Saturday, December 28, 2013

Decks cleared for shifting Gir lions to Palpur Kuno Sanctuary: MP Chief Minister

28-12-2013
Decks cleared for shifting Gir lions to Palpur Kuno Sanctuary: MP Chief Minister
Travel Biz Monitor
http://www.travelbizmonitor.com/decks-cleared-for-shifting-gir-lions-to-palpur-kuno-sanctuary-mp-chief-minister-22729

Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (MP), said that with the decision of the court, now decks were cleared for shifting Asian lions from Gir, Gujarat to Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Shivpuri district, MP. This will be major attraction for tourists from all over the world, he said, instructing officials of the State Tourism Department to chalk out a comprehensive plan to get MP figured on International tourism map.

Chauhan was addressing a review meeting of the Culture and Tourism Department at Mantralaya. He said that there was need to focus on Khajuraho Dance Utsav, Bhagoria Utsav, and Tansen Samaroh and their marketing at international level. He said that global publicity about tourism should be done, as per a report in the Free Press Journal. Chauhan instructed officials to generate more employment in the field of tourism.

Giving Narmada- Kshipra Link Project as an example, Chauhan said that its confluence might be a tourist place. Madai and Palpur also might get their identity in the tourism sector globally. A golf course has been proposed for Sanchi and Khajuraho.

Gir’s lions will soon be in Palpur Kuno Sanctuary: CM

28-12-2013
Gir's lions will soon be in Palpur Kuno Sanctuary: CM
FreePress
http://freepressjournal.in/girs-lions-will-soon-be-in-palpur-kuno-sanctuary-cm/

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said that with the decision of court, now decks were cleared for shifting Asian lions from Gir, Gujarat to Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Shivpuri district. This will be major attraction for the tourists from all over the world, he said, instructing officials of tourism department to chalk out comprehensive plan to get MP figured on International tourism map.

He was addressing a review meeting of culture and tourism department at Matralaya on Thursday.He said that there was need to focus on Khajuraho dance utsav, Bhagoria Utsav, Tansen Samaroh and their marketing at International level. He said that global publicity about tourism should be done.

Chauhan instructed officials to generate more employment in the field of tourism. Madhya Pradesh has its specialties' about culture, natural and spirituality and their publicity at global level should be done.

Giving Narmada- Kshipra Link Project as example, Chauhan said that its confluence might be a tourist place. Madai and Palpur also might get their identity in tourism sector at global map. Golf course has been proposed for Sanchi and Khajuraho.

Tajmahal of Bhopal will also be given a face- lift without tempering its archelogical face. Floating restaurant will be opened at Atal Behari Regional Park, Indore. He also instructed to kick off tourist activities at Indira Sagar Island. He instructed to make Bharat Bhavan as global art centre.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Lion territory doubles in three years

26-12-2013
Lion territory doubles in three years
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Lion-territory-doubles-in-three-years/articleshow/27927845.cms

The king of the jungle has conquered new territories. About one-third of theSaurashtra region has been marked as Asiatic lion-inhabited areas by the state forest department. A recent study based on frequent lion kills and compensation given to farmers says the big cats rule over a huge 20,000 sq km of area — almost double the 10,500 sq km recorded in the May 2010 census.

A detailed analysis reveals that there are about 1,500 villages in Saurashtra where lions regularly venture out to kill domestic as well as herbivorous animals. Most of these villages are located in Junagadh, Amreli and some even in Bhavnagar.

Experts say this is a result of good conversation efforts put in by the state government. The Gir national park and sanctuary is unable to contain the growing population of the lions — the numbers have consistently grown from 284 in 1990 to 304 (1995), 327 (2000), 359 (2005) and 411 according to the last census held in 2010. The first census of independent Gujarat state conducted in 1968 had put the lion population at 177.

The next census, due in 2015, will be carried out over an area of 20,000 sq km.

Forest department officials believe that out of 411 lions recorded in the last census, 114 have strayed into newer areas. Since the big cat can live close to friendly human habitations, it has even moved out of forest corridors where it feeds on domestic cattle.

Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forests, who conducted the study, says, "The study does not take into account stray kills. We have identified areas where the lion presence has been continuous over longer periods."

Petition filed in SC against translocation

26-12-2013
Petition filed in SC against translocation
Times of India
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIA/2013/12/25&PageLabel=4&EntityId=Ar00400&ViewMode=HTML

A Rajkot-based NGO Wildlife Conservation Trust – Rajkot has in a fresh petition moved the Supreme Court against the translocation of Lion to Kuno Palpur, Madhya Pradesh. The fresh petition demanded that the petition which is active in the conservation measures in the Gujarat state has tried to put forward several arguments before the expert committee formed by the order of the Supreme Court dated April 15 this year.

The petition submitted that the committee was bound by the directions given in the judgment and was not willing to hear any arguments against translocation.

The petitioner has also tried to raise a technical ground stating that the status of Asiatic Lion was not critically endangered but according to the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Lion has been listed as endangered species.

The trust has also tried to base its petition on the behaviour of the lion. The petitioner talks of a small pride can be just one female and her cubs, the largest can number up to 40, but the norm is around .

Accordingly, to order translocation without considering that pride behavior may only act as a counterproductive to their survival, the petitioner argued.
The petitioner NGO, who has been in the Gir for fencing the well and also several conservation programmes has not dealt upon the traditional points of poaching and prey base and gun culture which were raised by the Gujarat government in its review petition and even during the course of the argument.

The petitioner organization in fact has tried to play around on the animal behaviour and even the fact that the court has been misguided on the issue of status of Lion. The petitioner demanded that the Apex court should consider that the under Wildlife Protection Act, 1935 the Chief Wildlife Warden, the state government and Central government are appropriate authority to decide on the translocation of the any species.

The petition also demanded that the court should direct that the recommendations of the National Board for Wildlife on matters relating totranslocation of any wild animal do not bind the Chief Wildlife Warden, the State Government and the Central Government. The petitioner also sought direction stating if translocation of any wild animal as defined in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, can be undertaken without the specific approval of the state and can be overruled by anybody body.

The petitioner has stated that the status of Asiatic Lion was not critically endangered

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

PIL in supreme by Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rajkot against translocation

25-12-2013
PIL in supreme by Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rajkot against translocation
Print Edition

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Two pairs of Asiatic lions arrive at Lucknow Zoo

21-12-2013
Two pairs of Asiatic lions arrive at Lucknow Zoo
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-21/kanpur/45443556_1_asiatic-lions-fisher-forest-lucknow-zoo

Lucknow Zoo will receive two pairs of Asiatic Lions from the Sakkarbag Zoo in Gujarat for the upcoming Lion Safari in Etawah. Two pairs of lions (two males and two females) are expected to arrive by Saturday under an exchange programme with Sakkarbag Zoo in Junagadh.

Sources said that by the end of January, the four Asiatic Lions would be shifted to the breeding centre at Lion Safari in Etawah.

"We have one pair each of Asiatic lions at Lucknow and Kanpur Zoos that were procured from Hyderabad and Rajkot zoos." said director Lion Safari Gurmeet Singh. With these two pairs that we are getting from Sakkarbagh Zoo in Junagadh in Gujarat, total numbers of Asiatic lions we have procured so far for Lion Safari will reach eight. "By the end of January or in the first week of February, these royal beasts would be shifted to Lion Safari in Etawah," he said.

"At present, we are focussing on the construction work at the enclosures for the wild beasts at the breeding centre, besides the erection of nearly 8 kms of outer boundary wall and setting up of a power unit and a water tank at the Lion Safari in Fisher Forest area," he added.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had visited Etawah on October 5, 2013 and took part in the last phase of the plantation drive at the Fisher Reserve Forest area where work on the Lion Safari is underway.

To give wild beasts a natural feel, nearly 1.5 lakhs saplings were planted on nearly 1,000 acres of land within the periphery of Lion Safari in Fisher Reserve Forest situated on Etawah-Gwalior national highway.

Once the facilities are in place, visitors can drive through a thoroughfare, spotting lions roaming in the safari. The safari riders will be provided caged vehicles and they will enjoy watching wild animals roaming in the open.

Meanwhile, minister of state for zoos Shiv Pratap Yadav, principal secretary, forests and environment VN Garg and principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Rupak De, had visited London Zoo and Longleat Safari Park in England where safaris are developed.

Sources said that the safari will be developed on the pattern of London's Longleat Safari Park. The state machinery plans to develop enclosures for other wild animals such as elephants, tigers, cheetahs and zebras close to it, on the lines of the London's Park.

Some 150.83 hectares of land in Fisher Reserve Forest area was acquired and notified as lion safari in 2005.

However, it was shelved by the Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after Samajwadi Party came back to power in March 2012. The Union ministry of environment and forests had approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crores for the Lion Safari project and authorized Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for the construction and execution work.

