Saturday, April 22, 2017

Two pregnant lionesses being eased into motherhood by Sakkarbaugh zoo authorities


Two pregnant lionesses being eased into motherhood by Sakkarbaugh zoo authorities


Junagadh (Gujarat), Apr 19 (ANI): 150-year-old Sakkarbaugh Zoo which is close to the Gir National Park is home to 'Radha' and 'Rani', two lionesses who happen to be pregnant is being given special care by the zoo authorities. Director of the Sakkarbaugh Zoo SJ Pandit talked about how these two felines were being eased into motherhood as they had never been out in the wild. To introduce them into the world of motherhood, these two are being kept near a cage of another lioness who is already a mother to her cubs.

Eco-Sensitive Zone reduction of Gir Forest: Gujarat HC issues notice to state govt on PIL challenging proposal


Eco-Sensitive Zone reduction of Gir Forest: Gujarat HC issues notice to state govt on PIL challenging proposal


According to the petition, the state in the new proposal for ESZ has reduced the area from 3,32,881 hectare to 1,14,000 hectare "which is illegal and it is undertaken to favour certain people."


THE GUJARAT High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the state on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the proposal of the government reducing the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of Gir Forest and National Park, and other sanctuaries in the state drastically without any reason.


The petition moved by Biren Padhya, a resident of Ahmedabad, states the proposal of the government is likely to be culminated into a notification and if it happens, there would be irreparable loss to forest and wildlife as new heavy industries, unregulated mining, tourism and other prohibited activities would surface.


According to the petition, the state in the new proposal for ESZ has reduced the area from 3,32,881 hectare to 1,14,000 hectare "which is illegal and it is undertaken to favour certain people." It has cited the Supreme Court order, which directed the authorities that land falling within 10 kms from boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries should be notified as ESZ.






The Gujarat High Court today (Wednesday) ordered a stay on issuance of final notification by the Centre to declare the area around the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary as eco- sensitive zone.

The high court was hearing a PIL challenging the state government's proposal to reduce the area of eco-sensitive zone, in the last abode for Asiatic lions.

The division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and V M Pancholi, while hearing a PIL challenging the state government's decision to reduce the area of eco-sensitive zone in its new proposal sent to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF-CC), ordered stay on issuance of final notification and issued notices to central and state governments returnable on May 3.

Petitioner Biren Pandya in his PIL contended that in its preliminary notification on October 25, 2016, the MoEF-CC had included 3,32,881 hectare area surrounding the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park comprising 291 villages as eco- sensitive zone.

In its new proposal based on which the final notification will be issued on buffer zone around the Asiatic lions sanctuary, the state government has reduced the area to 1,14,000 hectare area consisting of 191 villages, the PIL claimed.

It said that at some areas in the new proposal, the eco-sensitive zone is as low as 500 metres from the boundary of the sanctuary and at no place it goes beyond 4 km, even though the Supreme Court's earlier order had said that 10 km areas around the wildlife sanctuary should be eco-sensitive zone.

The Gujarat government was following the 10-km rules for eco-sensitive zone till date around the sanctuary, it said.

Read Also:
MP govt clueless on deadline to shift Asiatic lions from Gujarat: Minister

"If the said action of the authorities is allowed, then it would be a catastrophic for the last surviving Asiatic lions in the area around the sanctuary," it said.

It said that the reduction of area is violative of the guidelines issued by the MoEF-CC and Supreme Court order.

The purpose of the eco-sensitive zone outside the sanctuary is to act as a buffer zone and some kind of shock absorber for protected areas, it said.

The petition also said that the state government is acting under pressure from "tourism lobby" to reduce the area so as to facilitate activities like Safari Park near Shetrunji river on northern border of the Gir sanctuary.

The reduction also exposes the environmentally delicate areas to mining and construction activities, and polluting industries may also come up near the sanctuary, it said.

"The proposed action on the part of respondent authorities is malafide, unjust, improper, illegal, and contrary to the provisions of law," the petitioner said.

It sought court's direction to MoEF not to issue final notification based on state government's proposal, and issue final notification based on its preliminary notification.

