Monday, June 29, 2015

Forest dept bans home stay near Gir sanctuary

Forest dept bans home stay near Gir sanctuary
The Economic Times

AHMEDABAD: As part of the new ecotourism policy to be tabled before the Gujarat high court before June 24, the forest department has decided to put a ban on commercial establishments from getting home stay approval within the periphery of the Sasan Gir sanctuary especially in the eco-sensitive zones. 

The tourism department, meanwhile, has also ordered a review of permission given to farm houses and guesthouses around the Gir forest. 

TOI had on Wednesday reported on how farm houses and guesthouses despite being banned by the high court had been granted approval as home stays by the department of tourism without consulting the forest department. The tourism department went into a huddle after the report was published. 

When contacted, the forest department said, the state government has been asked to formulate an ecotourism policy for the Gir sanctuary and submit it to the high court by June 24, wherein the department is likely to ban home stay approval of commercial establishments. 

"The department is not likely to permit home stay even if the establishments have only six rooms. The forest department was helpless as these guesthouses and farm houses had the approval of the tourism department, said an official of the forest department. 

He adds, "We will be recommending that only genuine home users be able to use the home stay policy. The forest department will not permit home stay for commercial establishments within a two kilometre periphery of Gir." 

When contacted, N Srivastava, the managing director of the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat said, "We have set up a third party review to probe the permissions granted to the establishments. They will work in collaboration with a specially appointed committee of the forest department to chalk out the new policy. 

Develop Keibul Lamjao park on the model of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary: BJYM

Develop Keibul Lamjao park on the model of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary: BJYM
Kangla Online

IMPHAL, June 16: The Gir Wildlife Sanctuary at Rajkot, Gujarat provides safari facilities attracting foreign tourists everyday and generating more revenue for the State.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his time as the Chief Minister of Gujarat had brought much development in the State including in the tourism sector. Gujarat which is one of the hottest and driest States in the country was turned into one of the greenest States during his time.

The wildlife sanctuary was also developed as an artificial tourist spot.

A BJYM team led by its president Oinam Malesh accompanied by media persons from the State, had toured the sanctuary during their recent visit to Gujarat.

Following the tour of the sanctuary, Malesh expressed desire for the Manipur government to develop the Keibul Lamjao National Park to attract more tourist and generate more revenue.

Malesh said the BJP wants to bring the Modi model of development to Manipur and develop tourism and other sectors in the State which have been neglected by the Congress government in the past more than 12 years.

During the tour of the sanctuary, the team witnessed that the government has also developed fruit tree groves including mangoes.

The sanctuary has also become a popular habitat for the Asiatic Lion and a safari tour in the sanctuary could cost from Rs 5000 to 7000.

A helipad has also been installed inside the sanctuary a helicopter tour of the sanctuary is also provided to the tourists.

Speaking to the team, a farmer from the nearby localities said sometimes they see big cats like the Asiatic Lions and tiger wander outside the protected area of the sanctuary, however no untoward incidents involving the wild animals have been reported so far as they are left undisturbed by the human population, he added.

Indigenous tribes have inhabited the surrounding areas of the sanctuary for a long time, and Narendra Modi`™s government had taken special care to separate the reserved area and the human settlements and at the same time provide alternative means of livelihood for them, he added.

The farmers also sometimes act as tour guides and provide house stays to the tourist which helps in generating income for the villagers, he continued.

Meanwhile, Oinam Malesh asserted that if only the Manipur government could manage the Keibul lamjao National Park in Manipur with such careful and meticulous planning as the Gujarat government is doing at the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, much tourist inflow would be witnessed.

However, unfortunately the State government has totally failed to take any special care of the park and it lies neglected for a long time.

Once the BJP comes to power in Manipur, the park will be properly looked after, he added.


Gir hotels back as homestay units

Gir hotels back as homestay units
The Times Of India

AHMEDABAD: The state tourism department has given permission to 55 farmhouses and guesthouses on the periphery of Gir sanctuary for use as home stay establishments. However, it is not clear whether permission is legal as the Gujarat high court has declared many of these farmhouses illegal because they were earlier being used as hotels. 