Uttar Pradesh gets four Gujarat lions for safari

19-12-2013
Uttar Pradesh gets four Gujarat lions for safari
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-19/rajkot/45376418_1_etawah-gwalior-national-highway-asiatic-lions-lion-safari

Two pairs of Asiatic lions (two male, two females) from Sakkarbaug Zoo, run by state forest department, will leave for Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.

The UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had sought four lions from Gujarat government for UP's proposed safari park in Etawah.

According to sources, a UP government team is in Junagadh to transport the four lions and they will be moved on Thursday.

The lions will be used for breeding at the safari park in UP. The proposed safari in UP has an enclosed area and requisite approvals from the Central Zoo Authority.

According to an official, there are around 150 Asiatic lions outside Gujarat in various zoos in India and the world.

The proposed safari at Etawah was mooted in 2005. It is going to have a breeding progamme for Asiatic lions.

Some 150 hectares in Fisher Forest on the Etawah-Gwalior national highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari in 2005. A breeding centre, veterinary hospital along with water-bodies and approach road is being constructed for the safari.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mumbai NGO roars against translocation of Gir lions from Gujarat to MP

17-12-2013
Mumbai NGO roars against translocation of Gir lions from Gujarat to MP
DNA
http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-mumbai-ngo-roars-against-translocation-of-gir-lions-from-gujarat-to-mp-1936359

Last month, Mumbai NGO Empower Foundation wrote to a panel created to study and chart out translocation of Asiatic lions from Gir sanctuary in Gujarat to Kuno Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, asking them to stay the trans-location till various issues are not resolved.

The NGO has cited more than 29 violations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines and other points why the trans-location plan might be a failure. They highlighted MP's gun culture and rampant poaching that makes conditions adverse for lions.

"Madhya Pradesh constitutes about 50% of the world's tiger poaching besides the risky co-existence of the lion and tiger makes it unsuitable for trans-location...  Also, the expert panel does not consist of a lion specialist, only tiger experts. They should consult experts, maybe from Africa, to find out how lions might react to trans-location," says Jalpesh Mehta, founder of Empower Foundation who has also written to the IUCN and Maneka Gandhi, seeking  intervention.

The last census of 2010 recorded the population of Asiatic lions to 411. Earlier this year,  the Supreme Court directed the MoEF to take steps to reintroduce the Gir lions in Kuno. A report by two senior members of the expert panel raised concerns on trans-location over tolerance of local communities in Kuno to man-animal conflicts might be lesser than Gujarat.

Experts say it is important to avoid concentration of a species in one place to eliminate risk of extinction from epidemics and natural calamities. "It is important to have a small number placed in a different area... Kuno sanctuary was our best option from many others. What we need now is the Madhya Pradesh government to come forward with assurances on how it will prepare for trans-location. We'll discuss it at our next meeting," said AJT Johnsingh, member of the expert panel and veteran biologist.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A cop who hunted down hunters

13-12-2013
A cop who hunted down hunters
DNA
http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-a-cop-who-hunted-down-hunters-1934378

dna gets talking to the joint director of CBI, Mumbai, and Colaba-resident, Keshav Kumar, on his exceptional feat in a unique poaching case at Gir.

Keshav Kumar speaking at Sanctuary Asia annual awards function.

It is said that the main job of a policeman is to serve and protect the citizens. But here is a policeman who has gone not one but a few hundred steps further. He managed to capture the poachers involved in the killing of 10 Asiatic Lions at Gir National Park in Gujarat. He recently won the Wildlife Service Award at the Sanctuary Asia Awards 2013, held last sunday, for it. Keshav Kumar, joint director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Mumbai, was the police officer in charge of investigating the incidence of poaching in 2007.

One of India's most respected police officers, his expertise lies in using forensic sciences and new age techniques and tools in criminal investigation. He received near perfect score for relevance, presentation, and content for the presentation he had given on "Convergence of Conventional Forensics and Wildlife Crime Investigation" to the Interpol's Wildlife Crime Division.
Kumar has also delivered a series of lectures at the National Police Academy, Gujarat High Court's Judicial Academy, the Rajasthan Police Academy and the Directorate of the Forensic Sciences and Laboratory in Gandhinagar. He was also presented the President's Police Medal in 2012 for his inspiring service to the nation.

It was due to Kumar's initiative that tools of conventional forensic sciences were used for the first time in India as far as wildlife crime is concerned. Kumar said, "I thought if we can solve murder cases with the help of conventional forensic sciences then why could we not use the same to track poachers. Earlier, as far as forensic in wildlife crime was concerned, it was related only to biology. The concept of using all the conventional methods of forensic, where physics, chemistry and pathology are also used, was new and more effective in tracking the crime."

At the outset of the investigation, Kumar had no knowledge about wildlife crime in India, although he had 23 years of experience solving conventional crimes. "Before I started my investigation I knew nothing about wildlife crime, therefore I took help from various wildlife crimes experts, wildlife NGOs and of course the forensic. When we examined the culprits' nails, lion blood was found on their nails. This was possible only because of polygraph and narco-analysis," said Kumar. He also added that it was the first ever case in India, where lions were hunted for trade.

"Tigers are usually the first preference as each part is highly valuable. But with tigers disappearing from national parks and forests, the poachers planned to hunt lions instead, also it is quite difficult to differentiate between the parts of the two species," clarified Kumar.

He also said that Belinda Wright, who heads the Wildlife Protection Society, gave him a very valuable piece of advice. "She told me to focus on the hazel-eyed Baheliyas, a tribal community of Madhya Pradesh, who specialised in poaching," said Kumar. In all, 37 poachers, who were from Madhya Pradesh, were convicted in the wildlife crime case. This is the highest number of poachers that have ever been convicted together for the same crime. The forensic method changed the way wildlife crimes were solved in India and gave a new dimension to it.

Kumar is one of the key persons responsible for the creation of the CID Wildlife Crime Cell and he continues to be relied upon by states across the country to help them solve crimes relating to wildlife. His methods and inputs have already raised the conviction rates as far as wildlife crimes are concerned and there is no doubt they will continue to increase further.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Gir named best protected area

09-12-2013
Gir named best protected area
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-08/ahmedabad/44940768_1_gir-sanctuary-asiatic-lions-gir-forest

Gir Sanctuary has been recognized and awarded the best protected area by a Mumbai-based wildlife magazine.

The awards were instituted in 2000, to recognize and draw national attention to the contribution of individuals working for the protection of wildlife and natural habitats in India.

This year, among various categories, Gir sanctuary was awarded for the best protected sanctuary. Chief conservator of forests R L Meena received the award on behalf of Gujarat. C N Pandey, the principal chief conservator of forests said: "The award was a recognition of the conservation efforts of the state and especially the people of Saurashtra who have protected lions as their family. It was because of this conservation that the population of lions increased to 411 according to the 2010 census."

Officials said that talk of relocating Asiatic lions from Gir meet vehement protests from local maldharis. Despite the wild cats preying on nearly 6,000 domesticated animals in the forest, satellite areas and villages, locals consider the lions to be a part of their family. Gir forest was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1965 with the main area declared a national park. Gradually, more lion habitats in adjoining regions were also declared sanctuaries and ultimately Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary was created in 2007. Several ecological studies were also conducted to identify problems and prepare a conservation project. This was followed by implementation of the Gir Lion Sanctuary Project in 1973 to resettle maldharis.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Leopard kills five-year-old girl in Junagadh village

29-11-2013
Leopard kills five-year-old girl in Junagadh village
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-29/rajkot/44574407_1_junagadh-village-five-year-old-girl-sugarcane-farm

A five-year-old girl was killed by leopard in Surva village in Talala taluka of Junagadh district on Thursday late night. According to forest officials, deceased has been identified as Rekha Vavariya, 5, a tribal girl from Madhya Pradesh. Deceased's brother Hiru (18) was also injured by leopard when he was asleep and he was refereed to hospital in Junagadh.

According to sources, the incident occurred on outskirt of Surva village where a tribal family from Madhya Pradesh was staying in the makeshift arrangement in the sugarcane farm.

"Leopard entered into the hut and killed the girl. Girl died on the spot while Hiru was injured by the wild animal'' said sources. Tribal family came here for work in sugarcane field as agricultural labourers.

Sources said that agricultural labourers, mostly tribals, have become victims of wild animals in Junagadh district as they stay mostly in open agricultural field and becomes easy target of wild animals during sugar cutting seasons and other agricultural operations.

Ahmedabad: Gir cats in the crosshairs of man and herbivores

28-11-2013
Ahmedabad: Gir cats in the crosshairs of man and herbivores
DNA
http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-ahmedabad-gir-cats-in-the-crosshairs-of-man-and-herbivores-1926180

Recent incidents of killing of lions show that they walked into a trap meant for nilgais and wild boars.

The arrest of two farmers in connection with the death of a lioness has exposed a bigger malaise plaguing the regions that the Asiatic lions call their home i.e., the rise in number of herbivores.

