hidden in the bushes. The strange behaviour of the cub drew Mori's attention. "As I got close to the cub, it started moving away and kept looking back to check if I was following him. After 30-odd metres, I spotted the carcass. I intimated my superiors and the carcass was sent for postmortem," Mori said.

Forest officials said the lioness was called Rupa by villagers and was a loner. Deputy conservator of forest Anshuman Sharma said, "The beat guard drawn to the carcass by the cub risked his life. The lioness had deep injury marks and her ribs were broken. The doctors were of the opinion that the big cat had died of injuries in the attack."

Lion cub rescued from Gir-Somnath village

Lion cub rescued from Gir-Somnath village
The Economic Times

About one-month-old lion cub was rescued from a farm well in a village in Gir-Somnath district on Saturday morning.

According to forest officials, a maldhari person spotted the lion cub in the farm in Dari village of Veraval taluka of Gir-Somnath district and he informed to local forest department officials.

Forest department officials rushed to the spot and rescued the lion cub. The cub was later sent to Sasan Animal Care Centre.

"It was uncovered abandoned farm well  ..

SC rejects Gujarat plea against moving Gir lions

SC rejects Gujarat plea against moving Gir lions
The Hindu

This August 10, 2014, photo shows lions at the Devaliya forest in Sasan Gir, Gujarat. The Supreme Court has dismissed a curative petition, filed by the Gujarat government, against shifting the lions to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. Photo: Special Arrangment

The Gujarat government has exhausted all legal options to prevent the translocation of lions from the Gir National Park after the Supreme Court dismissed a curative petition, filed by the State, against shifting the lions to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

The Centre had proposed Kuno as an alternative home for the Asiatic lions as a conservation measure, in view of the risk of epidemics, since the lions are spread over a limited area in Gujarat. The Gujarat government approached the Supreme Court against the move. In April 2013, the apex court ruled in favour of translocation, directing a 12-member expert committee to implement its order in six months.

Gujarat then filed a curative petition this February which the apex court dismissed this week.

The lionhearted women of Gir

The lionhearted women of Gir
The Hindu

Forester Rasheela Vadher with a rescued leopard on Sunday.

These forest guards have beaten the odds, in the wild and in society

It happened during a hot chase. In the wilderness of Gir, a leopard in pursuit of a jungle cat fell into a well. All efforts to pull it up were in vain. It was time for the last resort — the tranquilliser shot. It meant going down the well in a cage and getting close enough to fire a tranquilliser dart at the predator.

Rasheela Vadher knew it was her moment.

"The leopard chewed up the rope we suspended into the 40-feet-deep well. It was the first time I went down a well," says Ms. Vadher, forester from Bhandori village in Junagadh district.

In her six years of service at the Sasan Gir national park — home to the Asiatic lion — she has rescued about 800 animals, including lions, leopards and pythons, that lay injured in wells and ditches, or strayed into human habitation.

"Initially, I was afraid, but now I don't know what fear is. Male officials thought women could be of little service in forests. We were not assigned hard work. After six months of office work, I wanted to do something important. At that time, there were no women in animal rescue operations," she recalls.

Ms. Vadher's first test came when a lioness was found injured by a porcupine quill. With the wound festering, the animal had not been able to hunt and had become weak.

"We kept a trap cage with a goat, but the lioness did not enter. Adding to our worries, two other lionesses arrived on the scene with their cubs. It was a long wait of 12 hours. I told myself that if I left I would never again get rescue work. So I stuck with the team. By the time we got the injured lioness into the cage it was 5 a.m. the next day," she recalls.

Ms. Vadher is part of a team of 44 women foresters and guards engaged in a range of wildlife and forest conservation, who were first recruited at Gir in 2007, when then Chief Minister Narendra Modi carved out a 33 per cent quota for women.

Never did she think that she would win awards, including one from Mr. Modi. "She has more award money than her annual salary of Rs. 60,000," says Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator at Gir. "At first, these women were full of doubts. Now they excel in every area. Now lakhs of women apply."

