Saturday, August 26, 2017

MP says no to lions from Gujarat


MP says no to lions from Gujarat


AHMEDABAD/BHOPAL: With Gujarat showing no signs of parting with its lions in the wild to be translocated to Kuno Palpur despite a 2014 Supreme Court order, the Madhya Pradesh government has made a move to source lions from zoos across India for the newly prepped sanctuary spread over 344 sq km.

Ironically, the neighbouring state has underscored it does not want lions from Gujarat zoos.

In a proposal to the Centre, the MP forest department has sought lions from various zoos across the country barring Gujarat. The proposal cites that the MP forest department wants Asiatic lions from various zoos in order to create a separate gene pool of lions which is distinct from Gujarat lions.

Jitendra Agarwal, chief wildlife warden of MP, told TOI, "When the translocation project was conceived, the plan A was to introduce lions from the wild of Sasan Gir in Gujarat to Kuno Palpur while plan B was to introduce lions from the zoos.

With plan A not really working out, we have requested the Union government to put plan B in motion. The government has informed us that a meeting of the expert group on translocation would be soon held to decide on the matter".


Top officials in MP told TOI the Centre was specifically requested not to consider lions from any zoo in Gujarat. "Given Gujarat's reluctance to part with its lions, there is a possibility that the state government may not approve the relocation of lions from zoo as well," the official said.

Forest officials conceded that while the expert committee on lion translocation termed Kuno Palpur as "best suited" sanctuary due to adequate flora-fauna and prey base, Gujarat has been dragging its feet to part with its wildlife.


"Only seven meetings for translocation were held in four years, the action plan for reintroduction of lions in Kuno Palpur is yet to approved and Gujarat continues to raise objections and demand a series of more studies. This forced us to consider to bring zoobred lions."


Forest officials in Gujarat when contacted said they are not aware of any such proposal by MP.


Gir in Gujarat is the last abode of Asiatic lion with 523 lions as per 2015 census. The idea behind the 
Kuno-Palpur project was to raise a buffer population of wild lions as an insurance against epidemics or natural disasters wiping out the Gir lions. To substantiate their claims of releasing zoo big cats in wild, MP has stated that they have the experience to reintroducing orphaned tiger cubs in the wild after raising them and making them expert hunters.

The Unexpected Result When a Cow Faces Down a Pride of Rare Asiatic Lions


The Unexpected Result When a Cow Faces Down a Pride of Rare Asiatic Lions

Atlas Obscura

A CREATURE SO FEARLESS IT sends lions running for their lives: the cow. On a quiet Tuesday evening, a pride of rare Asiatic lions strolled through the village of Rampar, in the Indian state of Gujarat. They were likely looking for cattle to munch on, NDTV reported, but seem to have bitten off more than they could chew.


In CCTV footage, the lions prowl carefully around the lane, until a lone cow wanders meditatively into the frame. The lions take a single look at the approaching bovine, it seems, and scram! Rampar is 10 miles from the Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the world's last remaining population of Asiatic lions. The big cats are an occasional sight in Rampar and other local villages, where they've been known to attack humans and cows.


In Gir's 545 square miles, there are 650 Asiatic lions, according to a census taken this month. Though populations are increasing—in 2015, there were 523—the predator, which once prowled from central India all the way to the Middle East, is still extremely rare. They are slightly smaller than their African cousins, with more of a ruff than a mane, and a more tufted tail tassel. But the differences may run deeper than that: Attempts to crossbreed the subspecies in zoos the 1980s were unsuccessful, with many of the resulting offspring sickly and susceptible to disease.


As a total population, 650 lions is vanishingly small, but for Gir, it's proving rather a lot. As the park has succeeded in boosting their numbers, humans living on the fringes of it are coming into contact with the lions more and more. Some think relocation of some of the big cats might be the answer. Since 2004, Gujarat and neighboring state Madhya Pradesh have been fighting a bitter battle over the idea. The Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh has been approved as a potential new home for about 40 lions to ease overcrowding and inbreeding, but Gujarat has been fighting the relocation. The state government has said that it will only permit the relocation if they receive 33 studies, as mandated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, that all agree that Palpur-Kuno is a suitable new home.


This is as much a political and economic issue as a conservation one, however. Many Gujarati people think of the lions as a key part of their heritage (and tourism economy). Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is from the state, referred to them as the unshareable "pride of Gujarat." But the relocation project seems to be inching forward. The cows of Madhya Pradesh had better ready themselves.

Monday, August 21, 2017

BRBNML renews adoption at Mysuru zoo


BRBNML renews adoption at Mysuru zoo



Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran (P) Ltd. (BRBNML), Mysuru, has renewed its adoption of an Asiatic lion, a tiger and two giraffes under animal adoption scheme for a period of one year.