This trend is resulting in increasing man-animal conflict with the Asiatic lions turning out to be the accidental victims in the fight.

Activists and farmers say that nilgais and wild boars destroying standing crop is a genuine problem that farmers in the region are facing although both are unanimous in their opinion that the lions are just accidental victims and not the targets.

"I have seen farms that have been completely destroyed by these herbivores. It is then obvious that the farmers will do something to protect their farms and many resort to laying traps for nilgais and wild boars," said Dinesh Goswami, an activist.

He said that the farmers in fact prefer having lions or leopards near their fields. "This ensures that the herbivores stay away. But the cats are unwittingly getting caught in farmers' attempts to protect the crop," said Goswami.

He added that unlike cattle being attacked by lions, there is no compensation for farm produce that is destroyed by herbivores. "The nilgais are turning out to be a big menace. They can't be killed and their numbers are increasing. The farmers don't get compensated for their loss so they resort to laying traps," said Goswami.

It should be noted that the census in 2013 had shown 18% increase in herbivores in the Gir Sanctuary and National Park in the past three years. There was also a 25% rise in wild boar population.

Ukabhai Vasa — who belongs to Dhamraj village in Sutrapada taluka of Somnath district — said that they spend 25% of their income in securing their farms. "If you want to know the destruction these herbivores are causing you have to visit the farms at night. Farmers are spending their earnings installing solar lights, laying boundaries and hiring watchmen," said Vasa.

He said that even if the government managed to fence the forest area a lot of trouble could be avoided.

Sasan's 5 lion cubs alive after 6 months

29-11-2013
Sasan's 5 lion cubs alive after 6 months
The Economic Times
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/flora-fauna/sasans-5-lion-cubs-alive-after-6-months/articleshow/26544983.cms

It is not often that lion cubs born in the wild survive even six months. But Laxmi, the mother of five lion cubs born in Gir on May 17, 2013, again proved that she can risk her life to protect her offspring. An extra-protective mother who is three-years-and-seven-months-old herself, has been taking good care of her cubs.

Officials who are closely monitoring the growth of the five cubs say one of the cubs was weaker than the others. "Laxmi took extra care and ensured that she fed this cub separately so that the weak one gets additional milk. It was because of the extra care by their mother that all the cubs have survived this long," an official. The naming ceremony of the cubs took place in Sasan.

Ravi Chellam, an expert on big cats, says that a lioness giving birth to five cubs is itself something rare. "The overall survival rate to adulthood is 50%. The survival of five cubs for six months is also good. However, death of some cubs at an early age is required as Gir is overflowing with lions. This is required for healthy conservation," Chellam said.

Deputy conservator of forests, Sandeep Kumar, said that the mother goes to hunt a neelgai or cheetal once in a few days. "These five cubs have still not tried their hand at killing an animal. They are still too young for that," Kumar said.

He further said that the father of the cubs often visits the family once in a couple of days. He stays away most of the time as the Laxmi is trying to keep the father away. She is yet to encounter any nomadic lion as the forest department is also keeping close watch on the movement of the lioness. Kumar said that the three male cubs - Shardul, Yuvraj and Vanraj - tend to be more adventurous than Heer and Mallika, the female cubs. The three male cubs even try to chase small animals that happen to pass by, said Kumar.

Laxmi breaks lion taboo to save cub

On Wednesday, Laxmi again displayed her overprotective instincts when she swam across a rivulet to save Shardul, Yuvraj and Vanraj. Deputy conservator of forests, Sandeep Kumar, said on Wednesday that Laxmi, along with her five cubs, was talking a stroll when Shardul, Yuvraj and Vanraj walked over the causeway and crossed the rivulet. Unaware of this, Laxmi kept on moving. She soon realized that the three cubs were missing. She immediately gave a call and got the response from the other side of the rivulet. Without thinking for a second, the lioness jumped into the rivulet and walked through neckdeep water. She then took the three cubs and crossed the rivulet using the causeway. The other two cubs, Heer and Mallika, watched their mother swim to rescue their brothers.

H S Singh, a lion expert, says that usually lions avoid water. "They jump or swim only in rare circumstances when it is a question of survival," he said.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lioness killing case: Two arrested

26-11-2013
Lioness killing case: Two arrested
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Lioness-killing-case-Two-arrested/articleshow/26382622.cms

 The forest department of Gir (East) division of Junagadh Wildlife Circle have arrested two farmers in connection with the death of eight-year-old lioness's killing case.

The lioness was found dead in mysterious circumstances in a 35-ft-deep well in Fifad village of Savarkundla in Amreli district on November 22. The accused who were arrested are Mukesh Kachadiya and Bhimji Vaghela.

"The 50 bigha agricultural land was owned by one Ganesh Rangani, who now lives in Surat.Mukesh and Bhimji were cultivating the land and they laid the trap (fanslo) to trap animals like blue bulls and wild boars to save their crops from destruction. However, the lioness got trapped into the wire laid down around the farm and died. Later, both the accused dumped the lioness into the well to destroy the evidence and to show that it was an accidental death,'' a forest official said.

"From very beginning we were sure that it was not an accidental death. The accused tried to destroy the evidence and show it as an accident. However, they forgot to remove the edible oil tin from lioness's neck that led to suspicion that it was not an accident. Moreover, there was no chance of lioness falling into the well accidentally as the wall around the well is very high,'' the forest official said.

"We will produce both the accused before the local court seeking remand for further investigation. We suspect that there would be more persons involved in it. The lioness's weight would be around 150kg and two persons can't dump heavy animal into the well and we suspect that it is likely that they may have taken help of other persons as well. The investigation will unravel all such aspects,'' an investigation officer said.

This is the third such incident in last two months where lions were killed by farmers in Saurashtrato save their crops from blue bulls and wild boars.

Lioness found dead in suspicious circumstances near Gir forest

27-11-2013
Lioness found dead in suspicious circumstances near Gir forest
Business Standard
http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/lioness-found-dead-in-suspicious-circumstances-near-gir-forest-113112201201_1.html

The body of a six-year-old lioness was found in a well in Fifat village of Savarkundla taluka of the district near the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, with forest department officials suspecting foul play in the death.

"The body of a lioness was found in the well of a farm at Fifat village. Injury marks were found on her body after it was inspected," state forest department officials said.

"It was revealed that the animal's neck was caught in a trap laid by the farm owner to stop wild animals from entering his field," officials said.

"The body was later dragged to the well and thrown inside it to make it look like an accidental death due to drowning," officials said.

The forest department has registered a case and started probing the issue, they said.

Gujarat to question MP's claims on prey base

21-11-2013
Gujarat to question MP's claims on prey base
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-21/ahmedabad/44325820_1_prey-base-curative-petition-kuno-sanctuary

 The Gujarat government plans to file a curative petition seeking another look at the Supreme Court order of Tuesday which rejected the state government's review petition against the April 15 apex court order allowing the translocation of some of Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh.

The basis of Gujarat government's curative petition is likely to be its argument that theMadhya Pradesh forest department's data claiming that the prey base in Kuno-Palpur was growing was not reliable. The Gujarat forest department wants to pose a question before MP officials that if the prey base in Kuno-Palpur had increased manyfold, why was the population of predators not increasing?

Sources in the forest department said on Wednesday that the signed order of the Supreme Court's Tuesday verdict had not been received, either by the advocate or the department officials. After it gets a signed order, the department will send it for the opinion of a senior advocate. The opinion of a senior advocate is mandatory before filing of a curative petition.

"Since the department has to depend on the same arguments as it had put forward in the previous petitions, the curative petition would like to catch the MP government on its own turf - its claim that prey base in Kuno-Palpur was growing. During the hearing in the apex court, the Madhya Pradesh government had claimed that the prey base in Kuno-Palpur was more than that of Gir protected sanctuary. The April 15 Judgment has noted that prey base, including feral cattle, has increased from 63.97 animals per sq km in 2006 to 85.91 in 2011," he said. This was an increase of about 23 animals per sq km.

Gujarat officials say that the MP forest department has claimed that the population excluding feral cattle has increased from 17.5 animals per sq km in 2004 to around 70 animals in 2013. Officials said that the department will raise a question that if the prey base was increasing, why was there no permanent population of leopards and tigers in the Kuno Sanctuary? Kuno was earlier known for tiger and leopards.

The officials further said that the behaviour of lion pride would be given importance in the curative petition. The officials said that the department will also reply on the recent report of two members of the Supreme Court-appointed committee set up to monitor translocation. Citing this report, the department will again emphasize on Kuno's gun culture and drive home the point that lions are not safe in Kuno Palpur.

Apart from arguing about the new translocation guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gujarat government will also reply on the Wildlife Protection Act. The government intends to put forward a technical argument that the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act-1972 had been violated.