Gir Sanctuary is home to 523 lions as per the latest census, out of which 168 lions live outside the protected area, it said, adding that 310 lions have died in last 5 years, out of which 25 lions died unnaturally.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

‘Smuggling’ Asiatic lion cubs: Cab driver detained by forest officials, later released


'Smuggling' Asiatic lion cubs: Cab driver detained by forest officials, later released

The Indian Express

Afzal Mugal claims he made up the story that he possessed cubs while dropping a tourist from Sasan to Diu airport


Acting on a tip-off, forest officials detained a taxi driver of Prabhas Patan over suspicion of smuggling two Asiatic lion cubs late on Saturday evening. Afzal Mugal was caught near Veraval during a check by the forest officers of Junagadh wildlife circle. After grilling him for long, he was released as the officers failed to get any concrete information about the alleged smuggling.


"There was an input that Mugal had a farmhouse where a lioness had delivered two cubs. The taxi driver had stolen them and was in process of selling the cubs to somebody in Mumbai for Rs 8 lakh. However, the driver claimed that he had 'cooked up' the story while dropping a tourist from Sasan to Diu airport and that he was innocent. After nothing suspicious was found, he was released," said Aniruddh Pratap Singh, chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle. Forest officers said that the input had come from Prime Minister's Office (PMO) via the state government.


"The informer had come to know about the matter while travelling in Mugal's taxi and passed on the message to the PMO," said a forest officer close to the development. The officer added that the informer had visited Sasan twice and went on safaris. However, he had not spotted any lion during the visits. He causally complained about it to the taxi driver while on way to Diu airport for catching a flight back home. It was during this ride that Mugal started boasting about having a farm, lions visiting them etc, said the officer. The CCF of Junagadh further said that no offence was registered against Mugal.


There was an input that driver Afzal Mugal had a farmhouse where a lioness had delivered two cubs.

Pride of Asiatic lions crossing Gujarat highway brings traffic to a halt


Pride of Asiatic lions crossing Gujarat highway brings traffic to a halt

International Business Times             

The lions paused for a while on one side of the highway until the traffic came to a halt to let the lions cross. Poor lighting made it difficult for the traffic on the other side to see the lions.

Traffic on the Pipavav-Rajula highway in Gujarat came to a halt on Saturday evening, April 15, when a pride of lions took a few minutes to cross the highway. While a few motorists watched this rare sight with great awe, a few even filmed the lions crossing the road.

Forest rangers rescue Lion from a village well in Gujarat

The group which comprised a dozen lions and a few cubs remained stuck on one side of the busy highway where the traffic had halted for them. The lions remained stuck there as the traffic on the other side of the divider had not seen them on the poorly lit road.


The lions waited there for a while until the traffic on the other side of the highway came to a halt to let them pass. While one lion led the way to the other side, the others religiously followed him except one which ran back to the spot from where it had come.


While it was a cherished and rare enjoyable moment for the motorists, the issue is of concern.

According to local reports, a forest fire which broke in Junasavar village in Liliya taluka of Amreli in 2016 has forced many lions to shift from one spot to another. While moving from one part of the forest to another, the lions stand a high probability of getting run over, especially if they are alone. 

In 2016, a two-and-a half year-old Asiatic lion was killed after allegedly being run over by an unidentified vehicle near Pipavav port in Amreli district. The vehicle sped away after mowing down the lion.

Reportedly, many lions have moved out into unprotected parts of the Amreli, Bhavnagar, Gir-Somnath, Rajkot and Junagadh districts. A report by International Union of Conservation of Nature has said that the lion population outside the protected area of Gir Sanctuary has increased by around 400% which has made the lions vulnerable to road accidents and even poaching.


Meanwhile a few people took to Twitter to talk about the world famous Gujarat lions.


Some even criticised the fact that lions having to cross a busy highway.

A pride of lions crossing the Pipavav-Rajula highway in GujaratTwitter/Hiren Upadhyay

Forest guard attacked by villager in Dalkhaniya range


Forest guard attacked by villager in Dalkhaniya range



Rajkot: A forest guard posted in Dalkhaniya Range was brutally wounded after being assaulted by a local villager at Shermardi checkpost late on Thursday night.