Sources in the tourism department claimed these farmhouses don't qualify for approval under the homestay policy. According to the policy, the owner of a homestay unit has to stay on the premises but this is not the case with most of these farmhouses. Hence such permission is illegal under the policy, said sources. Of the 55 establishments given approval, 52 are in Sasan while three are in Junagadh district. 

Interestingly, the forest department was not aware of homestay approval being given to establishments just outside Gir, the only abode of Asiatic Lions. Officials in Gir, too, said they had no knowledge of such permissions. 

The department has given Bhagvanbhai Solanki permission to use six rooms for home stay visitors. When one calls the phone number of Solanki's farmhouse given on the tourism department's official website, the caretaker, Ramsinh Vadher, picks up the phone. "Bhagvanbhai is not there, I take care of the farmhouse which has been converted into a guesthouse. We used to function as a hotel in the past but would now open as a homestay establishment," Vadher says. 

Such farmhouses were sealed by the forest department on the orders of the Gujarat HC. Their owners had then approached the high court for relief but in vain. Now they are reopening under the homestay policy though they have been given permission for this without the knowledge of the forest department. The TOI phoned several farmhouse owners — Jasubhai N Barad, Vishalbhai Bahrvav, Lakhubhai Boricha and others — who had received permission for running home stay establishments. 

Jasubhai Barad's farm has a swimming pool and a playground. Vishalbhai Rudabhai Bharvad is another owner who has permission to use his farmhouse as a homestay unit. The tourism department's website has a picture of the place that shows a notice board saying, 'Vibhuvan Farm', and a banner that gives the URL of the establishment's website as Moreover, the pictures on the tourism department's portal given for home stay tourists are that of Vibhuvan Resort. 

Bhikhabhai U Zala, another farmhouse owner, says his establishment was earlier known as 'The Brookville'. The contact details given for the homestay establishments on the tourism department's website and that of Brookville are the same. 

Tourism Minister Saurabh Patel, when contacted, said he wasn't aware of such permissions being granted. "I will instruct secretary, tourism department and managing director of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited to review all the home stay permissions given in the past three months," said the minister. 

Raju lion was like his son to Suleman the Forester

Raju lion was like his son to Suleman the Forester
The Times Of India

AHMEDABAD: The majestic nomadic lion, popularly known as Raju or playboys and Suleman Timan the Forester, in Gir had an amazing relationship. Raju who died recently was like Suleman's son. He used to follow Suleman since he was young.

Talk to Suleman and he has each and every minute details of Raju. "When he was a child, he had suffered injury and ever since then he became handicapped and use to limp while walking. Raju was like my son and when he was hospitalized, I use to frequently ask the doctor about his health. Being an forest employee we were not permitted to go to the hospital, but I used to get feedback regularly. Call it a mere coincidence, but I had often seen him following me wherever I went. When I was in Dedakadi he was spotted there, when I was in Kamleshwar beat, he was there and when I was back in the core area of the sanctuary, Raju was there."

"I did not like anything for couple of days when I heard Raju passed away," says Timan. Even forest officials says that it was an unbelievable relationship in-between a wild lion and a human. Raju passed away before a couple of weeks but his memories and genes will be there forever.

Even while Raju was growing up, he loved solitude and lived as a nomad even as an adult. Raju the lion who, was usually seen within the Gir sanctuary area was popularly known as a 'playboy' among forest staff.

Raju breathed his last at age 10, dying of weakness. He was suffering from paralysis and died as he wasn't able to hunt anymore. Raju was known among beat guards, jeep drivers and even the guides as a playboy. He never had his own territory nor did he have his family, but he fathered several cubs in the sanctuary.

Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forests, says that between the age of three-and-a-half and four years, a cub stepping into adulthood is thrown out of the pride so he can establish his own territory. The cub then, sometimes with the help of another lion of the same age, captures a territory and establishes his pride. "Usually pairs of two adult lions form establish their own territory. Of late there have been instances where three lions have allied together to establish their own pride," he said.

Even though Raju didn't have his own territory, he was very popular among lionesses, particularly the younger ones. Raju's entire life has been documented, not only in a research paper, but also in the book The Majestic Lions of Gir, written by Sandeep Kumar.

