Saturday, February 28, 2015

Zoological Society of London enters in Asiatic lion Conservation.


AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat Forest department has gone Smart. The department will use smart software which will be used for tracking the movement of their staff and even the lions. The software has been developed jointly by the Zoological Society of London and the Gujarat forest department.

The two ZSL and forest department have entered into memorandum of understanding for the protection of Asiatic lion and its habitat which was inked on Thursday. The forest officials said that the ZSL which has expertise in managing the zoo will provide its technical assistance to the state not only to manage its rescue and treatment centres but also to manage the Sakarbaugh Zoo. Principal Chief Conservator of Forest CN Pandey said that the ZSL has not only expertise in managing the zoos, but they also have managed Asiatic lions successfully for 40 years. The still have three lions.

Pandey said that apart from ZSL, Wildlife Institute of India will be knowledge partner with the forest department in conservation of lion.

ZSL will provide technical support in providing veterinary support. The officials said that the apart from the zoo expertise, the ZSL will provide expertise in managing the landscape and the habitat of the area and also training the staff in handling rescue.

"Gir has best rescue and treatment centres, but with the help of the ZSL, the department will be the one of the best rescue centre," said the officer.

It is worth mentioning that earlier in 2014, the first-ever fundraising gala was held by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). ZSL had launched the charity's new Lions400 fundraising campaign and raised over £135,000 towards helping to save the Asian lions.

The famous London landmark was transformed into an Asian-inspired wonderland for the night. The officials said that ZSL feels that the Asiatic lion are at crisis point as they survive in one isolated forest.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/Zoological-Society-of-London-enters-in-Asiatic-lion-Conservation/articleshow/46386808.cms

48 illegal hospitality units sealed near Gir forest, 10 shut down.

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015

Gujarat High Court, Gir forest, illegal hospitality units, endangered species, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Asiatic lions, Gujarat tourism A PIL moved before the Gujarat High Court has alleged that these units are hindering movement of lions and other wild animals.
By: Express News Service | Rajkot | February 27, 2015 7:15 pm
Following directive of Gujarat High Court, the district administration of Gir Somnath sealed 48 unuthorised hospitality units located on the border of Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (GNPWS) in a two-day exercise that concluded on Friday. Meanwhile, officials of Junagadh districts also shut down 10 eateries which had been operating close to the sanctuary.
“We completed sealing of all the 48 unauthorised hotels, farm houses and resorts located near the sanctuary on Friday evening. We had sealed around 30 of these units on Thursday while the rest were sealed today,” Bhagwan Hirani sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Veraval in Gir Somnath district told The Indian Express.
The SDM said that the unauthorised hospitality units which they sealed were located in Bhojde, Chitrod, Borvav, Ankolvadi and Madhapar villages on the fringes of Gir forest. Gir forest and protected areas spread across Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurasthra region of Gujarat are the only natural home of Asiatic lions in the world. The Asiatic lion has been put into category of an endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an international organisation working for conservation of environment and biodiversity, and there were only 411 lions according census, 2010. “Majority of these hospitality units were functioning without obtaining mandatory no-objection certificate from forest department. Besides they were constructed on agricultural land and also did not have licences from the district administration,” Hirani further said.
Officers also cut down electricity supply to the sealed units.
Sasan-Gir, another village on the border of the sanctuary and where office of the superintendent NGPWS is located, has turned into a hot tourist destination over the last five years. It has become famous for lion safaris after advertisement campaign of Gujarat tourism department. But the rush of the tourists has also led to cropping up of a number of unauthorised hospitality units in the villages near Sasan-Gir.
A public interest litigation (PIL) moved before the Gujarat High Court (HC) has alleged that these units are hindering movement of lions and other wild animals. Acting on this PIL, the HC had on February 10 directed state government to close all the unauthorised hotels and farm-houses by March 5.
While majority of these units are located in Gir Somnath district, officials in Junagadh also took action against some eateries. “There were 14 hospitality units under our scanner. Of them, four hotels are found to have valid licences and required clearances from forest department. But the rest 10 were functioning as roadside eateries or dhaba without any formal setup but also without any formal approval from authorities. Therefore, we have closed them down with the help of police,” Jayesh Mayatra, SDM of Mendarda division in Junagadh district said.