The act says that no translocation process can be started without the permission of the chief wildlife warden of the state where the animal belongs. The permission has to be sought even if one animal has to be shifted for research. The Gujarat government alleges that no such permission was sought and yet the Madhya Pradesh government had started investing in Kuno-Palpur.

Gujarat forest officials said that they will also quote from the study, 'Genetic variation in Asiatic lions and Indian tigers' jointly prepared by the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad; Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata; and Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad.

The Gujarat forest department also plans to rely on the report of a management guru from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, over the translocation of lions to Kuno Palpur. The state forests department has asked the management guru to study the planned dispersal of lions in Kuno Palpur and the impact of a possible outbreak of disease in the Saurashtra region.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Plastic invades lion’s abode

26-11-2013
Plastic invades lion's abode
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Plastic-invades-lions-abode/articleshow/26388094.cms

 Lakhs of visitors to the annual Lili Parikrama of Mount Girnar have gone back leaving the Girnar wildlife sanctuary, the abode of Asiatic lion, littered with plastic waste.

The 36-km long parikrama witnessed over eight lakh people in five days to Mount Girnar that is part of the sanctuary.

The forest department is now faced with the uphill task of cleaning up the plastic waste in the sanctuary with the help of volunteers who include a large number of school students.

"We have started a cleaning drive from Sunday. We had distributed pamphlets to generate awareness among visitors on the impact of plastics on environment and had also placed dust bins at regular intervals for people to throw waste into," said P T Kaneriya, range forest officer (north range) at the sanctuary.

"We have already collected 10 tonnes of plastic from containers that had been placed en route but we expect to collect over 35 tonnes over the next few days that is lying scattered," said a forest official.

The plastic waste includes water pouches, wafer packets, water bottles and carry bags.

Officials are concerned over the impact of plastic waste on wildlife. Apart from the sanctuary housing Asiatic lion, concern is also being aired about animals like sambar and chinkara that might consume this plastic which may lead to their 'slow death'.

Officials said that the plastic waste collected after the parikrama last year was around 25 tonnes and has almost doubled this year.

Times View

Around the world, tourists are banned from carrying any form of plastic into places that are environmentally fragile or of historical value. As the last home of the Asiatic lion, Gir forest deserves to be treated with care. This unique ecosystem can't be allowed to suffocate on plastic. Pilgrims may get upset if a ban on plastic is imposed, but it is a small price to pay compared to the devastation plastic causes in this pristine jungle. The forest department should make alternate arrangements for the pilgrims.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Starring soul of Gir

24-11-2013
Starring soul of Gir
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/starring-soul-of-gir/articleshow/26280633.cms

In the common imagery evoked by Gir — which is reiterated by the publicity blitzkrieg of the state tourism department —Asiatic lions hold the pride of place. However, the land is much more than the home of the animal kingdom's revered royalty; it is the site where life forms thrive in a unique symbiotic relationship. In Gir, humans do not have dominion over animals, people are a part of the system.

That is the central theme of celebrated Gujarati author Dhruv Bhatt's book " Akoopar" released in 2010. The book chronicles the journey of an unnamed hero to Gir in search of the 'Earth' element for a series of paintings; and his encounters with local residents, their belief systems and, of course, lions. At the beginning of the book, the hero is unsure why he has come to Gir for the project. But by the end, the visit becomes a life-changing experience for him.

The genesis

Aditi Desai, the director of the critically acclaimed play on Kasturba, has adapted this tale for stage. It debuted on Saturday. Desai said that she came across the book during a vaachikam (reading) session at Sahitya Parishad and it was an instantaneous decision to tell the tale on stage.

"It was not easy to depict the forest of Gir, nes of the Maldharis, and wildlife," said Desai. "The book encompasses a large geographical and chronological canvas. We thus roped in Dhruvbhai for the tough task of creating a script and decided on 16 key plot points to include in the play." Desai was keen to ensure that no integral elements were missed. "Much effort went into props, some of which we procured from neses where we lived as a team during research," she said.

Man v/s Wild

All involved with the play were impressed the most by the ethos of compassion in Gir that has been highlighted by the book. "During our visits to Gir, we met a number of Maldharis who had lost their cows to lions or leopards but none had hatred for the animals," said Desai. "What makes Gir unique is its value system that sees the forest as a living being and an all-nourishing entity." Local people believe that lions don't attack humans wantonly. Even in the book, there are instances of characters saying that lions have become used to humans and we won't be harmed if we know our boundaries and respect them. "Perhaps that is the reason why lions have thrived in Gir for centuries," said Desai.

The book as well as the play also mention the maxim 'wherever there is a lion, there is Gir.' As debate simmers about the relocation of lions to Madhya Pradesh, the play throws light on what lions mean to Maldharis. The book recounts the story of a railway station manager from south India who, after a stay at Kaasiya Nes station, constructed a concrete water tank for leopards and other animals right outside the station.

Brave women of Gir

While the book and the play offer the hero's perspective, Bhatt's work pays tribute to the local culture which holds that men and woman are equal. The play has a number of strong woman characters including Sansai, who in a way epitomizes the soul of Gir, and Aai Maa who depicts local tales through her own paintings and artwork. It is their care and canny sensitivity to conservation that makes Gir a winning ecosystem.

"We used the clothes worn by Ahir and Charan women for the play and have also tried to imbibe the local dialect," said Desai. "We were surprised to know that a number of people were eager to take their kids to the play just to show them a glimpse of what Gir is all about. Kudos to the author for telling the tales so authentically. When we went there with the names of characters, we learnt that they were real people - be it the brave Dhanu or compassionate Mustufa."

Message of conservation

Desai said that the producers wanted to create awareness about conservation though the play and would also hold an exhibition of paintings and photographs on Gir outside the play venue.

Marriage of hills!

In a colourful tale, Aai Maa tells the hero about Rava Aata - the forefather of one of the central characters, Sansai - who despite being blind goes to Junagadh from his nes in Gir after getting to know about the plans of the viceroy to hunt lions. Worried about the survival of the few remaining lions, Rava Aata puts forth strong arguments and tells the viceroy that he would not only kill lions but also Gir along with them. When the viceroy heeds the pleas, the more than happy diwan of the state asks Rava Aata to name anything he wants. Rava Aata asks him to do kanyadaan of a hill in the forest to his 'son,' another hill, so that he can invite all his relatives to the wedding and experience the joy as he never married. The play features the scene of thiswedding of Ghantla and Ghantli hills, in the form of bells.

Meaning of "Akoopar"

Bhatt mentions in his book that "Akoopar" was the name of a tortoise, the oldest living being mentioned in Van Parva's story of king Indradhyumna in Mahabharat. The tortoise helps the king by providing testimony of his good deeds to the gods due to which he secures his place in the heaven. In the story's context, the writer takes the motif of a tortoise as one of the mythical beings which along with Shesh Naag, the Great Celestial Serpent, holds the earth on its back. The story has a connection with the tale of Rava Aata who goes to the durbar of Junagadh nawab and convinces the viceroy to abandon his plans to hunt lions in Gir.

Gir lions translocation: Experts' report draws flak

24-11-2013
Gir lions translocation: Experts' report draws flak
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Gir-lions-translocation-Experts-report-draws-flak/articleshow/26280691.cms

Even as the Gujarat government prepares to file a curative petition against the shifting of some lion prides from Gir toKuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, observations made in the 50-page report submitted by two members of the expert committee set up to oversee the translocation, has come in for criticism. The two members, Ravi Chellam and YV Jhala, were asked to draw up an action plan for the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lions in Kuno sanctuary.

In their 50-page report, Chellam and Jhala had made claims about the prey base in Kuno which they felt was enough to sustain a population of Asiatic lions. This is the main reason for criticism of their report. Some members of the 12-member committee set up by the Supreme Court to oversee the translocation of lions went so far as to say that Chellam and Jhala had 'exceeded their brief' in making suggestions not based on facts.

Some other experts said that the two had even directed Madhya Pradesh to submit a report on its preparedness. "If the two were to decide and issue directions, what was the point of having a 12-member committee?" said one expert.

The expert further said that the number of lions which could be supported by the prey base at Kuno was to be decided by the committee after deliberation and study. But the prey base on which Chellam and Jhala's report has relied to decide the number of lions to be shifted to Kuno was doubted even by the Supreme Court in its first verdict allowing the translocation of the Asiatic lions.

"Paragraph 24 of the April 15, 2012 judgment says: 'Shyam Divan referred to the note dated July 8, 2012, submitted by Ravi Chellam and contended that no reliable information was furnished to support the view regarding the adequacy of prey base at Kuno,' " the expert said quoting from the apex court order. Yet the same prey base has been taken as the base for determining the number of lions to be relocated.