Under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme, the BRBNML adopted the animals for a period from July 9, 2017 to July 8, 2018 by paying Rs. 4 lakh as the adoption fee.

The company has also adopted an African cheetah and a zebra for the period of one year paying Rs. 1 lakh.

The total amount received under animal adoption scheme from April 1, 2017 to till this date is Rs. 21,11,501 for 161 animals.

H.S. Thakur Desai, General Manager, Puja Thakur Desai, K. Narayanan, Deputy General Manager, and H.L. Puttalinga, Assistant Manager, visited the Mysuru zoo on Friday.

They completed the adoption formalities and received the adoption certificate.

Two Asiatic lioness found dead in Amreli were ‘poisoned’, two maldharis booked


Two Asiatic lioness found dead in Amreli were 'poisoned', two maldharis booked

The IndianExpress


Two Maldharis (herdsmen) were arrested by forest department late on Thursday for allegedly poisoning two sub-adult lionesses in Lakhapadar village of Amreli district. A local court in Dhari sent the accused to judicial custody on Friday after the forest department did not seek their remand. Carcass of a sub-adult lioness was recovered from government wasteland in Lakhapadar village of Dhari taluka of Amreli on Wednesday afternoon. Less than 24 hours later, carcass of another sub-adult lioness was recovered from the same area on Thursday. Forest officers said the sub-adult lionesses were around 2.5 year old and were sisters.


Forest officers said four hours after recovery of the second carcass, two maldharis were arrested. They have been identified as Sangram Gamara (30) and Manga Sadhu (40), both residents of Nagadhra village adjoining Lakhapadar. "The accused are rearing goats. After a pride consisting of a lioness and her two cubs preyed on two of their goats, the accused poured pesticide on their carcasses. But the lion pride ate their kill even after it was poisoned, leading to their deaths," chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle, Anirudhh Pratap Singh told The Indian Express on Friday.


Lakhapadar falls in Sarasiya range of Gir (east) forest division under Junagadh wildlife circle. Singh said that the carcasses were found from government wasteland between Lakhapadar and Nagadhra villages.


"While we are awaiting laboratory tests ascertaining the exact cause of deaths of the two lionesses, prima facie, they died due to poisoning. We have also recovered the bottle of pesticide used in the crime. We fear the mother lioness could also have been affected by the poison. Our staff is searching for her," Singh further said.


Asiatic lions are an endangered species and Gir forest and other protected areas spread across Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat are their only natural home in the world. Asiatic lions have been included in Schedule-I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and their hunting can attract seven years imprisonment.


The accused were produced in a local court in Dhari on Friday. After the forest department did not seek their remand, the duo were sent to judicial custody.

"The accused have confessed to have poured pesticide on the two goats hunted by lions. They are claiming that they poisoned the lions as the big cats had killed their 36 goats in recent months. Since they confessed their crime, we did not seek their remand. Therefore, the court sent them to judicial custody," the CCF further added.

 Asiatic lion, Amreli Asiatic lion death, Amreli asiatic lions, Amreli lions, Asiatic lion deaths,

Gir lions may soon roam around Aravallis


Gir lions may soon roam around Aravallis



Gurugram: If all goes according to the plan, soon the residents of Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) may not have to go to Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh to view Gir lions.


The Haryana government is mulling over the possibility of setting up the lion safari park on the lines of one created in Etawah in Uttar Pradesh in the Aravallis of southern Haryana regions.


The state government has begun discussions with the Gujarat government and have begun the preparation to create the ecosystem wherein the Gir lions can thrive in the ecosystem of a new geography.

Gir lions may soon roam around Aravallis

Friday, August 18, 2017

Record 1 million pledge to save Gujarat’s pride


Record 1 million pledge to save Gujarat's pride



Rajkot: In one of the biggest widllife conservation awarness programme, nearly 10 lakh people, mostly school children, marched through their respective villages in four districts of Saurashtra on Thursday and took a pledge to work for conservation of Asiatic lions till their last breath.


On the occasion of World Lions Day, students of nearly 5,000 schools in Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Gir-Somnath districts, not only took the conservation pledge but also spread awareness about the importance of lions and Gir. The event made its way into the Asia Book of Records and the forest department has also approached the Guinness Book of World Records for most number of people taking a pledge for saving lions simultenously at multiple locations.


"In the run-up to World Lion Day, we had started a campaign to bring maximum people together and take a pledge for lion conservation. No where has a programme of this magnitude organized for conservation of a particular wildlife specie," said Ram Ratan Nala, deputy conservator of forest, Sasan. The school children and others sporting specially made lion masks organized the rallies and then participated in the awarness discussions held in their respective schools.


