Saturday, June 30, 2018

18,000 wells still uncovered in Gir, govt tells HC


Open wells have always posed a danger to the lions

| Updated: Jun 30, 2018, 05:16 IST

Open wells have always posed a danger to the lions
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AHMEDABAD: Open wells have always posed a danger to the lions. In an affidavit submitted in the Gujarat high court the state government admitted that nearly 18,000 wells are yet to be covered in Gir, the last abode of Asiatic lions.

The government on Friday promised the HC that it will speed up the enclosing of open wells and fencing of a railway line in the protected Gir area by the end of 2019 so as to protect the lions and prevent their unnatural deaths.

Chief conservator of forests, wildlife circle, Junagadh, D T Vasavada, filed an affidavit giving details about the efforts taken to protect lions. The reply came in response to a PIL by the HC itself, after the state assembly was informed in March that 184 lion deaths had been recorded in the last two years, and many deaths were due to unnatural causes.

The government assured the HC, “The state government is alive to the situation and ensures that Asiatic lions, which survive only in the Gir landscape, being a national treasure, are well guarded and the species is well preserved under the aegis of the forest department.”

Open wells have always posed a danger to lions. The forest department stated that it has already spent Rs 22.30 crore on enclosing 32,559 open wells, of the 50,517 such wells in Gir. The government gives farmers assistance of Rs 8,000 to Rs 16,000 for this. The remaining 17,958 open wells will be covered by the end of 2019, the department said.

The affidavit also stated that of the 86.8km Surendranagar-Pipavav railway track which passes through the protected area, 81.6km has been fenced off at a cost of Rs 38.89 crore. The remaining 5.2km of track in Amreli district will be fenced off in the next six months.
Interestingly, the HC in its PIL raised grave concerns about fences along the railway track, on the ground that it would blockade the lions’ natural corridor. It suggested installing devices in locomotives that could detect the presence of lions’ near the tracks.

On lion deaths by electrocution, the officer told the HC that a state committee has made recommendations to prevent unnatural deaths. Joint patrols of forest officials and officials of Paschim Gujarat Vij Co Ltd are carried out in several villages to identify electrified fences. The affidavit also stated that only two such lion deaths were reported in the last two years and action has been taken by the forest department in this case.

No plan to further restrict traffic on state highways

The forest department is not mulling further curbs on traffic on the six highways that pass through the forest. It said that four roads are completely closed at night because lion movements peak in the dark. State highways No. 26 and No. 98 witness minimal lion movement, so entry/exit points on these roads in the protected area are monitored. All vehicular movement is recorded.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/18k-wells-still-uncovered-in-gir-govt-tells-hc/articleshow/64799752.cms

Two more lion safari parks to be opened by March ’19



| TNN | Jun 30, 2018, 04:00 IST
Junagadh: Next year onwards there would be much more than just booze in your vacation to Diu! Just about 40 km on the way to Gujarat’s favourite watering hole and vacation destination, tourists will get to see Asiatic lions from a close distance.
The forest department is planning to develop two more safari parks — one in Chikhalkuba near Diu and another in Chorvadala near Sihore in Bhavnagar district. The new safari parks are being planned considering the spread of this endangered species out of the protected areas of Gir National Park and Sanctuary.

At present, visitors can watch lions in Devalia Interpretation Zone besides Gir jungle trail in Sasan. The safari park in Chorwadala will not only have lions, but also other wildlife like black bucks, leopards and spotted deer. Currently, nearly 5 lakh tourists visit Sasan and Devalia park every year and two new options could reduce the load in these parks.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/two-more-lion-safari-parks-to-be-opened-by-march-19/articleshow/64798196.cms

Lion deaths: Will cover all wells in Gir by next year, Gujarat government tells High Court

lioness death, lion found dead, Gujarat lioness death, AMreli village, Gujarat news, Two weeks ago, the High Court had directed the state government to give specific details of the steps taken in the last couple of years to stop the death of Asiatic lions caused by open wells, electrocution and vehicular traffic among others. (File)In the fresh affidavit, the government claimed that it will cover the open wells, in which lions often get trapped and killed, with enclosures by the end of 2019.
By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: June 30, 2018 6:19:40 am