Sources close to the development claimed that citations from various studies given in Chellam andJhala's report are old, dating as far back as to 1986 and 1993. Yet these studies have been used to argue that Kuno can support 28 to 45 lions. Besides, the area shown on paper is 345 sq km but figure 1 on page 2 of the report shows 1,280 sq km area, said officials in the Gujarat government.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Translocate 6 lions every 4 yrs into Madhya Pradesh: Experts

21-11-2013
Translocate 6 lions every 4 yrs into Madhya Pradesh: Experts
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Translocate-6-lions-every-4-yrs-into-Madhya-Pradesh-Experts/articleshow/26139352.cms

If lions are not sent from Gir every four years to Kuno Palpur (Madhya Pradesh), the chance of their extinction in Kuno Palpur is 30% after a hundred years.

If lions are not sent from Gir every four years to Kuno Palpur (Madhya Pradesh), the chance of their extinction in Kuno Palpur is 30% after a hundred years. This is among the extinction scenarios relating to the Madhya Pradesh site - proposed to be Gir lions' new abode - discussed in a report by two lion experts, Ravi Chellam and Y V Jhala.

The two stated that the possibility of lions' extinction in Kuno Palpur would be almost negligible if 12 lions were introduced initially and six lions were supplemented every four years for 16 years. They said that to take the possibility of extinction to zero, the forest department would have to enhance the carrying capacity of the park.

The experts said that the current carrying capacity of 45 lions has to be increased to a minimum of 75-80 lions over 20-25 years. The report suggested an initial population of 12 translocated individuals - including five to seven breeding females and two to three breeding males. The report recommends that at least six new lions - including two males and four females - be translocated every four years.

The report directs the Madhya Pradesh Government to submit a report to the lion reintroduction expert committee within 30 days explaining its preparedness in relation to each point raised in the action plan.

The report concludes by saying: "Carnivore reintroduction is an appropriate conservation strategy to restore the integrity of ecosystems. It is a rapidly growing science which, if carried out accurately, has the potential to be a valuable component of the conservationist's tool kit. However, many pitfalls exist that can result in a total or partial failure of the reintroduction program and can potentially waste valuable and limited resources."

Translocate 6 lions every 4 yrs into Madhya Pradesh: Experts

21-11-2013
Translocate 6 lions every 4 yrs into Madhya Pradesh: Experts
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Translocate-6-lions-every-4-yrs-into-Madhya-Pradesh-Experts/articleshow/26139352.cms

If lions are not sent from Gir every four years to Kuno Palpur (Madhya Pradesh), the chance of their extinction in Kuno Palpur is 30% after a hundred years.

If lions are not sent from Gir every four years to Kuno Palpur (Madhya Pradesh), the chance of their extinction in Kuno Palpur is 30% after a hundred years. This is among the extinction scenarios relating to the Madhya Pradesh site - proposed to be Gir lions' new abode - discussed in a report by two lion experts, Ravi Chellam and Y V Jhala.

The two stated that the possibility of lions' extinction in Kuno Palpur would be almost negligible if 12 lions were introduced initially and six lions were supplemented every four years for 16 years. They said that to take the possibility of extinction to zero, the forest department would have to enhance the carrying capacity of the park.

The experts said that the current carrying capacity of 45 lions has to be increased to a minimum of 75-80 lions over 20-25 years. The report suggested an initial population of 12 translocated individuals - including five to seven breeding females and two to three breeding males. The report recommends that at least six new lions - including two males and four females - be translocated every four years.

The report directs the Madhya Pradesh Government to submit a report to the lion reintroduction expert committee within 30 days explaining its preparedness in relation to each point raised in the action plan.

The report concludes by saying: "Carnivore reintroduction is an appropriate conservation strategy to restore the integrity of ecosystems. It is a rapidly growing science which, if carried out accurately, has the potential to be a valuable component of the conservationist's tool kit. However, many pitfalls exist that can result in a total or partial failure of the reintroduction program and can potentially waste valuable and limited resources."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Supreme Court dismisses review plea on shifting of Gir lions

20-11-2013
Supreme Court dismisses review plea on shifting of Gir lions
DND
http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-supreme-court-dismisses-review-plea-on-shifting-of-gir-lions-1922001

Curative petition is now the only legal resort left with the state govt to try and retain its pride of Asiatic Lions.

While the chief minister may be roaring loud across election rallies in Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court, however, turned his government's roar, seeking a review of its April order on translocation of Asiatic Lions, into a whimper recently. It dismissed the state government's plea to re-evaluate the apex court's April order to shift the big cats from Gir to MP's Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary. Undoubtedly, the court's decision dealt yet another blow to Gujarat's hopes of not having to part with its pride.

The SC had in April dismissed Gujarat government's petition opposing translocation of lions. It had noted that the species was under threat of extinction and needed a second home. The court had given six months time for the translocation. However, the government had filed a review petition in the Court, which too has now been dismissed. "The review petition was rejected by the Supreme Court in the first week of November. The Bench did not find merit in the petition and rejected it," said a senior official.

HK Dash, additional chief secretary of forest & environment department, confirmed that the review petition has been disposed of by the Supreme Court, but said that they haven't received the detailed order.

Asked about the future strategy of the government as far as the case is concerned, Dash said, "The state government will take the required action after holding consultations with experts in the field."

Officials said that the state government still has the option to file a curative petition before the Supreme Court as a last legal resort to avoid parting with the big cat.

According to officials, there are around 400 Asiatic lions in the Gir sanctuary currently.

The search for a second home for Asiatic lions was started in the early 1990s over concerns of losing the entire lion population to an epidemic or a natural calamity. The Wildlife Institute of India had carried out a survey in 1993-94 and zeroed in on Palpur Kuno for translocating some of the lions. Even as MP readied the sanctuary, Gujarat was reluctant in sharing the lions, as a result of which, the dispute landed in court. In court, Gujarat government had opposed shifting of lions to MP, saying they would not be safe there as the central state had failed to conserve its own tiger population in the Panna reserve forest. It had also contended that it had sufficient infrastructure and will to conserve the lion population and it was not advisable to translocate them. However, the government seems to have been left with limited choice after the twin setbacks in apex court.

After the Guj govt lost the battle in the SC in April, its manner of handling the issue had drawn criticism from various quarters. Many wildlife experts had opined that Gujarat's pitch in Apex court had shifted from scientific arguments to emotional ones, particularly by equating the Asiatic Lions with Gujarati Pride.

Four arrested for illegal stay and entry in Gir

19-11-2013
Four arrested for illegal stay and entry in Gir
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-19/ahmedabad/44241690_1_illegal-entry-forest-department-gir-wildlife-sanctuary

Increasing tourist pressure on Gir Wildlife Sanctuary has also led to increase in the incidents of illegal entry and stay within the protected area. On Monday, the forest department arrested four tourists, including two women, from Amreli. They had had not only entered the sanctuary illegally, but also stayed at Suvardi Nes.

According to a forest official, this is not the first incident of this type. Ever since the tourist inflow increased from Diwali on November 3, there has been nine incidents of illegal entry into the sanctuary. The forest department has caught these tourists and has also collected a fine of Rs 74,000 from them.

Deputy conservator of forests, Gir west, Kasuladev Ramesh, said, "On Monday, the department arrested four persons, including two women, who spent night in the protected area. These four, who were in a car registered in Amreli, were identified as Nikunj Jikani and Nainaben Jikani, residents of Bagasara, Gopal Pipaliya and Sheetal Pipaliya, residents of Jamkandorna. They were arrested and produced in the court."

He said in the past eight cases of illegal entry, offenders have been arrested and a fine of Rs 74,000 has been collected from them. "During the festive season, seeing the inflow of tourists, the department increased patrolling and erected watch towers on sanctuary borders to prevent illegal entries. We also kept a vigil on guesthouses and farmhouses, which have earlier been involved in such activities," the deputy conservator of forests added.

Officials also said that when a tourist failed to get a permit, he/she was approached by many local residents, who were either guides or forest staffers. "Aware of the location of lions, these staffers or locals took the tourists on a night safari. In majority of instances, this was outside the sanctuary, while in areas in Talala and Sasan, it was inside the sanctuary. With just limited issuing of permits by the department, there was utter chaos and people had to stand in line from midnight," the officials added.

Similarly, on Dhari-Tulshiyam Road, which connects Diu, about 80,000 permits for four-wheelers were issued by the department. This was an indication of the increased pressure on the sanctuary during the festive season, an official said.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Devotees litter parts of Gir forest; admin to launch clean up

17-11-2013
Devotees litter parts of Gir forest; admin to launch clean up
Business Standard
http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/devotees-litter-parts-of-gir-forest-admin-to-launch-clean-up-113111700456_1.html

The Department of Forest and Junagadh Municipal Corporation will jointly begin a clean up drive to remove garbage from parts of Gir sanctuary, dumped there by devotees while on pilgrimage to Mount Girnar.

"Around 7.73 lakh devotees from various parts of the country participated in the four-day 'Lili Parikrama' which concluded at Mount Girnar today. However, in the process, devotees left behind liquor pouches, gutkha packets, water bottles and other debris," said Aradhna Sahu, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Junagadh Range).