In response to the PIL, a few farmers also have moved the HC saying they should not be harassed and that their power connections should not be snapped. The HC has admitted their plea and has agreed to hear the matter further on March 5.
“We have not cut power supply given for agricultural purpose. We have snapped power supply to only unauthorised hospitality units functioning on agricultural land or in violation of tenure of land,” the Veraval SDM clarified.
Similar action was on against a few hospitality units in Amreli district also. Amreli has parts of the eastern border of Gir forest. Officers said they have been asked to submit action taken reports to additional advocate general Prakash Jani by March 3.


26 February 2015 Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on pinterest_share Share on linkedin More Sharing Services 5 Paragon Themes Major new Lion Exhibit at ZSL London ZSL London Zoo has announced a groundbreaking £5.2m exhibit for 2016. Land of the Lions will give visitors the chance to get right up-close to a breeding group of endangered Asiatic lions. Once widespread throughout Northern India and Pakistan, the species is now on the critical list with only about 400 remaining in the wild. Work has already started on the new exhibit, which has been designed with expert zookeepers and conservationists to give the Asiatic lions state-of-the-art facilities. It will be five times the size of the previous enclosure, covering more than 2,500sqm (27,000 sqft). Paragon Creative design ZSL's Land of the Lions exhibit Leading design and build company, Paragon Creative, will be working closely with ZSL and main contractor, Buxtons, to undertake the theming and rock work. Mark Pyrah, CEO of Paragon Creative, says, 'Paragon is thrilled to have been awarded this prestigious £0.533m contract. It’s a great niche piece of work for our in-house multi-disciplined team to undertake. Being able to make a real difference to the lives of these wonderful creatures, as well as educating and inspiring the millions of zoo visitors to help protect these iconic big cats from the very real threat of extinction, is a huge honour. We are proud to be a small part of the mission to save the Asiatic lion.' Visitors to Land of the Lions will embark on a captivating journey which celebrates the vibrant culture of the lions' native home. They will experience just how closely humans and lions live in the Gir Forest as they catch tantalising glimpses of the lions’ habitat throughout a bustling Indian ‘village'. Finally, they will reach the national park which has been inspired by the landscape of the Gir Forest. It is here, at the heart of the exhibit, that visitors will come face-to-face with the awe-inspiring big cats in the 360° lions’ den. Paragon Creative design ZSL's Land of the Lions exhibit Paragon Creative has been involved in over 1000 projects in more than 26 countries for attractions such as museums, heritage centres, aquariums, theme parks and FECs. They have worked on projects for clients as divesrse as the Hong Kong Wetland Park, Ice Age Movie Park, Bottrop and Imperial War Museum, London.

26 February 2015

ZSL London Zoo has announced a groundbreaking £5.2m exhibit for 2016. Land of the Lions will give visitors the chance to get right up-close to a breeding group of endangered Asiatic lions.

Once widespread throughout Northern India and Pakistan, the species is now on the critical list with only about 400 remaining in the wild. 
Work has already started on the new exhibit, which has been designed with expert zookeepers and conservationists to give the Asiatic lions state-of-the-art facilities. It will be five times the size of the previous enclosure, covering more than 2,500sqm (27,000 sqft). 
Paragon Creative design ZSL's Land of the Lions exhibit
Leading design and build company, Paragon Creative, will be working closely with ZSL and main contractor, Buxtons, to undertake the theming and rock work. 
Mark Pyrah, CEO of Paragon Creative, says, 'Paragon is thrilled to have been awarded this prestigious £0.533m contract. It’s a great niche piece of work for our in-house multi-disciplined team to undertake.  Being able to make a real difference to the lives of these wonderful creatures, as well as educating and inspiring the millions of zoo visitors to help protect these iconic big cats from the very real threat of extinction, is a huge honour.  We are proud to be a small part of the mission to save the Asiatic lion.'
Visitors to Land of the Lions will embark on a captivating journey which celebrates the vibrant culture of the lions' native home. They will experience just how closely humans and lions live in the Gir Forest as they catch tantalising glimpses of the lions’ habitat throughout a bustling Indian ‘village'. Finally, they will reach the national park which has been inspired by the landscape of the Gir Forest. It is here, at the heart of the exhibit, that visitors will come face-to-face with the awe-inspiring big cats in the 360° lions’ den. 
Paragon Creative design ZSL's Land of the Lions exhibit
Paragon Creative has been involved in over 1000 projects in more than 26 countries for attractions such as museums, heritage centres, aquariums, theme parks and FECs. They have worked on projects for clients as divesrse as the Hong Kong Wetland Park, Ice Age Movie Park, Bottrop and Imperial War Museum, London.