HC sets deadline for Gir eco-tourism policy

HC sets deadline for Gir eco-tourism policy
The Times Of India

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court on Thursday directed the state chief secretary to finally notify the eco-tourism policy for Gir sanctuary by June 24 and place it before the court the next day. 

The bench headed by Justice Jayant Patel refused to grant more time to the state government to finalize its policy after it failed to resolve the contradictions in the existing provisions. The court said that it had already granted one month's time to solve the issue regarding contradictions in the policy for granting permission for construction in the 2-km buffer zone around the sanctuary, which is the last abode of the Asiatic lion. 

This issue arose when contradictions in the government policy were highlighted in two resolutions — of June 25, 2009 by the forest and environment department, and of February 8, 2010 by the home department. While the forest department permits hospitality units built before a particular date to exist in the buffer zone, the home department issued a prohibitory order. However, the owners of hospitality units obtained NOC from local village panchayats and put up constructions. 

To resolve the issue, the government formed an eight-member committee comprising secretaries, joint secretaries and commissioners from departments concerned to discuss and find solutions for regulation of eco-tourism facilities around Gir sanctuary.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Asiatic Lion dies in 30 ft deep open well in Gujarat

Asiatic Lion dies in 30 ft deep open well in Gujarat
Desh Gujarat


A 12-year-old Asiatic lion fell into about 30 ft deep open water-filled well in Khilavad village in Girgadhda taluka of Gir-Somnath district in Gujarat on Wednesday evening. According to Forest department officials it may have fallen into an open well while straying around it or chasing pray and drowned into well's water.Post-mortem of dead lion was conducted at Jasadhar animal care center.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Plastic choking Gir, the last abode of Asiatic lions

Plastic choking Gir, the last abode of Asiatic lions
The Times Of India


An Asiatic lioness at the Gir forest park.

RAJKOT: Every year, wildlife lovers and voluntary organizations clear tonnes of plastic littering the 36km-long Girnar Parikrama route. 

However, plastic has now invaded the entire Gir sanctuary which is the last abode of Asiatic lions. In fact, around 200km of public roads pass through the sanctuary, of which nearly 175km is in Gir (west) division. 

Plastic — empty water bottles and packets of snacks— is strewn on both sides of the roads in the protected area. 

Concerned, the forest department on Friday launched the first-ever drive to clean the sanctuary of plastic.  

While rough estimates suggest that there could be 10 tonnes of plastic inside the sanctuary, on the first day itself, volunteers collected about 580 kg plastic waste from Gir (west) division. 

"We have covered 175 km of roads in all ranges. Around 300 people, including volunteers and forest staff, are involved in the exercise," said R R Nala, deputy conservator of forest (Gir-West) in Junagadh. 

"Only the core zone is free of plastic as we make sure that no tourists litter the area during their visit," said an official. 

It is on the public roads passing through the sanctuary where the menace is the maximum. 

"Non-vegetarian food leftovers, condoms and plastic wastes were found under bridges. Many hotels in the area dump the waste into water channels in the forest," said a volunteer. 

"Plastic in the forest and the sanctuary is a serious issue that affects the ecosystem. Only cleaning will not solve the problem. The government must come out with a permanent solution," said nature conservationist Revtubha Raijada, who is among the volunteers. 

Junagadh’s lioness to boost captive breeding

Junagadh's lioness to boost captive breeding
The Hindu

The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has given its nod to Sakkarbaug zoo at Junagadh in Gujarat to spare an Asiatic lioness to Mysuru zoo under an animal exchange programme to speed up captive breeding.

Asiatic lions have been listed as endangered species, surviving only in the Gir forest in Gujarat. Sakkarbaug zoo is famous for breeding Asiatic lions.

Mysuru zoo had received a pair of lions from Sakkarbaug zoo under the exchange programme four years ago. The lioness, Gowri, suffered from a health problem and did not recover fully despite constant treatment. Gowri delivered a cub, which died sometime later.

The Mysuru zoo had Asiatic lions in 1989, but they could not breed.

Speaking to The Hindu , Chief Conservator of Forest and zoo executive director B.P. Ravi said the CZA's order had been received and the stage is set for the exchange of animals.