As part of the drive, which is expected to kick off in next two days, a huge quantity of plastic (estimated about 200 tonne) will be removed from the 36-km route of the 'Parikrama', which passed through the sanctuary that houses Asiatic lions, she told PTI.

The officer said the number of devotees who participated in the 'parikrama' increased this year.

"This year, we installed dustbins enroute the parikrama and appealed to people to not litter the ground. Police department even distributed bags to devotees for storing garbage so as to maintain cleanliness of the sanctuary route," Sahu added.

She cited previous instances wherein plastic bags were found in the stomach of several herbivores like Chital, Sambhar and Nilgai which died in the forest. "They are main prey base for big cats," she added.

"Plastic waste when consumed by herbivores clogs their intestine which results in their death. Lions usually don't eat plastic but the fear of them consuming it while feasting on the prey, is always there," Sahu said.

Junagadh Municipal Commissioner Vipra Bal is monitoring the clean up operation in the area for which 50 scavengers, 15 containers, tractors, dumper and other machinery is being deployed.

Children from neighbouring schools are also participating in the drive.

"We will assist in the clean-up drive to ensure that plastic lying strewn is removed from the Sanctuary route in Gir," said BJP MLA Mahendra Mashru.

Protecting Gir's lions: Kuno's gun culture worries experts

18-11-2013
Protecting Gir's lions: Kuno's gun culture worries experts
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Protecting-Girs-lions-Kunos-gun-culture-worries-experts/articleshow/25958831.cms

The report says that 40% of the revenue generated from the lion reintroduction project should percolate to local marginalized communities if anti-social activities are to be reduced and gun culture restricted.

Two lion experts, Ravi Chellamand YV Jhala, have expressed concern in their report over the gun culture, anti-social activities and poaching that is rampant around Kuno wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh where some of the Gir lions are to be shifted.

The report, 'Action plan for the reintroduction of the Asiatic lion in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary Madhya Pradesh,' recommends that the gun culture in the region needs to be dealt with appropriately without disturbing local socio-economic customs.

"A large majority of the people in the area own weapons, mostly licensed guns," says paragraph 19 of the report. It states that people from lower economic strata depend on livelihoods based on forest products. These people have to be provided with alternative livelihood options.

The report says that 40% of the revenue generated from the lion reintroduction project should percolate to local marginalized communities if anti-social activities are to be reduced and gun culture restricted. "This will substantially prevent them from joining in anti-social activities. Deliberations should be made to dissuade the local gangs of dacoits and poachers and rehabilitate them in the mainstream of society," the report suggests.

The report raises concerns over poaching incidents.

Experts said that Kuno has people who, on an average, eat meat once a week or once a month. A large number of residents eat meat daily, the report says. People in the area own guns, bows and arrows and catapults. "If the natural prey base [for the lions] is to be enhanced, poaching activities will have to be controlled," states the report.

It further says that a proper rehabilitation plan for awarding market-based compensation against the death of livestock and destruction of crop have to be designed.

Chellam and Jhala have said that there are chances of people getting severely injured or killed during the initial years of reintroduction of the lion as the local community in Kuno does not have any memorable experience of living with either lions or tigers.

"Gir lions attack and maul humans in accidental interfaces. An ex gratia compensation scheme has to be introduced and revised regularly so as to circumvent hostility among local communities," the report says. It goes on to suggest that victims of a lion attack or their kin have to be provided employment with the forest department.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kuno lion translocation report mum on conservation

15-11-2013
Kuno lion translocation report mum on conservation
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Kuno-lion-translocation-report-mum-on-conservation/articleshow/25783839.cms

 Gujarat is being forced to share its pride - the Gir lions- with Madhya Pradesh just so that the neighbouring state becomes a more attractive tourist destination, and not to protect this species from extinction. This is how experts are reading the latest 50-page report by two wildlife experts who have been asked to draw up a protocol for the translocation. The report focuses on benefits from tourism and conservation of other flora and fauna in the region.

The Supreme Court had approved the translocation to Kuno Palpur sanctuary to preserve the lions. The first line of its April 15, 2012 order states: "We have been called upon to decide the necessity of a second home for Asiatic Lion, an endangered species, for its long term survival and to protect the species from extinction..."

Page three and four of 'Action Plan for the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lions in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh', prepared by two lion experts Y V Jhala and Ravi Chellam, lists six aims for translocation. But conservation is missing.

In fact, it gives 'developing capacities of local communities to coexist with wild animals' as one of the aims, implicitly admitting that villagers there aren't used to large carnivores next door. TOI had reported earlier that the villages around Kuno Palpur have some of highest guns per capita in the country.

Chellam told TOI, "This is a draft report. We are open to suggestions. The report was prepared under tremendous pressure and certain points may have been missed."

An expert, who is part of the 12-member committee appointed by the SC for translocation said, "The committee should have listed conservation as the main and long-term aim, instead of talking of tourism and benefits to local people."

He further pointed out that the report talks of 3,330 sq km area as a landscape for the lions, but the current area at Kuno Palpur is just around 345 sq km. No one has a clue where the additional 2,980 sq km will come from.

AIMS OF LION TRANSLOCATION IN KUNO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
--Provide adequate security to local flora and fauna --Better protection of the habitat within Kuno sanctuary. This will enable conservation of other endangered species --Build capacity of MP forest department in habitat and prey management --Generate benefits for local people through development of wildlife tourism and ancillary activities --Develop capacities of local communities to coexist with wild animals

Kuno lion translocation report mum on conservation

15-11-2013
Kuno lion translocation report mum on conservation
The Economics Times
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/flora-fauna/kuno-lion-translocation-report-mum-on-conservation/articleshow/25783839.cms

 Gujarat is being forced to share its pride - the Gir lions - with Madhya Pradesh just so that the neighbouring state becomes a more attractive tourist destination, and not to protect this species from extinction. This is how experts are reading the latest 50-page report by two wildlife experts who have been asked to draw up a protocol for the translocation. The report focuses on benefits from tourism and conservation of other flora and fauna in the region.

The Supreme Court had approved the translocation to Kuno Palpur sanctuary to preserve the lions. The first line of its April 15, 2012 order states: "We have been called upon to decide the necessity of a second home for Asiatic Lion, an endangered species, for its long term survival and to protect the species from extinction..."

Page three and four of 'Action Plan for the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lions in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh', prepared by two lion experts Y V Jhala and Ravi Chellam, lists six aims for translocation. But conservation is missing.

In fact, it gives 'developing capacities of local communities to coexist with wild animals' as one of the aims, implicitly admitting that villagers there aren't used to large carnivores next door. TOI had reported earlier that the villages around Kuno Palpur have some of highest guns per capita in the country.

Chellam told TOI, "This is a draft report. We are open to suggestions. The report was prepared under tremendous pressure and certain points may have been missed."

An expert, who is part of the 12-member committee appointed by the SC for translocation said, "The committee should have listed conservation as the main and long-term aim, instead of talking of tourism and benefits to local people."

He further pointed out that the report talks of 3,330 sq km area as a landscape for the lions, but the current area at Kuno Palpur is just around 345 sq km. No one has a clue where the additional 2,980 sq km will come from.

AIMS OF LION TRANSLOCATION IN KUNO WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
--Provide adequate security to local flora and fauna --Better protection of the habitat within Kuno sanctuary. This will enable conservation of other endangered species --Build capacity of MP forest department in habitat and prey management --Generate benefits for local people through development of wildlife tourism and ancillary activities --Develop capacities of local communities to coexist with wild animals


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lili Parikrama begins in Girnar

13-10-2013
Lili Parikrama begins in Girnar
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Lili-Parikrama-begins-in-Girnar/articleshow/25666350.cms

All roads lead to Mount Girnar in Junagadh as annual Lili Parikrama begins at the stroke of midnight on Wednesday. Around 8 lakh devotees are expected to participate in Girnar'sgreen pradakshina or circumambulation.

Much before the 36km parikrama begins in the presence of sadhus, early birds have already thronged to Girnar and more than 50,000 people have already completed the Parikrama. According to the Hindu calendar, the parikrama starts from 11th day of Kartik month to the 15th day every year. Forest department, district administration and police have made elaborate arrangements for the annual event.

"Since the route falls under Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary that is the habitat of Asiatic lion, we have formed various teams that will move on tractors to locate lions on the parikrama route so that they cannot hurt any human. On Monday night, a group of nine lions were spotted near Bordevi. We have also put up dustbins at regular intervals and are appealing to devotees not to litter the place," a senior forest official said.

Special water supply points have been set up on the parikrama route to meet the drinking water requirement of the devotees. At least 30 'anakshetras' (free food zones) have been set up by voluntary organizations. The route begins from Girnar Taleti. The participants will walk throughJinabava Madhi, Sarkadiya, Malvela and Bordevi before returning to the starting point on the fifth day.