The women have had to tackle more than the fear of the wild. Societal pressures about staying away from home and working with male colleagues remain unconquered battles. For instance, when forester Tripti Joshi got married, her in-laws objected to her work. "They wanted me to quit, but my father maintained that I would continue working," she says.

A new dimension

The entry of women guards added a new dimension to human-animal conflict management. It's the people, they say, who are more difficult than the wild beasts. Even so, the neighbouring villages of Gir regard these women in uniform with respect. Unlike some of their male counterparts, these women control restive crowds of onlookers without creating feelings of acrimony.

"No two rescue operations are same. The ground situation, the public mood is different," says Ms. Vadher. From not knowing what a forest really looked like to saving ferocious felines from its depths, she has come a long way. A prominent scar on her right wrist, which she received after being injured by a leopard on which she was trying to fit a micro chip on, takes the pride of place. She received 15 stitches for it. "When my mother saw the scar, it was the first time she learnt about the nature of my work," she says.

'Consider Banni for cheetah relocation'

'Consider Banni for cheetah relocation'
The Times of India

The Centre has filed a petition in the apex court seeking review of its order dated April 14, 2013, directing translocation of Asiatic Lions to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh. The review petition, however, only pertains to shifting cheetahs to India from Africa.

The Supreme Court in its order on translocation of lions had observed: "At this stage, in our view, the decision taken by the ministry of environment and forests for introduction of African cheetahs first to Kuno and then Asiatic lion, is arbitrary...a clear violation of the statutory requirements provided under the Wildlife Protection Act. The order of MoEF to introduce African Cheetahs into Kuno cannot stand in the eye of law and the same is quashed."

The MoEF, during the argument, had made reference to a study conducted by WII and Wildlife Trust of India on the programme to reintroduce cheetah in Kuno, on import from Namibia. The member of the Cheetah Reintroduction Group Divyabhanusinh Chavda said, "We have gone in for the review of the order only for the cheetah reintroduction part." He added that Rajasthan government had already refused for taking up the project.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has prepared a Rs 260-crore project for cheetah reintroduction. Nauradehi in MP, along with Banni in Gujarat, are some of the areas under consideration if the Supreme Court permits the import.

A Gujarat forest official said that cheetahs need open spaces. "They are comfortable in grasslands and Banni seems to be the best suited place in Gujarat. Besides, it also includes the Kalo Dungar area, which has a good number of jackals," added an official.

At present, Banni has a prey base of 14 animals per sq km. If the government decides to give cheetahs to Gujarat, the forest department would immediately start breeding chital and sambhar deers in the area to increase the prey base, an official said. Cheetahs need a prey base of around 30 animals per sq km.

On the other hand, a Cheetah Reintroduction Group official said that the main hindrance in Banni was the weed called gando baval (Prosopis Juliflora) which covers large parts of the area. Removing the weed would be a major challenge for Gujarat, he added.

Gujarat lions vanish from UP forest

Gujarat lions vanish from UP forest
The Times of India

As many as three Asiatic lions, brought here from Gir forest of Gujarat 57 years ago — which led to a population of 11 in last count in 1965 — have vanished from the Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary near Varanasi.

Officials of the Kashi Wildlife Division, under whose jurisdiction the sanctuary falls, say they have no records of the lions and no idea about their fate. Wanting not to be quoted, they say that "it is believed that either they would have fallen prey to hunters or migrated to nearby jungles of Bihar."

"As the Wildlife (Protection) Act was not in force that time, there was no effective control on hunting of wild animals. But, we are not sure what happened to the lions in the sanctuary as there are no records," said forest officer of Kashi Wildlife Division Chandra Shekar Pandey.

"Lions were released in that region years back and they probably died naturally. We do not have any records maintained of that time, so it's difficult to say what happened of them. Moreover, enforcement was not strong at that time and there must not have been proper planning to release them," said principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife), UP, Rupak De.