Zoo gets CZA nod to receive the Asiatic lioness under an exchange programme


India: Asiatic lions cramped in Gir as numbers go up and translocation held up

India: Asiatic lions cramped in Gir as numbers go up and translocation held up

International Business times

Found only in Gujarat in India, the world's Asiatic lion population is beginning to outgrow the confines of the 1412sq km Gir National Park

The human imprint on Gir sanctuary in India housing the world's lone Asiatic endangered lion population is growing large and clear.

The annual clean-up of litter in the western division alone has yielded around 600kg of plastic waste so far.

With 200km of road running through the national park, waste ranging from food leftovers, condoms and bottles on the roadsides turn the area into an eye-sore.

The Girnar Parikrama pilgrimage alone sees over a million people visit the region in November following which wildlife organisations clear the area of plastic littering.

This time the plastic has invaded the entire Gir sanctuary other than the core area, reports Times of India.

Rough estimates suggest there could be 10 tonnes of plastic inside the sanctuary. Hotels in the area dump the waste into water spots in the forest.

Conflict between man and animal is also increasing in the area, with a 27% increase in lion numbers recorded over 2010 figures. At 523 lions, the park is full to its total capacity and more.

With 112 more lions than before, the irony is that almost 90 were located in regions outside the park during the 14th Asiatic Lion Census 2015.

About 40% of the total lion population now lives outside the Gir National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary spanning 1412sq km. In fact, they have been spotted as far away as 100km from the park.

Earlier, the lions used to return to the park but this time around they seem to have moved out permanently.

Experts say the national park has surpassed its capacity a decade ago and has to be expanded. It can only house 275 lions. Living in prides, just like its African cousin, the Asiatic male lion needs an area of 50sq km while the lioness needs 26sq km.

About 20 lions have been run over by speeding trucks and trains last year.

The case for translocation of the lions to Kuno reserve in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh gets stronger with the burgeoning numbers, but Gujarat stays adamant on not letting go "its pride".

Lion translocation

It was the Wildlife Institute of India that first mooted the idea that a few lions be shifted outside Gujarat to save the species and avoid a catastrophe should a disease wipe out the population.

It was an epidemic in Serengeti National Park during 1994 that killed over 1,000 lions.

A wildlife panel suggested the shifting of a single pride of five to ten Asiatic lions with 60-70% female population in the first set over the next two years.

Every three to five years, for a period of 25 years, two-three male lions, it said, should be translocated from Gir to Kuno to maintain the inter-linkage between lion populations in the two sanctuaries.

The Supreme Court also ordered the translocation in its April 2013 order, but neither the state nor the central governments have made a move on the £8m plan.

Meanwhile, the court has allowed a review of its order based on a petition filed by an NGO claiming the new status of lions.

The move to translocate was based on pressures faced on the declining lion population but the new census with dramatic rise puts a different twist, the NGO contends.

However, many experts believe the new rise in numbers also call for a move out as the Gir is no more able to support higher lion populations.

From critically endangered to endangered

Once widespread in Gujarat, the lion population shrank to a handful in the early 20th century, following hunting and drought. Since then, intervention by the government has helped improve the condition and in 2005 there were over 250 lions.

The Asiatic lion was removed from the list of 'critically endangered' species where it was placed in 2000 by the IUCN. It is now listed as 'endangered'.

The IUCN noted the population of the Asiatic Lion has not only stabilised but also extends beyond the Gir Forest into four regions of Gujarat.

Unlike in the case of the tiger, killed for its parts, the lion faces challenge from habitat loss and drought.

Illegal sand and limestone mining in the region have dried the rivers, forcing the lions to migrate to coastal areas as far away as 300km.

The Gujarat government annually spends around £5m on wildlife, a half of it on the big cat; critics say the amount is far too less.

Pride is in numbers: We saved Gir's Asiatic lions, but is it enough?

Pride is in numbers: We saved Gir's Asiatic lions, but is it enough?

Hindustan Times

The 2015 census for lions in Gir has shown an increased population. But is the sanctuary able to support the growth and is it safe to restrict them all at one habitat?