The victim Bhanu Dagda was on duty at the checkpost when he stopped the villager Kalu Makrani from entering the forest area as the deadline to go inside was nearing completion. However, Makrani, who has a field in the protected area, got enraged and attacked Dagda with some sharp weapon.


"Dagda has received deep cuts on his face and admitted to the Amreli Civil Hospital. A police complaint has also been lodged against Makrani," said AP Singh, chief conservator of forests.


Makrani has also been booked under atrocities act and the investigation has been handed over to the deputy superintendent of police rank officer.


This is the second attack on on-field staff of the forest department staff in the last 45 days. Earlier on March 6, a forest trekker Dharmendra Vala was stabbed to death during an attack on a forest patrol by seven men when he stopped them from watching an illegal lion show on the fringes of Gir forest in Amreli district.

Monday, April 17, 2017

MP gets four lions from Assam


MP gets four lions from Assam



Bhopal: Four lions reached Madhya Pradesh's Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal on Friday from Assam. The four big cats, including two males and two females, were brought to Bhopal by a team of nine officials in a special vehicle from Assam after travelling for nearly 75 hours. The lions were kept in the cages of Van Vihar National Park's wildlife rescue centre.

Dr Atul Gupta , veterinary doctor at the Park, who along with eight other officials had gone to Guwahati , told HT that these tigers were in a zoo there. "There were no proper facilities there for taking care of these lions. They are also suffering from various ailments need medical attention, which we can provide them here. They will be now permanently here", he said

This new addition has brought cheer to officials at Van Vihar National Park, which lost two lions last year. In July last year, India's perhaps oldest lion in captivity-28 year old Ramu-died died in Van Vihar, followed by death of another elderly lion a month later. Van Vihar National Park has now seven lions, with the latest addition.

According to wildlife experts, lions in wild live up to 16 to 18 years as they mostly die in injuries following their territorial fights. But when a lion is put in captivity, they generally live long, over 20 years. One of five big cat species found in India, Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is found in wild in Gujarat only, elsewhere they are in captivity.

MP has been trying to get lions from Gujarat. The much delayed reintroduction of Asiatic Lion to MP's Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary from Gujarat is yet to happen. Even the expert committee on translocation of lions to MP has recommended it as ideally suited for second home for lions, but Gujarat government wants that before the translocation, all the 36 studies, which have mandated under the new translocation guidelines of the IUCN issued in 2013, should be conducted to check whether Kuno was suitable for translocation or not. These studies concern issues like habitat status, prey base, vegetation cover, weather and so on.

As Asiatic lions exist only in Gir sanctuary, experts have often expressed apprehensions that high rate of inbreeding and less genetic diversity could make them susceptible to epidemics and make them extinct. In 1993, WII conducted a study to identify the best area for translocation of lions and they found Kuno-Palpur in Sheopur district, nearly 140 kms from Gwalior, most suitable. In this light, a proposal was mooted to translocate a few of the Gir lions to MP in 2000. Wildlife activist Fayaz Khudsar filed a public interest petition in the apex court in 2006 and sought translocation of Gir lions to MP. In April 2013, the apex court in a judgment directed that the lions be translocated to Kuno-Palpur in MP.



Monday, April 10, 2017

Gir loses 10km of protective ring


Gir loses 10km of protective ring


AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government has finalized the proposal for reducing the size of 'eco-sensitive zones (ESZ)' around protected sanctuaries owing to developmental pressures in the concerned areas. The group of ministers, which met on Tuesday, revised the size of ESZs of almost all important wildlife sanctuaries in the state, including the Nalsarovar wetland (a Ramsar site), Gir-Asiatic Lion sanctuary and the Asiatic Wild Ass Sanctuary which figures in Unesco's tentative list of world natural heritage sites.

The state government has reduced the size of different ESZs from 3 km to 23 km. Initially, the purpose of the zones was to create a kind of 'shock absorber' around protected sanctuaries, mainly to regulate human activity and check uncontrolled development around them. Instead, the government has altered the boundaries of the ESZs thus putting at risk protected wildlife in each sanctuary. Sources said this had been done to benefit some local residents of the affected areas.