The concept of reintroduction for purpose of conservation of Asiatic lions was accepted in 1956 by the Indian Wildlife Board, and the offer of UP government to host a population in the Chakia forests was accepted. In 1956, a lion and two lionesses from Gir were placed in a zoo in Junagadh in Gujarat for nine months before being shifted to Chandraprabha Sanctuary in 1957.

Initially, the lions prospered increasing in number to four in 1958, five in 1960, seven in 1962 and 11 in 1965, but they disappeared soon after.

Spread over 9,600 hectares of forest area, the Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary is located between Chakiya and Naugarh in Chandauli district, the neighbouring district of PM Narendra Modi's parliamentary constituency. The sanctuary, one of the ?Protected Areas' of the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) that was adopted in 2002, was set up in 1957, covering the reserved forest area in Chandraprabha and some parts of Jaimohini Range.

The sanctuary has a variety of wild animals, including black buck, chital, sambhar, nilgai, wild boar, porcupine, Indian gazelle, gharial and python.

About 70km from Varanasi Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary are the picturesque Rajdari and Devdari waterfalls. The sanctuary is emphasizing the people's participation and their support for wildlife conservation.

Watch a Lion Hilariously Interrupt a PSA About World Lion Day

Watch a Lion Hilariously Interrupt a PSA About World Lion Day

On August 10th, the world celebrates a creature many fear and/or associate with MGM.

This Sunday is World Lion Day, a reminder of the creature's importance worldwide. Lions have played symbolic roles all throughout history, but, with populations dwindling, the majestic beast's time of dominance is faltering.

But the lion starring in this World Lion Day ad isn't letting that get him down. As his handler, "The Lion Whisperer" Kevin Richardson, tries to create the video, he clowns around like nobody's business, talking — or shall we say, roaring — over him.

This hilarious interaction is just one of the reasons why it's so important that we all work to preserve the lion population.

To save the lions is to save our global heritage, according to the World Lion Day website.

The population numbers are staggering. In 1975, the lion population reached 250,000. Since then, the African lion has faced a 80 to 90 percent decrease in numbers, landing around 2,800 in total.

Essentially, habitat and prey loss, human conflict and disease have brought the African lion close to extinction.

The Asiatic lion has seen much worse. Caught off guard by hunters, in 1907 only 14 members of this species were left roaming the Earth. Not until 1975, when hunting was declared illegal, did the Asiatic lion see numbers rise.

Today, 411 Asiatic lions exist. A far cry from a healthy population, but it certainly beats extinction. However, disease is carefully monitored by wildlife organizations, since their populations are so low. Just one sick lion would have a huge impact on the species.

But you can help by celebrating World Lion Day and raising awareness for the noble breed. Check it out to see if any events are near your neck of the woods!

RYOT NOTE from Alex

There are numerous ways to celebrate and help save lion populations. There a plethora of organizations you can support if you want to help the lions. Check out the page on the World Lion Day website to see all of them. You can see that page by clicking the Action Box and remember to share this story to Become the News!

World Lion Day observed

World Lion Day observed
The Times of India

The forest officers, staff and local community including eco-tourist guides at Gir National Park celebrated the World Lion Day with awareness programmes on Sunday.

Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forest, Wildlife Division Sasan-Gir, inaugurated the function and addressed the gathering. He discussed the lion conservation in Gir. Shamshad Alam, regional planner, BCRLI project, gave a presentation on lions, its distribution, habitat, conservation status, problems and threats.

The participants expressed their views on the conservation of Asiatic Lion. Eco-tourist guides brought to the notice of the officials the pollution around national park, especially plastic waste littered in and around Gir. The officials also suggested to declare Sasan-Gir and nearby areas as plastic free zone.

Core area for lions in MP expanded

Core area for lions in MP expanded
The Times of India

Stepping up efforts to get lions from Gujarat, the BJP-led Shivraj Singh Chauhan government in MP has increased the core area of the Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary by 350 square kilometres, raising it to 700 sq. km. The core area was increased following recommendations by the expert group formed according to the Supreme Court's order of April 2013.