In a fresh affidavit submitted to the Gujarat High Court in connection with the increasing incidents of lion deaths, the state government on Friday said that there are over 50,000 wells in Gir forest area, and out of them 17,958 are yet to be covered with parapet. Two weeks ago, the High Court had directed the state government to give specific details of the steps taken in the last couple of years to stop the death of Asiatic lions caused by open wells, electrocution and vehicular traffic among others.
In the fresh affidavit, the government claimed that it will cover the open wells, in which lions often get trapped and killed, with enclosures by the end of 2019. “The work of enclosing wells is in progress, and as far as possible it shall be the endeavour of the forest department that by the end of 2019, all open wells shall be enclosed,” stated the new affidavit signed by Dushyant T Vasavda, chief conservator of forest, wildlife circle, Junagadh.
It added that the government spent Rs 22.30 crore in covering 32,559 wells. The government had earlier informed the High Court that in the past two years, nine lions were killed in open wells. With incidents of lions getting killed in the open wells becoming frequent, the government had increased the subsidy given to locals to cover these wells by parapet from Rs 8,000 to Rs 16,000 this year.
The latest affidavit also assured the High Court that the chain-fencing of the 86.8-km railway track that passes through the lion habitat of Amreli district will be completed in six months. The government said that till now, fencing has been completed till 81.6 km of the track. The forest department also told the court that apart from nine deaths of lions in the past two years, three were killed by electrocution, two by poisoning, two in rail accidents, two in road accident, one in trapping, two drown in sea tide, while in the case of two deaths reasons are not yet known.
“It is again assured that the state government is alive to the situation and ensure that Asiatic lions, which only survive in the Gir landscape, are well guarded and the species is well preserved under the aegis of the Forest Department of the state of Gujarat,” the affidavit stated. According to government figures, there are 323 lions inside the Gir protected areas, while around 200 are outside it, and in the last two years — 2016 and 2017 — 184 lion deaths were reported.
https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/lion-deaths-will-cover-all-wells-in-gir-by-next-year-gujarat-government-tells-high-court-5239517/



Leopard attacks shepherd in Gir-Somnath village

| Jun 28, 2018, 04:00 ISTRajkot: Leopard attacked a 20-year-old shepherd in Kareni village of Gir Gadhda taluka in Gir Somnath district on Wednesday morning. The injured was first taken to Una hospital and then shifted to civil hospital in Junagadh for further treatment. According to forest department, the incident took place when Deepak Vinja Degan had taken his goat into the forest area from grazing. Leopard tried to prey on the goat but when Deepak tried to protect it, the leopard attacked him. Deepak sustained injuries on the head. tnn
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/leopard-attacks-shepherd-in-gir-somnath-village/articleshow/64770301.cms

Gir zone opens at airport, lions roar welcome


Parimal Nathwani, Rajya Sabha member, inaugurated the forest zone called ‘The Gir’ at the city airport on Tuesday.

| Updated: Jun 27, 2018, 06:33 IST
Parimal Nathwani, Rajya Sabha member, inaugurated the forest zone called ‘The Gir’ at the city airport on Tuesday.AHMEDABAD: Flyers who land in Ahmedabad will now be welcomed at the domestic terminal by the royal roar of Gujarat’s pride. The terminal offers a glimpse of Asiatic lions of Sasan Gir, their only abode in the world. A replica of Gir forest has been conceptualised by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).
Airports Authority of India (AAI) has allotted an 11,000 sq feet area between the arrival and departure terminals. This forest zone features lifesize replicas of lions, black bucks, eagles, leopards, and few other animals that are found in Gir.