In December 2014, journalist Nick Kirkpatrick reported on a change in a certain tribal tradition in Africa in the Washington Post. The third annual Maasai Olympics which gave the young men of the tribe an opportunity to exhibit their prowess in running, throwing a spear and a club, and high jump, was an alternative to lion hunting - the traditional skill that marked a man from a boy. Though government-backed sanctuaries have existed across the African continent for years, with the king of the wild in danger, the Maasai Olympics, by seeking to put an end to the tradition of lion hunting, shows the common man's concern for conservation. In India, the nawab of Junagadh, say conservationists, took the lead  in the  shift from lion-hunting to nurturing, sometime at the turn of the 19th century. The initiative begun in Junagadh continued over the years, and today, Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat is the only place where Asiatic lions survive in the wild. 

A population estimation of lions in Gujarat released by the state recently shows a 27 per cent increase in their population between 2010 and 2015. "Asian lions once had an extensive distribution from Palestine in the west to Palamau forest in the east. In India, they were found in most of the modern north Indian states. Indiscriminate hunting by monarchs and British rulers was one of the major reasons behind local extirpations of lions from many parts of India. Owing to their social organisation and behaviour, lions were more easily visible to hunters as compared to tigers and leopards. Then followed an era of rapid destruction of lion habitat patches owing to demand for agriculture and timber. By the 1880s, lions got restricted only to the Gir forest of Gujarat and their numbers were dwindling," explains Kausik Banerjee, a researcher at the Wildlife Institute of India

Changing Course
The low point, according to data available with the forest department of the Gujarat government, was 1968 when the lion population at Gir dwindled to a mere 177. "Since then, the lion population at Gir has been increasing at an annual rate of 2.2 per cent," says Banerjee. Not everyone though is convinced that the number of animals in the wild can be counted with such precision. "It is at best an estimation, not a census. The results here are far too precise for my liking," says conservationist Ravi Chellam, though he agrees that even as an estimate it does show a trend towards growth in numbers. This is an especially praiseworthy feat at a time when the lion population in Africa is on the decline. "Recent analyses established that the African lion has lost at least 75 per cent of its original habitat, with fewer than 35,000 wild African lions remaining," says Banerjee.  

Much of the credit for the Indian success story, according to principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Gujarat SC Pant, goes to the local people or Maldharis. The government too has taken care of its pride. Gir was declared a sanctuary in 1965. Subsequently, an area of 258.71 sq. km was declared a national park. "Some of the landmark actions undertaken by the Gujarat Forest Department (GFD) include gradual resettlement of local pastoral communities outside the protected area (PA), water management, habitat management, weed eradication and planting fodder species with high nutritional values," says Banerjee. "The wild prey population went up from a density of about three per sq. km in 1973 to about 50 per sq. km in 1993. Protection and surveillance using updated technologies available; network system for informants in human dominated landscapes outside the PA and wildlife health monitoring are some of the other steps that have been taken." The increase in population - the status of Asiatic lions was changed from critically endangered to endangered in 2008 - is a direct reflection of these efforts. But as conservationist Meena Venkataraman questions: "Is conservation only about increasing numbers?"  

What's in a number?
In a published article titled Conservation of Asiatic Lions: Where Do We Go Now, Venkataraman writes, "The population growth has also resulted in increased movement, dispersal and establishment of lions in natural habitat patches outside the PA." According to the 2015 census, the growth in the number of lions outside the PA was much more than within the PA. As Venkataraman writes, "It is evident that the continued survival of lions depends on people's tolerance and at the same time, protection of lions from poaching, accidents, retaliatory killing, and diseases."