"Around 5,000 schools in 2,500 village of four districts had registered for this programme. Besides, special masks, we had also prepared literature like pamphlets and booklets on importance of Gir and lion conservation. One student in each school also read out a 10-minute speech that we had prepared and it was heard by all other students and teachers," said Nala. A 10-minute movie on Asatic lions was also screened in each and every school that was followed by discussion by teachers and students.






Rajkot: Lakhs of citizens from Gujarat came together to take a pledge to save wildlife. In a bid to create awareness for safety and conservation of Asiatic lions, which are hailed as the state's pride, more than 10 lakh people marched through their respective villages in four districts of Saurashtra on Thursday.

On the occasion of World Lion Day, the citizens took a pledge to work for conservation of Asiatic lions till their last breath 

Students of nearly 5,000 schools in Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Gir-Somnath districts partook in the noble cause. The young children not only took the conservation pledge but also spread awareness about the importance of lions and Gir forest.


The event made its way into the Asia Book of Records and the forest department has also approached the Guinness Book of World Records for most number of people taking a pledge for saving lions simultaneously at various locations.

According to a report in Times Of India, the Asiatic lion census in 2015 said there are 523 lions in Gujarat of which over 168 lions have moved out into unprotected parts of the Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir-Somnath, Rajkot and Junagadh districts.

The lion population outside the protected area of Gir Sanctuary has increased by around 400%, the International Union of Conservation of Nature said in a report in August last year. 

Friday, August 11, 2017






Animal lovers around the world fall silent once again as we see a tragic event repeat itself. Xanda, the son of the famous Zimbabwean lion Cecil, has reportedly met the same horrific fate – killed by trophy hunters. This news comes just a few weeks after we commemorated the second anniversary of Cecil the Lion's tragic death. Cecil, a research lion living in protected lands, was shot and killed by a U.S. dentist. Xanda has been living in the same region of Hwange National Park, and was six years old, the age at which lions in Tanzania become legal to poach.  Dr. Jane Goodall spoke out about the event and the heinous tradition of trophy hunting writing,


How can anyone with an ounce of compassion be proud of killing these magnificent creatures? Lions, leopards, sable antelopes, giraffes and all the other sport or trophy animals are beautiful – but only in life.


So what is trophy hunting?

Trophy hunting is the hunting of wild game for "sport" where individuals seek out "prizes" of animal body parts. Africa's "big five" (a term coined by big game hunters to describe the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot) are the most frequently targeted: lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards and buffalo. Four of these species are already on the endangered species listThis sad "sport" is even encouraged by monetary prizes from pro-hunting organizations.


Perhaps the most egregious form of trophy hunting is "canned hunting." The lions are raised in captivity to be docile, and upon maturity are sold into hunting facilities to be shot in fenced enclosures (more about this horrible practice was revealed in the film Blood Lions). Around 6,000 lions are currently being held in South Africa for the purpose of canned hunting.

A picture of the trophies displayed at one of the annual SCI conventions.


Is it legal?

Unfortunately, yes. Read more here about CITES regulations and about placing Lions under Appendix I (currently under Appendix II) to secure the most protection. If lions reach this level of protection, hunting operations would be forced to demonstrate "a certain level of sustainability by setting science-based quotas, establishing non-detriment findings, and requiring import and export permits for all trophies."

What is the argument used in favor of trophy hunting?

Those in favor of trophy hunting advocate for its use as a conservation strategy. They maintain that the excessive amount of money spent on these hunts is put back into local villages' conservation efforts and eliminates "weak animals" from the population.

Trophy hunting does not aid the community or conservation
Reports indicate that trophy hunting accounts for less than 2% of South African tourism revenues. In other words, non-invasive tourism such as photography actually generates far more of a profit.  Studies in Tanzania showed that "few benefits filtered to the communities…about 3-5% of hunting revenues actually reached the villages." The IUCN gave a figure as low as US $0.30 per year to the each village inhabitant, indicating that using the land for sustainable agriculture would be much more profitable.

Blood lions


Trophy hunting does not better the species
In the case of the "Big Five," these animals are near extinction – eliminating any individual is threatening the viability of populations. Cecil was actually part of an Oxford study on hunting, in progress at the time of his death. The study found that of the 62 lions tagged, 24 were killed by sport hunters and 10 died of other causes.


Where does the United States fit into this conversation?

According to the IFAW, the U.S. is the leading importer of lion trophies. The blame for poaching is often placed on China for its booming market for animal parts, or on Africa for relaxed hunting policies. But the real problem lies in the demand from the hunters. The US averages 126,000 animal trophy imports a year, or 345 a day, according to the Humane Society International. This is where the import policies become so essential, such as airlines refusing to transport the trophies!

Below is a timeline showing both the forwards and backwards motion being taken in the name of trophy hunting:

Cecil graphic-draft

How can you make a difference?