Sources said lots of people begin the parikrama early to take advantage of Girnar's beautiful environment.

"We wanted to go around lush green Mount Girnar and wanted to avoid public rush. So, we started early around Girnar. It is a beautiful experience to be here in this season,'' Harshad Trivedi from Ahmedabad said.

As the route passes through the forest, it is an adventurous trip for the youngsters. After the rainfall, the ponds and rivers are brimming with water adding to the scenic beauty of the forest and the hill. More youngsters are expected to participate in the parikrama this year.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gujarat Confidential

11-11-2013
Gujarat Confidential
The Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gujarat-confidential/1193424/

No illegal entry

Amid a mad rush to grab a look at the lions at Sasan Gir during the festival season, several tourists, who tried to break the law, were caught by forest officials and fined. Forest rangers caught 10 men entering the Gir forest area without permission in two incidents and imposed a fine of Rs 22,000 on them. "There is a heavy rush of tourists at Sasan Gir. Those who do not get permission, tend to enter the sanctuary area by any means. We have formed special teams of forest guards to check such activities," said a top forest officer.

Special preference

The Ahmedabad Municipal School Board chose to be very selective while celebrating Diwali with its students. The senior-most officials of the Board were seen at the special celebrations organised at the recently opened English medium municipal school, the Ahmedabad Public School (APS) in Shahpur. However, they seemed to run out of time to visit the other municipal schools. Sweets and crackers were distributed among more than 150 students of this school, followed by a parents' meet. By evening, the news of this activity reached the media houses through a press note. The Board seemed to grab this opportunity to not only share the festivities with the children and their parents, but also to publicise AMC's first English-medium public school.

Caught unawares

A technical snag caught Chief Minister Narendra Modi unawares, as the video conference went live without his or even his technical team's knowledge. As hundreds of party workers eagerly waited for Modi to appear on the two giant screens in front of them on Sunday, they were amused to see Modi's face flash on the screen and the CM ask his technical men, "Main dikh raha hoon bahar...ye chalu hai?. (Can they see me out there...is it on)." One of the technical person's voice was also heard saying, "Only you can see, not them (workers)." This few seconds long minor glitch made Modi visibly upset, who was also heard telling the cameraman to zoom in on his face, "Screen ko aur paas me lao."

Catholic Association opens first old age home in city

Ahmedabad: The Catholic Association of Ahmedabad opened the first home for the aged in the city on Sunday. Jeevan Sandhya, as the house is called, belongs to Errol and Juliet Fern, who now live abroad. John D'Costa, president of the Association, Ahmedabad said, "We had been looking for a place to set up an old age home since last December. The owners didn't want to sell it; they decided to give the house to the Association for this purpose." The building can comfortably house 20 people. "This house is a remembrance of my grandparents. It is my wish to donate the house for this good cause. Our children also wanted this," says Errol Fern, the owner. "We will get its renovation started by January, once we have completed all legalities," said Jude D' Souza, state president of All India Catholic Union. ens

Ad kiosks put up by contractor irk locals

Vadodara: The fight for keeping commercialization out of Vadodara's iconic Kamatibaug garden seems far from over. Although the people of the area are delighted about the step-by-step restoration of the garden, Sunday brought another day of face-off between the residents and those in charge of the garden's renovation.

Even as the local people are trying to stop the garden from being put to any commercial use, the toy train contractor's putting up advertisement kiosks on electricity poles along the railway track, sparked another confrontation.

The Kamatibaug citizen's association has registered its protest with the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and threatened to pull down all advertising kiosks.

On Sunday, the contractor of the new Sayaji Express toy train, Ms Khodal, began to attach outdoor advertising kiosks to the electric poles that stand along the rail track for the toy train. Angry residents, who visit Kamatibaug everyday and have been campaigning for its restoration, got into an altercation with the contractor. When the contractor refused to remove the kiosks, the group registered a formal complaint with the VMC.

However, Municipal Commissioner Manish Bharadwaj is out of town and so the corporation officials refused to make any commitment to the residents in this matter.

Dipak Mehta, who has been spearheading the movement for the garden's restoration, said that putting up advertising kiosks will not only pave way for commercial exploitation of the park, but also mean lack of control on the kind of advertisements coming up in the garden.

"We are extremely angry that the contractor has thought of exploiting the garden for commercial gains. We have been strongly against any sort of commercialization of the garden. Putting up outdoor ad kiosks is just unacceptable," Mehta said, adding: "Since the Municipal Commissioner is out of town, we have already warned the contractor, as well as the VMC, that if the hoardings are not removed by Monday, our group will get together and forcibly take them down."

V R Chikhalia, Director of Parks and Gardens, VMC, said the contractor is going by the norms of the agreement. Chikhalia said, "The clause of putting up ad kiosks is mentioned in the agreement signed with the contractor. However, since the Municipal Commissioner is out of town, we will take a final decision on the matter once he returns on Monday."

Five lions back in Gir forest after medical treatment

10-11-2013
Five lions back in Gir forest after medical treatment
Zee News
http://zeenews.india.com/news/eco-news/five-lions-back-in-gir-forest-after-medical-treatment_889048.html

Five lions, including two cubs, were released back into the wild by forest officials near Kotamba in Amreli district, after treating them for various diseases.

"A group of five lions, including a male lion (9), two females and two cubs, were released in the wild on Thursday after they were treated at Jasadhar medical centre," said Deputy Conservator of Forest, Sasan Gir (West), Anshuman Sharma.

He said the big cats were admitted in the centre in the last week of September after forest officials found them attacking cattle and straying into human habitation.

"This group of lions has been suffering due to pains and injuries caused due to various diseases and attacks. They attacked cattle and caused damage to the fields, triggering panic among people," he told PTI today.

Sharma said forest officials initially thought the adult lions were displaying this kind of peculiar behaviour due to mating season, but it turned out that they were suffering from diseases.

"The forest department had set up a ring cage (used in circus) for catching the big cats near Kotamba village. They were shifted to Jasadhar centre which is fully equipped with all necessary gadgets and instruments required for providing medical treatment to them," the officer said.

He said the lions were shifted to an observation centre at Timbarva before they were finally released in the wild.

Sharma said the foresters use electronic gadgets to monitor movement of big cats in the Asia's only habitat at Sasan and to detect if they are suffering from any disease or injured.

"Lions are territorial animals. They do not allow another group of lions to enter into their territory," said Sharma.

Two leopards found dead in and around the Gir forest area

06-11-2013
Two leopards found dead in and around the Gir forest area
Zee News
http://zeenews.india.com/news/eco-news/two-leopards-found-dead-in-and-around-the-gir-forest-area_888337.html

Two leopards were found dead today in and around the Gir forest and its surrounding areas.

Forest officials said their deaths were "not natural".

A five-year-old leopardess was found dead on the outskirts of Sarasiya village near Dhari town today, officials said, adding that she was injured and died due to injuries.

An inquiry has begun on how the leopardess got injured, they said.

In another incident, one leopard was killed after a fight with a lion in the Dhalkhania range of the Gir forest today, forest officials said.

Fighting between lions and leopards over territory is common and lions end up winning such fights most of the time, since they are stronger animals, they said.

The body of the third leopard which died of natural causes was found yesterday, at Vadli in Tulshishyam range of the Gir forest, officials said, adding that the animal died of old age.

Junagarh zoo to provide two pairs for Lion Safari

04-11-2013
Junagarh zoo to provide two pairs for Lion Safari
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-04/kanpur/43657871_1_lion-safari-fisher-reserve-forest-four-more-lions

The Lion Safari in Etawah will soon get four more lions. The Sakarbaug Zoo of Junagadh in Gujarat has decided to part way with two pairs of Asiatic lion for Samajwadi Party supremo's dream project.

The two pairs would arrive at Lucknow Zoo in next few days. With this, the state capital zoo would house three pairs of Asiatic lions."We have already procured two pairs of Asiatic lions from Hyderabad and Rajkot zoos. While a pair is kept in Lucknow zoo and the other is house in Kanpur zoo.

Soon we will get four more lions from Sakarbaug zoo in Junagadh. These lions will be initially kept at Lucknow Zoo and would be shifted to the breeding centre at the safari by January next year. The work at the Lion Safari is in its final stage of completion," said Lion Safari director, Gurmeet Singh.

Plantation of grass, trees and plants is already complete. "We have planted 'Deenanath', 'Kareel' and 'Khair' grass to develop Lion habitat. Similarly, a good number of saplings of 'neem', 'sheesham', 'chokhar' and 'ardu' have been planted to keep the foliage as realistic as possible to the lion's natural setting," said another senior Forest department official while talking to TOI.

Once the Safari gets developed, the state government would open the place for tourists, he said further. It would be the second-of-its-kind project after Gujarat with world-class facilities for the upkeep of royal beast. Once the facilities are in place, visitors can drive through a thoroughfare, spotting royal animal roaming in the safari.