Accounts of man-lion conflict in Africa are not rare. The two legendary maneless lions of Tsavo were responsible for killing 130 people. A pride in Tanganyika killed 1,500 between 1932 and 1947. Cases of lion attack on humans have also been reported at the Kruger National Park. In comparison, the lions in Gujarat have been living in relative harmony with local inhabitants. "Currently, lions outside the Gir PA mostly predate on nilgai, wild pigs and unproductive surplus cattle. Lions' predations on productive livestock units are minimal and the GFD pays compensation for such cases," says Banerjee. The locals have also been involved in the conservation process. "Three hundred young people from across the villages have been chosen as Vanya Prani Mitra and are paid Rs 1,000 each per month to inform us if a lion enters a village and to  engage the other villagers so that the animal is not injured. Rescue centres are spread across the lion habitat," explains Pant.
There is, however, a tolerance threshold for most people. In 2012, an English daily reported of a lion attacking and preying on a 50-year-old man in Gujarat. In the paper, Lion-Human Conflict In The Gir Forest, India, Vasant K Saberwal, James P Gibbs, Ravi Chellam and AJT Johnsingh analysed 193 attacks by lions on humans between 1978 and 1991. Venkataraman writes that in the decade that the lion population has spilled outside the PA, livestock depredation has increased. Human-animal conflict aside, open wells, railroads and electricity cables are some of the other threats that the animals encounter when they venture too close to human habitation. The Gujarat government has not lagged in rising to the occasion. "Twenty-five thousand wells in Gir and outside have been given high walls to prevent accidents. After six lions died due to rail accidents outside the PA in Rajula area in Amreli district, trains were speed regulated, fences are being  constructed along the tracks and underpasses below the tracks for the animals to move safely," says Pant. 

Looking beyond Gir
Even with so much monitoring, there is a threat. "It's the case of putting all your eggs in one basket. One disease outbreak or disaster of some kind can wipe out the entire population," worries Chellam. Studies have identified domestic dogs as a major source of rabies and canine distemper outbreak. That apart, as Venkataraman points out in her article, lions are social animals and, being territorial, need adequate space to survive. "The Gir PA (about 1,880 sq. km) with the current prey base seems to have attained its maximum capacity to support lions. Currently, lions occupy about 22,000 sq. km of human-dominated landscapes of the adjoining districts outside the Gir PA. But Saurashtra is experiencing a change in traditional land-use patterns and crucial lion habitat patches are succumbing to such changes," rues Banerjee. 

Demands to create a second habitat for Asiatic lions have been gathering strength. Some have identified the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary near Porbander for the project, while others feel the choice to be inappropriate because of its proximity to the source population. In 2013, the Supreme Court passed an order in favour of introducing lions to the Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. A group of wildlife experts headed by Ravi Chellam and A JT Johnsingh had earlier studied comparable sites based on habitat requirements of lions to chose Kuno Palpur as the most suitable. However, as Palpur is also home to tigers, some have wondered at the two predators sharing the same space. "There are very few examples in history of tigers and lions in the same area so it is difficult to know what might happen in a place like Kuno. In my opinion, after watching tigers for 40 years, the tiger will have the advantage over the Gir lion," says conservationist and author Valmik Thapar. Meanwhile, says Dr Pant, the Gujarat government has set up a task force to evaluate the situation. Till it submits its report, one can only hope that the pride of Gir does not fall prey to forces beyond the control of its protectors.

Monday, June 08, 2015

6 Rajasthan tigers in Kuno, MP afraid of losing lions

6 Rajasthan tigers in Kuno, MP afraid of losing lions
The Times Of India

AHMEDABAD: Rajasthan seems to be losing its tigers to Madhya Pradesh. The movement of tigers from Ranthambore national park in Rajasthan to Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary has established the natural corridor between the two sanctuaries is functional. In April 2013, the Supreme Court had ordered translocation of Asiatic lions from Gujarat's Gir sanctuary to Kuno-Palpur. 

Interestingly, instead of rejoicing over the growing number of tigers in Kuno, forest officials of the state are worried in view of a petition filed by a Gujarat-based NGO, Wildlife Conservation Trust-Rajkot, pending in the Supreme Court. The NGO has joined as party to the petition filed by the Rajasthan government claiming that there is a possibility of conflict between the two big cats because a natural corridor of movement exists between Kuno and Ranthambore. 

Sources in the Gujarat forest department said that the tigers named, T-38 and T-71 — the latter is cub of the tiger named, T-30 — was first photographed in Kailadevi wildlife sanctuary. The same T-71 tiger has now established its territory in Kuno. (Kailadevi national park is a part of the Ranthambore tiger reserve.) 

There are two tigers from Ranthambore which are currently in Kailadevi. They too are likely to move towards Kuno, the 350-odd square kilometer-large wildlife sanctuary, said the forest department officials. 

The officials further said that, in all, six tigers from Kuno that have moved towards Madhya Pradesh had been caught on camera. Madhya Pradesh forest officials and members of World Wildlife Federation (WWF) have found four tigers from Ranthambore currently stationed in Kuno. 