http://www.blooloop.com/news/paragon-creative-zsl-london-land-of-the-lions/32515#.VPHEhy7wulI

Gujarat soughts Centre’s nod for Rs 150-crore lion conservation plan.

 By Kapil Dave, | 24 Feb, 2015, 03.00AM IST
The state government has also demanded wildlife and environment clearance for Ambaradi Lion Safari Park in Amreli district.
The state government has also demanded wildlife and environment clearance for Ambaradi Lion Safari Park in Amreli district.

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat government has sought approval from the Centre for its Rs 150-crore Lion Conservation Plan. Not only that, it has demanded that the central government bear the lion's share — Rs 135 crore — of the total project cost.

The state government has also demanded wildlife and environment clearance for Ambaradi Lion Safari Park in Amreli district; financial assistance for developing the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary; and immediate approval for 12 Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ).

PK Taneja, additional chief secretary, state forest and environment department, said that they have re-submitted to the Union ministry of environment forests and climate change, their proposal for 'Long-term Conservation of the Asiatic Lion'. Financially assistance for the lion conservation plan has been sought under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat (IDWH) scheme of the Centre.

"The demand is among those of Gujarat pending with the Union government. I have personally raised this and other issues with the secretary of Union forests ministry and got a positive response,'' said Taneja. The long-term conservation plan includes protection and conservation of lion habitat, eco-development, training, strengthening of communication, modern equipment, recruitments, and water and food facility for the Asiatic lions.

The three-year project was proposed on the basis of 90:10 sharing of cost, i.e. 90% of the project cost would be borne by the centre while the remaining 10% will be borne by the state government.

Four to five lakh tourists visit Sasan Gir every year.

State pushes for Ambardi Safari Park

Like the Devaliya Safari Park which was created to take off some of the tourist pressure from Sasan Gir, another Asiatic lion safari park is being built at Ambardi in Amreli district to further reduce the pressure of tourism. The Gujarat forest department had applied for permission to the Central Zoo Authority which granted in principal approval on May 21, 2008 with some conditions but final approval is yet to be granted. In its latest submission, the Gujarat government has requested approval at the earliest.



Approval sought for 12 Eco-Sensitive Zones

The state government had submitted various proposals for declaring Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) around sanctuaries and national parks. Out of these, 12 are awaiting approval from the Union ministry of environment and forests. These proposals are for the following parks and sanctuaries:



1 Thol Sanctuary

2 Balaram-Ambaji Sanctuary

3 Barda Sanctuary

4 Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary

5 Velavadar National Park

6 Gaga Sanctuary

7 Khijadiya Sanctuary

8 Jessor Sanctuary

9 Porbandar Bird Sanctuary

10 Rampara Sanctuary

11 Hingolgadh Sanctuary

12 Nalsarovar Sanctuary

Plan to save Great Indian Bustard

The Great Indian Bustard, a magnificent bird of the grasslands, is close to extinction in the country. About 200 birds are left in the whole country out of which 48 are estimated to be in Gujarat. A rescue plan — it includes the establishment of a National Level Conservation Breeding Centre for Great Indian Bustards in Kutch — was submitted to Union forests ministry in May 2014 by the state government. This species recovery plan for Great Indian Bustard has been prepared for a period of 10 years with a total estimated project cost of Rs.187.13 crore.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/environment/flora-fauna/gujarat-soughts-centres-nod-for-rs-150-crore-lion-conservation-plan/articleshow/46349558.cms

Government begins survey to identify unauthorised hotels near Gir sanctuary.