“Apart from the objective of giving a glimpse of the Gir forests, the replicas are a marketing tool and can facilitate mass awareness,” said Parimal Nathwani, Rajya Sabha member and group president (corporate affairs), RIL. Nathwani inaugurated the forest zone called ‘The Gir’on Tuesday. Accompaning him was Lok Sabha MP and actor Paresh Rawal. “Ahmedabad airport is likely to house an aviation museum in future,” Rawal said. “J R D Tata, considered the father of civil aviation in India, made the country’s maiden voyage from Juhu airport to Drigh airstrip, Karachi, via Ahmedabad in October 1932.”

On the Gir exhibit, Rawal said: “Instead of whiling away time in the waiting lounge, passengers can spend some time at this interactive exhibit.” He said it is probably for the first time that a special attraction belonging to any state has been displayed at an airport.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gir-zone-opens-at-airport-lions-roar-welcome/articleshow/64755201.cms

Lion found dead in Bhavnagar had come in contact with live wire: probe report

Lion found dead in Bhavnagar had come in contact with live wire: probe report “Lion population has increased with the tolerance the residents. But more and more lions are moving out of protected forest areas and settling into revenue land. This has increased man-animal conflict,” said the officer. (Representational Image)The carcass of a male lion, aged 10 to 12 years, was found in the Shetrunji river in Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar district on June 6. At the time, the forest department did not reveal the cause of death and had said that the matter was being probed.
By: Express News Service | Rajkot | Published: June 27, 2018 8:55:05 am

The Asiatic lion which was found dead in the Shetrunji riverbed in Bhavnagar district earlier this month died after coming in contact with a live electric wire in an agricultural field, an inquiry by the forest department has concluded.
The carcass of a male lion, aged 10 to 12 years, was found in the Shetrunji river in Talaja taluka of Bhavnagar district on June 6. At the time, the forest department did not reveal the cause of death and had said that the matter was being probed.
However, a forest official in Bhavnagar informed The Indian Express on Tuesday that the lion was electrocuted. “A panel of veterinarians of animal husbandry department and forest department conducted the post mortem and concluded that the lion was killed due to electric shock. Burn injury marks were also visible on the animal’s body,” the officer said.
According to the officer, the forest department had withheld the findings of the post mortem report in order to identify the accused.
“The lion was electrocuted after it accidentally touched a steel wire which was connected to an electricity source in order to prevent wild boars and blue bulls from raiding the standing crop. When the farmers came to know about the death of the lion, they dumped the carcass in the riverbed,” the officer said.
Farmers in the area often erect such electric wires around their farms to prevent the entry of herbivores like wild boars and blue bulls or nilgais that often damage standing crop by raiding farms, especially at night
“We have already questioned a man who is a share-cropper on a nearby field. However, we suspect more than one persons were involved and efforts are on to identify them,” the officer added.
“Lion population has increased with the tolerance the residents. But more and more lions are moving out of protected forest areas and settling into revenue land. This has increased man-animal conflict,” said the officer.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/lion-found-dead-in-bhavnagar-had-come-in-contact-with-live-wire-probe-report-5235065/


Leopard attacks farmer in Gir-Somnath village


Farmer Raju Ghelabhai Jadav, sleeping in an open field in Fareda village, was attacked by the leopard early morning on Thursday

| Updated: Jun 22, 2018, 08:47 IST
Farmer Raju Ghelabhai Jadav, sleeping in an open field in Fareda village, was attacked by the leopard early morning on ThursdayRAJKOT: A 25-year-old man was attacked by a leopard in the wee hours of Thursday while he was sleeping in an open field in Fareda village of Gir-Gadhda taluka of Gir-Somanath district. He was admitted to Junagadh civil hospital after treatment in Gir-Gadhda primary health centre.

According to forest officials, Raju Ghelabhai Jadav, resident of Fareda village, was attacked by the leopard when he was sleeping in the farm of Dilip Parmar. Jadav suffered injuries on his head and cheek.
Another person who was sleeping besides Jadav woke up on hearing his cries and started throwing stones at the leopard to drive it away.

Jadav was first taken to the primary health centre in Gir Gadhdhda and later to Junagadh civil hospital for further treatment.