Senior officials of the state forest department said that following representation by several elected representatives, including MLAs, the government decided to review the entire proposal and constituted a committee of ministers for the purpose.

The committee's members are forest and environment minister Ganpat Vasava; agriculture minister Chiman Sapariya; animal husbandry minister Babu Bokhiriya; labour and employment minister Dilip Thakore (all cabinet ministers); and minister of state for urban development Shankar Chaudhary.

The officials said that the ministers group, along with MLAs, held a meeting with local leaders (mostly BJP workers) who had made a representation against the proposed ESZ or the ESZ published in the draft notification. Based on their representation, the ministers group immediately ordered reduction in the size of the ESZs. The first meeting of the group of ministers was held in February and its second meeting was held on Tuesday.


Officials said that for Gir sanctuary, the ESZ was reduced by 10 km — from a maximum size of 17.3 km to 7 km. The new proposal for Gir ESZ fixed by the group of ministers is from a minimum of zero to a maximum of seven km.


The officials further said that along the rivers in 
Lion Corridor area, the earlier proposal had ESZ of 500 meters from both the banks of the river, especially Shetrunji. But the group of ministers have decided to have only the riverbed where mining will not be allowed.


In Nalsarovar, the ESZ was reduced from a maximum of 13 km to only 5.6 km. Earlier when the minimum area was 2.35 km from the boundaries, the government had fixed the ESZ in the revised proposal to 1.5 km.


"What is surprising is a sharp decline in the ESZ for 
Velavadar blackbuck sanctuary. The proposed ESZ ranged from one km to 26 km but now is has been reduced to only one km to three km," an official said. "The proposal for Velavadar was to be cleared at the meeting of the ESZ committee of the Union ministry of environment and forest in October 2016 but it was put on hold following a request by the state government."

Sunday, April 02, 2017

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Saturday, April 01, 2017

Lion reserve proposal gathering dust since 2006


Lion reserve proposal gathering dust since 2006


Summary: "If government delays decision, the haphazard development in and around the proposed conservation reserve will destroy the purpose of the entire proposal. The windmill project close to this proposed 'conservation reserve' is a prime example of it," said another forest official. Forest department gave all details about the village-wise, taluka-wise, details of government waste land as well as forest land which fall under the 'conservation reserve' to the concerned government department. The proposed conservation reserve was a link for the lion's corridor from Gir east to Rangala and other parts of Bhavnagar district, where lions have started living permanently. "The plan was to provide safe cover to lions that are moving outside the Gir Sanctuary and maintain a safe corridor for the big cat's movement.


Rajkot: Gujarat's pride, Asiatic lions, seems to have been left to fend for themselves in greater Gir area as the state government is sitting on a crucial proposal to give more protection to the endangered species outside Gir Wildlife Sanctuary since last 11 years.In April 2005, Gujarat government had floated a proposal to declare 30,054 hectare area, which included government waste land, forest land in villages of Palitana, Mahuva, Talaja of Bhavnagar and some parts of Amreli as 'Sir Dharamkumarsinhji Wildlife Sanctuary'. However, in 2006, the proposal was modified and it was decided to declare the area as a 'conservation reserve' instead of sanctuary.The area identified by the government for the 'conservation reserve' was based on its ecological, fauna, floral, gemological nature and zoological significance for the purpose of protection, propagation and developing wildlife and its environment. It was to be the lion's new permanent corridor.In 2010, a total of 10,952 hectare (109 sq km) area in Savarkundla, Palitana, Mahuva and Talaja was marked as 'conservation reserve'. 