Written by Gopal B Kateshiya | Rajkot | February 22, 2015 3:35 am
Acting on the orders of Gujarat High Court, officials of Junagadh, Gir-Somnath and Amreli districts in Saurashtra region have started surveying hotels and farmhouses located on the fringes of Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, the only natural home in the world for endangered Asiatic lions.
“The sub-divisional magistrate of Mendarda is conducting a survey of hotels near the Gir sanctuary with the help of local mamlatdar, taluka panchayat officers, district panchayat officers, forest officers and officers from Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL). The officers are verifying if the hotels or resorts have licence, if they have been constructed on non-agricultural land, if a hotel is using a power generator set of more than 100 kilowatt, has got the permission from the PGVCL etc,” Sanjay Modi, resident additional collector (RAC) of Junagadh, told The Sunday Express.
The RAC said he did not have any idea as to how may hotels, resorts and farmhouses were under the scanner. But sources claimed more 30 such establishments were being surveyed.
Similarly, officers in Gir-Somnath district have issued notices to 48 hotels and resorts. “Forest department had provided us the list of 48 hotels which are functioning close to the sanctuary area. We have issued them notices and sought their response latest by February 23. We have asked them to provide documents related to their hotels and similar establishments,” Gir-Somnath collector Chandubhai Patel said.
Patel added that majority of the hotels were located near Sasan Gir, a village on the border of the sanctuary from where the forest department issues permissions for lion safaris.
On the other hand, similar survey is going on in Dhari taluka of Amreli district also which is located on the eastern tip of the Gir sanctuary. “There are not many hotels on the borders of Gir sanctuary in Amreli district as there is not any tourist circuit in this part of the sanctuary. But we have come to know that a couple of hotels are there. We are surveying them and will take suitable action,” said Amreli district collector Ajay Kumar.
Junagadh RAC said that after going through records, they will start issuing closure notices to unauthorised hotels and farmhouses from February 25 onward.
Acting on a public interest litigation, the High Court had on February 10 directed the state government to close all the unauthorised hotels and resorts functioning in buffer zone by March 5. According to existing forest laws, area extending up to two kilometre from the border of a sanctuary is classified as buffer zone.
Gir forest is the only natural habitat of the Asiatic lions. After Khushboo Gujarat Ki ad campaign of Gujarat tourism department, record number of tourist footfall has been registered at Sasan Gir and nearby Devaliya Gir Interpretation Zone in the last five years. But the increased tourist flow has also led to mushrooming of unauthorised farmhouses and resorts, forest officers say.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/government-begins-survey-to-identify-unauthorised-hotels-near-gir-sanctuary/

Govt not keen to reintroduce Gir lions in Madhya Pradesh.

Govt not keen to reintroduce Gir lions in Madhya Pradesh
The need for relocation of Gir lions was felt because environmentalists and wildlife conservations feared that an epidemic or natural calamity could wipe out the species. Photo: AFP

Mayank Aggarwal

Environment ministry may not push for relocation of Gir lions given Modi’s previous opposition to it