Sunny Shah, coordinator, WWF-India, Western Indian Tiger Landscape, said four tigers from Ranthambore are already in Madhya Pradesh. Two of these are male and are in Kuno-Palpur. 

"The presence of two tigers — both from Ranthambore — have proved that Ranthambore-Kuno is a functional corridor and there are hopes that more male tigers from Ranthambore may soon follow suit," Shah said. 

Ranthambore's T-38 tiger had crossed the Chambal river and entered Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh in 2010 and established its territory there. 

Interestingly, forest officials of Madhya Pradesh are worried about the growing number of lions in Kuno in view of a petition filed by a Gujarat-based NGO, Wildlife Conservation Trust-Rajkot, pending in the Supreme Court. The NGO has joined as party to the petition filed by Rajasthan government claiming that there is a possibility of conflict between the two big cats because a natural corridor of movement exists between Kuno and Ranthambore. 

This petition filed by Gujarat-based NGO, Wildlife Conservation Trust-Rajkot to join as party to Rajasthan government's petition warning about the risk of shifting lions to tiger-populated Kuno is considered as the last hurdle in shifting Gir lions to MP. Gujarat government has exhausted all legal options to prevent the lions' translocation after its curative petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court last week. 

The NGO claims that the court was never informed about the contiguity between Ranthambore tiger reserve and Kuno wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. 

However, this news offers some hope to Gujarat foresters at a time when the 12-member committee formed by the apex court to report on the proposed translocation of lions has sought the opinion of the National Tiger Conservation Authority on whether they wanted Kuno to be reserved as a tiger habitat or allow translocation of lions. Gujarat officials are planning to raise the presence of tigers in Kuno-Palpur during the next meeting which is scheduled shortly. 

150 new water points set up for Asiatic lions in Gir forest

150 new water points set up for Asiatic lions in Gir forest
Business Standard

In a bid to provide succour from the sweltering heat to the growing population of Asiatic lions, the Gujarat forest department has set up 150 new artificial water points in Gir national park for the convenience of felines to quench their thirst. 

Deputy Conservator, Gir National Park, 
Sandeep Kumar said 150 new water points have been constructed in the last two years, apart from the 400 already existing water points across the wildlife sanctuary covering eight districts of Gujarat. 

According to the latest 
census announced early this month, the number of Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary, the only abode of these big cats, has increased from 411 in 2010 to 523 this year. 

"These artificially created water points are being filled up at regular intervals. We are doing it manually, through tractor-driven water tankers, solar pump sets and wind mills," Kumar told PTI. 

Earlier, there were nearly 400 artificial water points which have now been increased keeping in view the rising number of lions. 

The water points are being filled from last couple of days after mercury soared to 44 degree Celsius across the Suarashtra region. 

Since the seven rivers - Hiran, Saraswati, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Ghodavadi and Raval - which pass across the Saurashtra region tend to parch during summers, additional arrangements are ought to be put in place, he said. 

As per the latest census, there are 109 male, 201 female and 213 sub-adult Asiatic lions (cubs below age of three years) in the sanctuary. 

Apart from Asiatic lions, the Gir forest also has a considerable population of leopards, spotted deers, sambar, Neelgai, chinkaras, antelopes and over thousand species of birds.

150 new water points set up for Asiatic lions in Gir forest

150 new water points set up for Asiatic lions in Gir forest
Business Standard

The number of Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary, the only abode of these big cats, has increased from 411 in 2010 to 523 this year

In a bid to provide succour from the sweltering heat to the growing population of Asiatic lions, the Gujarat forest department has set up 150 new artificial water points in Gir national park for the convenience of felines to quench their thirst.

Deputy Conservator, Gir National Park, Sandeep Kumar said 150 new water points have been constructed in the last two years, apart from the 400 already existing water points across the wildlife sanctuary.

According to the latest census, the number of Asiatic lions in Gir sanctuary, the only abode of these big cats, has increased from 411 in 2010 to 523 this year. "These artificially created water points are being filled up at regular intervals. We are doing it manually, through tractor-driven water tankers, solar pump sets and wind mills," Kumar told PTI.

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