Forest department gave all details about the village-wise, taluka-wise, details of government waste land as well as forest land which fall under the 'conservation reserve' to the concerned government department."The plan was to provide safe cover to lions that are moving outside the Gir Sanctuary and maintain a safe corridor for the big cat's movement. The proposed conservation reserve was a link for the lion's corridor from Gir east to Rangala and other parts of Bhavnagar district, where lions have started living permanently. As human-wildlife conflicts are on rise, it is high time that the government takes a decision for long-term conservation of lions," said a senior forest officer.When inquired about the status of lion 'conservation reserve', principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), G K Sinha said that the forest department had sent the proposal to government, where the matter was pending for final approval."If government delays decision, the haphazard development in and around the proposed conservation reserve will destroy the purpose of the entire proposal. 


Monday, March 27, 2017

Peace of the lord be with you and your family.

Dear  friend
Peace of the lord be with you and your family.

It's my pleasure to have contact with you, based on the critical condition I find mine self, though, it's not financial problem, but my health, you might have know that cancer is not what to talk  about at home I am married to Mr. Abaulkarim banneth who worked with Tunisia embassy in Burkina Faso for nine years before he died in the year 2008.We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for five days. Since his death I decided not to remarry because of the attitude of his adopted child that do away with some property as the only son , When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$ 14.2m (fourteen million two hundred thousand dollars) in a bank in Burkina Faso, Presently this money is still in bank. And My Doctors told me that I don't have much time to live because of the cancer problem, Having known my condition I decided to hand over this fund to a responsible person that have fear of God to take care of the less-privileged people with fund , please utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here I want you to take 30  Percent of the total money for your personal use While 70% of the money will go to charity works and helping the orphanage. I don't want my husband's efforts to be used by the Government. I grew up as an Orphan and I don't have anybody as my family member, if so please do not hesitate to indicate your interest to me.

Waiting for your reply soon.

My regards,
Mrs Ida Banneth
written from Hospital

Please reply me on my private email address:

Leopard kills 7-year-old girl in Junagadh village


Leopard kills 7-year-old girl in Junagadh village


RAJKOT: A seven-year-old girl was killed by a leopard in Choki village near Junagadh on Thursday early morning.


According to police, deceased was identified as Sharmila Virsinh Bhuriya, a native of Madhya Pradesh.


Her father Virsinh works as an 
agricultural labourer in a farm owned by Jitendra Patel, a resident of Choki village.


The incident occurred Thursday early morning when Sharmila came out her the hut to attend nature's call. The leopard mauled her from behind. When Virsinh found Sharmila missing he informed the farm owner and they went to search her.


After nearly two hours, Sharmila's body was found from nearby shrubs. Forest department officials rushed to the spot and placed a cages to nab the leopard.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Forest staff, lions face hostilities of people staying near Gir


Forest staff, lions face hostilities of people staying near Gir


Rajkot: Lion tracker Dharmendra Vala, who was allegedly killed early this month in Gir-East division for not allowing illegal lion show, is a glaring example of how the ground staff of forest department are facing hostilities of people living in the fringe areas of the protected Gir forest. Same is the case with the endangered lion which is at the receiving end of local villagers.

According to sources, there are over two dozen instances in the last three years, wherein forest officials have been assaulted or cases have been lodged against them when they went to protect forest and wildlife.

Moreover, the farmers' outfit has openly warned forest officials that they will not be responsible if lions die in their farms after being electrocuted or due to unnatural causes. "They tell us to cordon lions inside the sanctuary. Government has entertained many 'illegitimate' demands from people around Gir. Now, people, who are accused under Indian Forest Act and Wildlife Protection Act, lodge false counter complaints against forest staff," an officer alleged.

"As a result of assault and fabricated plaints against forest guards, foresters, range forest officers (RFO) and assistant conservator of forests (ACF), morale of the ground staff in Gir, considered as one of the best in the country, has gone down significantly," said a forest officer, against whom a complaint has been filed by local a villager.


"Neighbours of lions in Gir are turning hostile. They consider lions as a source of income through illegal lion shows. Those who try to prevent them have to face the music. Some villagers do not even hesitate to kill the lions," said a senior forest official, on condition of anonymity.


"A few months ago, a team went to rescue a lioness that was surrounded by villagers, after it killed two bullocks close to the Gir Sanctuary. The mob gathered at the spot pelted stone on forest staff. People in the mob were armed with axes and other sharp weapons and wanted to kill the lioness. We could hardly save the lioness and in the process six of our staff members were hurt by the mob," he said.