New Delhi:
The endangered Asiatic Lion, currently restricted to one population in Gujarat’s Gir reserve, may not be reintroduced in Madhya Pradesh, part of its original range in the country, and where it was last recorded in the 19th century, because the ministry of environment and forests is not keen on doing so.
The over-two decade old plan has acquired political overtones in recent years with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making it a matter of Gujarati pride when he was chief minister of the state.
The plan to relocate some of the lions was cleared by the Supreme Court in April 2013.
The court asked the Union environment ministry to relocate some of the lions to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno reserve by October 2013.
The court formed a panel that included officials from the ministry, the two states and independent wildlife experts. By October 2013, the panel had come up with a plan but the process got stuck again with the Gujarat government appealing the apex court’s order. The court rejected the appeal in August 2014.
Last week, the environment ministry finally called a meeting of the expert committee.
A senior member of the committee said the meeting essentially took stock of the progress.
“We don’t see any great movement happening on the ground on the project soon,” the member said. “The issue will probably go back to the Supreme Court once again. Things are not positive or inspiring at all. It is more a political issue than a conservation issue,” said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity.
S.C. Pant, who is Gujarat’s principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), declined comment.
Environment ministry officials say the expert committee has been asked to “revise the action plan” within a month.
They add that officials of the Madhya Pradesh government who attended the meeting said there was now adequate prey for the lions at Kuno —one of the reasons ostensibly cited by Gujarat to support its opposition to the relocation.
The Madhya Pradesh government has already spent over Rs.60 crore on development of the Kuno sanctuary and relocation of villagers.
In a recent interview, minister of environment and forests Prakash Javadekar declined to comment on the progress of the relocation exercise and claimed the matter was still before the court.
A second member of the expert group, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said he doesn’t think the ministry will push for the relocation given Modi’s previous opposition to it.
The need for relocation was felt because environmentalists and wildlife conservations feared that an epidemic or natural calamity could wipe out the species.
The plan involved relocation of 80 lions to Kuno.
Gir has around 411 lions, according to the most recent census conducted in 2010. Instances of lions straying out of the reserve have increased in recent years as the population rose.

Newquay Zoo has three lions for the first time after arrival of siblings Boss and Semira.

By CGMikeS  |  Posted: February 16, 2015
  • Boss
  • CHILLING: Boss and Semira have arrived at Newquay Zoo
NEWQUAY Zoo now houses three lions for the first time, following the arrival of two new cats last week.
Male lion Boss and lioness Semira were brought in from Longleat Safari and Adventure Park and have been reunited with their sister Amahle.
Amahle arrived at the zoo from Longleat last year after male lion Samson’s companion Connie died in July at the age of 18.
But after Samson and Amahle failed to bond, Samson was successfully rehomed at Dartmoor Zoological Park in December.
When Boss was chosen as Amahle’s new male companion it was then discovered that he was living with his other sister, Semira, and zookeepers made the decision to reunite the cats as a family.
This is the first time Newquay Zoo has ever housed three lions, and the three have bonded well as a pride.
“Sisters Semira and Amahle have become inseparable,” animal collections manager John Meek said. “The three cats would be much happier back as a family unit, both for their health and happiness, and the decision was taken purely and solely for the lion’s welfare. It was a really emotional moment for all of us to see the family reunited and now they are all settled in, and relaxed. Further updates on their progress will follow over the coming months.”
It is thought that there are less than 30,000 African lions left in the wild. In India the cats are endangered, with less than 400 wild Asiatic lions roaming the Gir Forest National Park.

Read more: http://www.cornishguardian.co.uk/Newquay-Zoo-lions-time-arrival-siblings-Boss/story-26034279-detail/story.html#ixzz3T2utGwci
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Chhabtir roars and chirps.


CHANDIGARH: A seven-year-old Asiatic lion, a pair of leopards, white peacocks, white spoonbill birds, long-legged wading birds and two pairs of white Ibis have joined Chhatbir zoological park from Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagarh, Gujarat,

Manish Kumar, field director, Chhatbir zoo, said Yuvraj, the lion, has been quarantined for a month and would be released in the zoo safari. Yuvraj's arrival comes five months after the death of Abhay, an Asiatic lion that Chhatbir zoo had procured on a breeding loan from New Delhi. Yuvraj would be introduced to lioness Heli, who last year had given birth to four cubs. His arrival has pushed the number of lions to eight, which includes the aged Rocky. It was the birth of four cubs that apparently helped the zoo break the Central Zoo Authority of India regulation on the transfer of lions.

"The authority had stopped the exchange for the time being. We then had a population of cross-breds of African and Asiatic lions. This was long ago. Now, our zoo is among those running breeding programmes. Since we had been able to take the cubs from Heli after treatment, it made us easy to secure Yuvraj. Else, it is very difficult to get a pure Asiatic lion for breeding purposes,'' said Kumar. "Though leopards and Asiatic lions are our main animals, the addition of white peacock and white spoonbill will add variety. We had a pair of white peacocks a long time back but it is for the first time when visitors will see a white Ibis," he added.