The apex court had formed a technical expert group to oversee the translocation of lions to Kuno-Palpur from Gir. Sources said that during several meeting of the core group, Gujarat had raised objections that 350 sq km area was too small to translocate the lions and should be increased. The core group in its report accepted the argument of the Gujarat Government and pointed out that the sanctuary area was insufficient for lions.

Officials in the MP forest department said a plan to enhance the sanctuary area has been prepared under which two villages - Baghcha and Jahangarh - would be included in the sanctuary. Officials said that the proposal has been prepared and cleared by the Kuno-Palpur division and is awaiting the MP government's final nod.

The officials said that the government has also decided on conversation measures in the newly merged area. Officials said that the minister made it clear that they would adjust these once they received Rs 80 crore that MP has sought from the Centre for the translocation project.

After this increase, the sanctuary will cover around 700 sq km, while the buffer area around it will be around 500 sq km. Officials said that the barring these two villages, the enlargement has been done in a way that minimizes the need for human rehabilitation.

Officials said that this was the second lion-centric move by the MP government after the formation of the BJP government at the Centre. Earlier, the MP government had forwarded a proposal for Rs 80 crore assistance to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, for the project at Kuno-Palpur. MP officials had earlier demanded the same amount from the 12-member lion expert group.

MP asks Centre for Rs 59 crores to make home for Gir lions

MP asks Centre for Rs 59 crores to make home for Gir lions
The Times of India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi as chief minister of Gujarat would not part with the state's Asiatic lions. And Madhya Pradesh has been seeking the king of the jungle for its Palpur-Kuno National Park for the past 15 years.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, however, is now hopeful that as PM, Narendra Modi would not object to a second home for the lions. On Wednesday, minister of forests Gauri Shankar Shejwar said that the state has asked for Rs 59 crore from the Centre to make Palpur-Kuno an appropriate home for Asiatic lions.

"It has been recommended by experts that Asiatic lions need a second habitation just in case a major epidemic breaks out in Gir. It is to ensure the safety of the species. While we sent the proposal for funds to the Centre, chief minister Chouhan has asked the forest department to invest its own Rs 30 crore and start the rehabilitation of two villages that would get displaced if lions come to the national park," the forest minister said.

MP seeks Centre’s help to get Gir lions

MP seeks Centre's help to get Gir lions
The Free Press Journal

The State government has approached the union ministry of forests and environment with a project to the tune of Rs 59 crore for relocation of Asiatic Lion in Palanpur Kuno national forest reserve following rejection of its request in this regard thrice by Gujarat government.

Forests minister Dr Gaurishankar Shejwar said, he talked in this regard with union minister Prakash Javdekar in his recent Delhi visit and requested the Centre's intervention in resolving the long pending issue.

Technical committee formed by national tiger conservation authority (NTCA) suggested to shift some Asiatic Lion from Gir National Park of Gujarat to protect the endangered species. MP government submitted its request to relocate some lions in Kuno Park but it was rejected at different times by Gujarat government.

The minister said "The State has submitted a proposal of Rs 69 crore to the centre for relocating two villages from the national park to increase its area."

State government has already sanctioned Rs 30 crore in current fiscal year in anticipation of the centre fund so that relocation process could start immediately, the minister said.

Forests officials said relocation of two villages from the national park would provide additional space and make entire area of 600 square km. The Gujarat government earlier refused to provide the lions on the ground that Kuno national park has not required 500 square km area.

Shejwar said number of tigers in Panna national park is around 28-30 and coming wild life census report would be boost for the state government.

The minister said he talked with the union government to hold a joint meeting of forests officials of MP and Union ministry to resolve issues at single platform which he had agreed. Shejwar said he had requested the union government to provide relaxation in its rule to excavate sand stone from forests area for road construction and other developmental works.

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