The death of Cecil is said to have changed the way that the public interacts with conservation due to the massive support that the Oxford scientists received after the event. Now, as we reflect on the death of his son, we must rally to change this situation for the better. Tragedies like the death of Cecil, and now Xanda, outline the many conservation challenges we face together. Xanda was shot just one mile outside of the protected park, as Xanda's pride would move in and out of this area. Now, scientists are calling for a no-hunting zone 3 miles around the park to better protect these animals. It is this kind of thinking that will enable us to better protect animals outside of the traditional "park" only model, along with education, and stricter regulations. Cecil's death spurred the U.N. to adopt it's first resolution to combat illegal trafficking, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife listed lions as endangered in 2016, making it more difficult for trophies to be imported. Still, there are fewer than 30,000 lions in the wild, and we must each do something to protect them from extinction.

Here's what you can do:

– Find out the latest CITES regulations on trophy hunting in various countries.

– Use your voice and platform. No matter how far away your location or contacts may seem from the issue, every action to defend animals helps. If airlines hadn't used their platform to regulate the transport of trophies, we wouldn't have the strict import rules in place today. Consider using social media, as it is Jane's 5th Reason for Hope, and was part of the outcry that supported Oxford scientists after Cecil's death. Share this story on Twitter by clicking here.

– Write to your U.S. senators and representatives to urge them to protect endangered species by creating more strict import laws in the ESA.

Sean Herbert/AP

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Lions lose funds catfight to tigers


Lions lose funds catfight to tigers


AHMEDABAD: Given that both the Asiatic lion and the Bengal tiger are in the same "endangered" category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Centre's stepmotherly attitude towards the Asiatic lion is difficult to understand. Both UPA and NDA governments at the Centre have shown the same disregard for conservation of Asiatic lions allocating for lions funds equivalent to only 2.6% of that spent on Bengal tigers.

Between 2012 and 2017, Project Tiger bagged Rs1,007 crore for conservation from the Centre, but the Asiatic lion received a paltry Rs25.80 crore to save itself.


Remaining fixed in its stand of not providing separate funds for lion conservation, the Union government has not only rejected Gujarat government's proposal, "A Plan for Consolidating Long Term Conservation of Asiatic Lions," but also asked the state government to prioritize projects and activities within Rs1 crore.

The ministry has said that Asiatic lion conservation does not fall under the category of "scheduled project" and cannot be considered at par with the tiger conservation project.

In reply to a question by an MP from West Bengal, Md Nadimul Haque, the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change stated that Gujarat government had sought central funding to the tune of Rs135 crore and had proposed bearing a share of Rs 15 crore for lion conservation.


"However, as the requisite funds were not available under the centrally sponsored scheme - 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH)' the state government of Gujarat was advised to review the proposal and prioritize activities up to Rs 1 crore," stated the ministry's reply.

The Union government also stated in its reply that the Gujarat government has been told to "submit the proposal under the component of 'Recovery programme for saving critically endangered species'."

Kuno wildlife sanctuary to be notified national park


Kuno wildlife sanctuary to be notified national park


BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh forest department is likely to notify Kuno wildlife sanctuary as a national park — the last condition imposed by a Supreme Court-appointed committee for translocation of Asiatic lions from Gir.

In January this year, Gujarat's forest department had placed its objections before this 12-member committee and demanded that 36 studies be completed before lions can be transferred to MP.


"Converting this wildlife sanctuary into a national park was the last condition we were asked to comply with. So this is being done. I don't think there is anything else left," said a senior official in the forest department.


Issues like prey base, habitat, vegetation and weather are said to be conductive for shifting of lions to Kuno. The MP forest department had promised to complete all formal processes of declaring Kuno as a 'national park' by the end of February, but failed to do so following varied administrative problems. "The notification declaring Kuno as a national park is likely to be issued in a few days" said the officer, adding there won't be any further delay. The expert committee had visited Kuno last December.


After spending nearly five hours at the sanctuary, the panel members found the atmosphere in Kuno-Palpur conducive to the shifting of lions." Gujarat, too, could not question much on MP's preparedness to host the lions


Gujarat government had moved a curative petition in Supreme Court as its last legal resort to retain its Asiatic lions. This was also dismissed. But then in another blow to MP's hopes, two Gujarat-based NGOs filed separate petitions challenging translocation of lions to Kuno.


When shortage of prey base was cited as one of the major objections, the state declared 700 sq km as a protected area to resolve the issue. Sources said the prey base, which was presented before the court in 2013, was nearly 350 sq. km, which is the core sanctuary area. While MP won the eight-year-long legal battle with Gujarat in 2013, the latter had been dilly-dallying compliance.

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