Foresters also gave examples of another type of hostility, where in Ghodhavadi settlement village, forest ground staff were transferred for no fault of theirs.


"A senior forest officer pulled up ground staff in presence of villagers in Ghodhavadi village. The support of a senior forest officer prompted villagers to dig 11 bore wells within hours inside the sanctuary area, which according to law is illegal," said a forest official, adding that those who break environment laws get state cover and those who protect it, get punished.


"Call it an irony of sorts, as no officer including from the IFS officer, wants to work in Gir. This is a serious matter and government needs resolve the issue, especially for the ground staff," added another forest official.


Chink in Gir armour: 45% field staff posts lying vacant


Chink in Gir armour: 45% field staff posts lying vacant


JUNAGADH: The state government seems to be taking protection of Gujarat's pridethe Asiatic lions very lightly. Figures obtained from the forest department show that nearly 45% of the total sanctioned post of administrative and crucial field staff in the four division of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park are lying vacant.


The field staff of Gir East, Gir West, Sasan and Special Task Force, that is essential for protection of the endangered lion, are working with nearly half its sanctioned strength. The Junagadh forest division that includes Girnar Sanctuary also faces the same problem.

A senior IFS officer said, "Currently, the major concern for us is shortage of crucial ground level staff in all four divisions. Gir forest is 10% of state's total protected area but has the least number of staff." The field staff members include assistant conservator of forest, range forest officer, forest guard and others.


"Gir East (Dhari) known for number of human-wildlife conflicts, lions venturing into private lands and illegal lion shows, is facing acute staff shortage," he added.


However, top officials of forest department claimed that they were in process of recruiting forest guards, which would ultimately ease the situation."We are in the process of recruiting around 1,500 forest guards and once they are in the field, staff shortage situation will reduce. Also, a batch of RFOs and ACFs are under training and they will soon join the department," G K Sinha, principal chief conservator of forests, (wildlife), told TOI.


"Further many posts will fall vacant as number of staff are set to retire soon.In important Dalkhaniya, Hadala, Tulshishyam, Chhodavadi and Devaliya have no RFOs'' said a forest official.


The Special Task Force, which was set up after lion poaching incident in 2007, has only four members against sanctioned post of 24. "The task force was created to solve wildlife crime and other important protection aspects in greater Gir but government made it almost `useless'. Government knew years ago that number of staff would retire, but it did not start recruitment and as a result situation is grim," said a forest officer.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

160 lions die in Gir in 2 yrs


160 lions die in Gir in 2 yrs

THE Tribune


Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, March 21

The Gujarat Forest Department has admitted that more than 160 Asiatic lions have died in the Gir forest in the last two years since the 2015 census put their population at record 523.


This included death of 95 lions from April 2015 to March 2016, and another 67 from April last year to date. What was more shocking of the 95 deaths recorded last year was that 25 died unnaturally, including of electrocution by coming in contact with live wires put up by farmers to save their crops from herbivorous animals, and falling into wells left open by farmers in their fields, the department revealed in a reply to a query under the RTI Act.


(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)


Almost all unnatural deaths were recorded in the areas outside the protected sanctuary zone in the periphery of the villages falling within Gir forest as under pressure of increasing population and shortage of prey, a number of Asiatic lions fanned outside the sanctuary zone and into the habituated villages. The wildlife experts said some of the carcasses of the lions were found in such highly decomposed conditions that it was even difficult to ascertain the exact causes of their death.


The high death rate of the lions concerns environmentalists who have urged the state government to expand the protected zone to cover the wastelands and some other areas in the periphery, particularly because the state government was opposed to the idea of shifting a few species to Kuno-Palpur forests in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh to create a second home for the Asiatic lions.


Meanwhile, a man-eater sloth bear, which had strayed out of the forest areas in Danta in Banaskantha district in north Gujarat and killed three persons besides injuring four others, was killed by sharp-shooters in a joint operation by the foresters from Danta, Gir Sanctuary and even Delhi who were rushed to the area this afternoon after the locals raised the alarm.

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