Meanwhile, the development work at Lion Safari is in full swing these days for Asiatic lions. Some 150.83 hectares in Fisher Reserve Forest area on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari, in 2005.

However, it was shelved by Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after Samajwadi Party returned to power in March 2012. The Union ministry of Environment and Forest approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crore for the Lion Safari project. The government had authorized Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for the construction and execution of the Lion safari.Facilities for visitors: Parking, toilet, ticket counter, children park, interpretation center, bus stay, rest-shed, cafetaria, rain shelter and souvenir centre.

Facts: The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single isolated population in Gujarat State. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small population size.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Junagarh zoo to provide two pairs for Lion Safari

04-11-2013
Junagarh zoo to provide two pairs for Lion Safari
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/Junagarh-zoo-to-provide-two-pairs-for-Lion-Safari/articleshow/25204908.cms

The Lion Safari in Etawah will soon get four more lions. The Sakarbaug Zoo of Junagadh in Gujarat has decided to part way with two pairs of Asiatic lion for Samajwadi Party supremo's dream project.

The two pairs would arrive at Lucknow Zoo in next few days. With this, the state capital zoo would house three pairs of Asiatic lions."We have already procured two pairs of Asiatic lions from Hyderabad and Rajkot zoos. While a pair is kept in Lucknow zoo and the other is house in Kanpur zoo.

Soon we will get four more lions from Sakarbaug zoo in Junagadh. These lions will be initially kept at Lucknow Zoo and would be shifted to the breeding centre at the safari by January next year. The work at the Lion Safari is in its final stage of completion," said Lion Safari director, Gurmeet Singh.

Plantation of grass, trees and plants is already complete. "We have planted 'Deenanath', 'Kareel'and 'Khair' grass to develop Lion habitat. Similarly, a good number of saplings of 'neem', 'sheesham', 'chokhar' and 'ardu' have been planted to keep the foliage as realistic as possible to the lion's natural setting," said another senior Forest department official while talking to TOI.

Once the Safari gets developed, the state government would open the place for tourists, he said further. It would be the second-of-its-kind project after Gujarat with world-class facilities for the upkeep of royal beast. Once the facilities are in place, visitors can drive through a thoroughfare, spotting royal animal roaming in the safari.

Meanwhile, the development work at Lion Safari is in full swing these days for Asiatic lions. Some 150.83 hectares in Fisher Reserve Forest area on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari, in 2005.

However, it was shelved by Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after Samajwadi Party returned to power in March 2012. The Union ministry of Environment and Forest approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crore for the Lion Safari project. The government had authorized Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for the construction and execution of the Lion safari.Facilities for visitors: Parking, toilet, ticket counter, children park, interpretation center, bus stay, rest-shed, cafetaria, rain shelter and souvenir centre.

Facts: The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single isolated population in Gujarat State. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small population size.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Lions kill 4 cattle heads in Jasdan village

02-11-2013
Lions kill 4 cattle heads in Jasdan village
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Lions-kill-4-cattle-heads-in-Jasdan-village/articleshow/25079824.cms

Lions made four cattle heads their prey in Dolatpar village of Jasdan taluka in Rajkot on Thursday. Forest department officials said two lions wandering in villages of Gondal and Kotda-Sangani talukasand have now entered villages of Jasdan taluka.

Range forest officer in Jasdan M C Vaishnav said four cows from the herd of Lakhubhai Bharwad in Dolatpar village were killed by lions. "The lions continue to be around the village. We are tracking the pug marks of lions and are closely monitoring their movements," he added.

Earlier this week, the lions killed cattle in Bildi, Vinjuvadi and Sanala villages of Gondal taluka and Bhadva village in Kotda-Sangani taluka of Rajkot. Bhadva is about 25km away from Rajkot city. Dolatpar village is about 35km from Jasdan and 60km from Rajkot.

Rescue teams from Sasan-Gir have been tracking the lions for their safety. "The situation turns difficult as large number people rush to the spot on hearing about the lions' presence. We have to keep people away from lions as they do not understand the wildcat's behavior and try to go close to them," an official said.

Officials believe that the two male lions may have come from Chandgadh area in Amreli districtwandering in search of new territory.

Sources said over the last two decades lions have dispersed from Gir forest, which was a core area of Asiatic lions. Analysis of direct and indirect evidence like sightings, prey and pugmarks show that the kingdom of lions is spread over 1,050 villages in three districts of Saurashtra region.

"Lions have dispersed from Gir forest to other areas over a period of time in search of new habitat and resources. From 1997, lions began to stray in the eastern revenue areas of Amreli and Bhavnagar districts. At present, lions occupy an area over 16,000 square kilometre in Saurashtra spread over in three districts-Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar," an official said.

Gir lions expand home range, two spotted in Rajkot taluka

02-11-2013
Gir lions expand home range, two spotted in Rajkot taluka
The Indian Express
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gir-lions-expand-home-range-two-spotted-in-rajkot-taluka/1190250/

Buttresting the claim of Gujarat government that lions are expanding their home range, two male lions were reportedly sighted in Jasdan taluka of Rajkot district, around 100 km away from Gir forests in Amreli district on Friday. The two lions raided one Lakhu Bharwad's enclosure of cows in Dolatpara village, some 35 km south of Jasdan and preyed on four cows at around 4 am, Jasdan Range Forest Officer (RFO) Mahendrasinh Vaishnav said. "A farm labourer of the village claimed to have seen the two big cats. Pug marks also suggest that the cats were lions," Vaishnav further said.

Incidentally, the same lions had reportedly been camping in Gondal taluka for the past week. Gondal is also more than 50 km away from Gir forest, the only natural habitat of the endangered Asiatic lions, in Amreli and Junagadh districts.

"They are the same two sub-adult male lions which were reported in the neighbouring Gondal taluka. Our rescue team is following their movement to prevent any untoward incident," Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forest (wildlife division, Sasan Gir), said. He denied media reports that the forest officers were trying to guide the lions back to Gir forest. "This is a natural procedure of lions for establishing their new territories. We shall not trap and bring them to the rescue centre in Sasan. Since Jasdan has some grassland, it is possible the two might stay as prey will be available there," Kumar said.

Besides numerous patches of social forestry, Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary, is also located in Jasdan. The sanctuary is home to blue bulls, Indian gazelle and ungulates which are prey of lions. The sighting of the two lions in Jusdan underpins the claim of officers of the State Forest Department that the big cats are winning their territory back and need not be translocated for better survival of the species.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

IIM-Ahmedabad professor to join Gujarat's battle for lions

30-10-2013
IIM-Ahmedabad professor to join Gujarat's battle for lions
The Economics Times
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/flora-fauna/iim-ahmedabad-professor-to-join-gujarats-battle-for-lions/articleshow/24892062.cms

It will be wildlife experts versus a management guru from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, when it comes to countering the claims of Madhya Pradesh over the translocation of lions to Kuno Palpur. The state forests department has asked the management guru to study the planned dispersal of lions in Kuno Palpur and the impact of a possible outbreak of disease in the Saurashtra region.

Sources said that Ramanathan Subramaniam, a marketing expert who joined the IIM-A in September, has been roped in for the two studies. Subramaniam has earned a PhD in marketing from the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh, and has served in the University of Kansas.

When contacted by email, Subramaniam said that he had been handed over the responsibility for the two studies but declined to part with details.

Sources in the state government said that Subramaniam - who is an analysis and research expert - has been asked to study the projected movements of lions in the Kuno Palpur area in the context of the study done by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). The WII study showed that a lioness whose cubs were small had a smaller range (16.9 km). "But during the next year the range increased almost threefold as her cubs, now over 1.5 years, could move with her," the study said.

The WII study will be imposed on Kuno Palpur and the expert will prepare the possible movement patterns. An official said that one study had revealed that a nomad collared lion had moved 54km in a single day. Such wanderings could lead to dangerous situations if the big cats enter a village on their very first day at their new home. A senior officer said "Villages are situated 2km from the Kuno Palpur sanctuary."

Royal traffic pattern

Ramanathan Subramaniam has been provided with a graphic that maps the movement of lions in and outside the Gir Sanctuary. The movement pattern was prepared based on the spotting of the animals and by their kills. The IIM-A professor has been asked to study the impact of any outbreak of deadly diseases in the sanctuary.

Feeling at home

The big cats in Gir and nearby areas prefer to spend their entire day in moist and shady habitats. This was revealed in the study 'Home range and habitat preference of female lions (Panthera leo persica) in Gir forests, India'. The study stated that overall, lionesses were found to use the Teak-Acacia-Zizyphus-Anogeissus habitat the most and the agricultural areas the least. During night, there were some instances of lions venturing into agricultural fields. The Teak-Acacia-Zizyphus-Anogeissus habitat type comprises over 40% of Gir forest.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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