Tuesday, March 20, 2018

State-level celebrations of World Wildlife Day to be held in Sasan Gir


State-level celebrations of World Wildlife Day to be held in Sasan Gir

The Times of India



The state-level celebrations of the World Wildlife Day will take place in Sasan Gir on March 3, 2018. The function will be inaugurated by Union Minister of Forest Dr Harsh Vardhan in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.


The World Wildlife Day is celebrated to protect and raise awareness on all the flora and fauna specially the ones on the verge of extinction. The theme for this year is 'Big Cats; Predators under Threat' in order to raise awareness about the various species of cats such as leopards, lions, cheetah among others which are facing the threat of extinction.


In comparison to the 4% area of the total geographical area declared as Wildlife Protected Area in the whole country, the state of Gujarat has almost the double i.e 8.8% of land reserved under the Wildlife Protected area. The state has 4 national parks, 23 wildlife sanctuaries and a conservation reserve which make a total of 17,330 sq. km of land under the Wildlife Protected Area.


The state has 513 species of birds, 114 species of reptiles and amphibians, 111 species of mammals and more than 7000 types of pests.

Minister of Forest Ganpatsinh Vasava, Minister of State for Forest Ramanbhai Patkar and various officials of the forest department, NGOs, wildlife enthusiasts will be present on the occasion.

Weeds threaten Gujarat’s pride & prey


Weeds threaten Gujarat's pride & prey



Gujarat's pride and its prey are both facing a fast invading foe. Two shrubs — lantana camara and cassia tora — spreading in the Gir forest are threatening to drive out not only the Asiatic lions but large number of herbivorous animals like deers too.

Experts and forest department officials said that the spread of lantana camara (locally known as indradhanu) is so rapid that removing them is proving to be a Herculean task. The problem of these 'obnoxious weeds' is not new and has been observed for nearly two decades now. But the failure to nip them in the bud is now threatening to hurt Gir ecosystem.

The thorny lantana and cassia tora (locally known as kaalmukho) stop the growing of grass and other shrubs that the herbivorous feed on. As a result, large swathes of land in the national park and sanctuary have very little grass. The deers, nil gai, black bucks and other herbivorous animals don't eat plants of either of these shrubs. The longterm impact is the potential danger of lions moving out in revenue areas in search of prey, thus increasing chances of human-animal conflict.

A forest official said that lions usually like open spaces but in several ranges these are also depleting due to thick vegetation of lantana. The uninhibited spread, much akin to gando baval (prosopis juliflora), could also threaten existence of trees like caria, oak and karanj, which are essential for wild animals. Lions often take shelter in the coppice of caria trees, especially in summer.

The spread of lantana camara is so rapid that removing them is difficult

'It's a challenge to remove these invasive shrubs'

When these herbivores animals won't get food, they won't survive and if they won't survive, it will be difficult for lions to get food. The entire ecosystem will be damaged," he said.

Cassia tora is another plant of the legume family that renders the land nonfertile by not allowing grass to grow.

Chief conservator of forests, wildlife circle, A P Singh, who has authored a book on alien species, said, "This is an invasive species that doesn't allow survival of indigenous grass and is hindrance to natural ecosystem.

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