Forest officials have set up cages at various places in the village to nab the leopard.

Attack on humans by leopards have become frequent in Gir-Somnath and Junagadh districts. In April, a five-year-old girl was killed in Sutraparad in a leopard attack. According to the forest department, between April 2017 and March 2018, nearly 110 leopard attacks have been reported from Gir-Somnath, Junagadh and Amreli districts.  

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/leopard-attacks-farmer-in-gir-somnath-village/articleshow/64688229.cms

From Kanha to Odisha, moving a tiger with care

MB2, a sub-adult tiger at Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, was tranquilised before being taken on a 680-km journey to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha in the first such inter-state relocation. (Express Photo)
The tiger was tranquilised before being taken on a 680-km journey to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha in the first such inter-state relocation. (Express Photo)
MB2 being shifted from Kanha to Satkosia. The project involves relocating six tigers from MP to Odisha. (Photo: MP Forest Department)

Camera traps had already identified MB2, a sub-adult tiger aged a little over three years, as the first potential target, after it emerged that it had a kill and was not likely to move from the area.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Updated: June 22, 2018 9:34:25 am
Tiger, Tiger relocation, Odisha tiger, Madhya Pradesh tiger, MB2 tiger, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh Tiger Reserve, Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha Tiger Reserve, indian expressIN THE first such case of inter-state relocation, MB2, a 195-kg tiger, was shifted from the Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh to the Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha on Thursday.
From Kanha to Odisha, moving a tiger with careThis is part of an ambitious project conceived by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, that involves shifting six tigers (three pairs) from different reserves in the central state to the eastern state.
Tiger, Tiger relocation, Odisha tiger, Madhya Pradesh tiger, MB2 tiger, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh Tiger Reserve, Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha Tiger Reserve, indian expressCamera traps had already identified MB2, a sub-adult tiger aged a little over three years, as the first potential target, after it emerged that it had a kill and was not likely to move from the area. On Wednesday afternoon, MP to Odisha: first inter-state tiger relocation it was tranquilised by wildlife veterinarians from Pench and Kanha. It took two darts to immobile the big cat. Elephant-mounted staff then poked the tiger to check for any signs of activity. When it did not move, it was blindfolded and taken on a special stretcher. The team then measured all parameters, from its temperature to its canines, neck girth and length. The tiger was collared and later shifted to a cage.
While the cage was loaded on to a truck, three other vehicles with doctors and experts accompanied MB2 during the 680-km journey, which took about 22 hours. The tiger was finally released in Satkosia around 1.30 pm on Thursday.
“The operation was first planned for Thursday but was preponed by a day as the conditions were favourable,’’ said Dr Sanjay Shukla, Chief Conservator of Forests and Kanha park director.
While the intra-state tiger relocation experiment has been hugely successful in Madhya Pradesh — the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), where tiger sightings stopped in 2009, now has over 30 tigers — this is the first such case of inter-state relocation.
Confirming this, Madhya Pradesh Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Shazbaz Ahmed said this was the first time that a tiger had been relocated from one state to another for being released into the wild.
Wildlife conservationist Belinda Wright also said this was the first such inter-state relocation, adding that the experiment “is a viable idea as long as they don’t shift breeding animals’’. “Satkosia is a lovely tiger habitat. I hope they will take every measure to keep the tigers safe,’’ she said.
While a lot will depend on how MB2 adapts to its new home, which has a good prey base, the next relocation, of a tigress, is likely to be undertaken only after monsoon. Kanha has about 105-107 tigers. The other pairs are likely to be be sent from Bandhavgarh and Pench.
Meanwhile Madhya Pradesh is still waiting for lions from Gujarat. A project to find an alternate home for the Asiatic lion outside the western state was conceived nearly three decades ago. A new site has been created in Palpur Kuno in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh, but Gujarat has not parted with the lions. In 2013, the Supreme Court had asked Gujarat to share the lions.
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https://indianexpress.com/article/india/from-kanha-tiger-reserve-to-odisha-moving-a-tiger-with-care-5227993/