Friday, December 30, 2016

Minister Ganpat Vasava objects to lion translocation

| | Dec 30, 2016, 10.53 AM IST



AHMEDABAD: The 12-member expert committee appointed by the apex court's order may have found Kuno-Palpur suitable for lion translocation, but the Gujarat government has made it clear that they would not consider the issue till all the 36 studies, which have been specified under the new translocation guidelines of the International Union For Conservation of Nature, are not duly conducted.

Gujarat's environment and forest minister, Ganpat Vasava, said "We, in the state government, were never in favour of the proposal of translocating Asiatic lions from Gir forest to Madhya Pradesh, and would try our best to stop such a transfer." According to the 2015 census, there are 523 lions in and around the Gir Sanctuary, which is known as the last abode of Asiatic lions.
The state government, after studying the apex court order of April 2013, has asked the 12-member committee to carry out the studies afresh in compliance with IUCN guidelines, and then see if the site was suitable for translocation or not.

"It has now been over three years, but the committee, despite meeting six times, has not ordered any study following IUCN guidelines. We have on several occasions made it clear through officials that all studies listed in the fresh IUCN guidelines issued just before the April 2013 judgment have to be complied with, before putting the proposal to the government for translocating lions."

"We want a detailed study on the weather, its vegetation and even the prey base in the area. We also want MP to give us a detail of the area which will be notified for lions. After getting all these studies, the government will go through them," said the minister. "This is not a short-term measure. If it is for conservation, then all measures should be taken to ensure lions don't die in their new habitat in Kuno," said the minister.

Vasava said that since the time the issue of translocating lions to MP came up first, the government has made its stand clear. "The government is against such a move, and we will try our best to ensure that our lions remain here," Vasava said. "We are emotionally attached to these wild cats. Lions are not attacked by people even if they kill their cattle or livestock. The people are also against such a move," the minister said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Minister-objects-to-lion-translocation/articleshow/56244804.cms

Would try our best to stop shifting of lions to MP: Gujarat Forest Minister Ganpatsinh Vasava

Gujarat Forest Minister Ganpatsinh Vasava today said the state government was never in favour of the proposal of `translocating' Asiatic lions from Gir forest to Madhya Pradesh, and would try its best to stop such a transfer.

By: | Ahmedabad | Updated: December 29, 2016 1:12 AM
The BJP government in Gujarat had submitted a 36-point report opposing the proposal to a committee appointed by the Supreme Court in 2013, he said. (Reuters) The BJP government in Gujarat had submitted a 36-point report opposing the proposal to a committee appointed by the Supreme Court in 2013, he said. (Reuters)

Gujarat Forest Minister Ganpatsinh Vasava today said the state government was never in favour of the proposal of `translocating’ Asiatic lions from Gir forest to Madhya Pradesh, and would try its best to stop such a transfer.
The BJP government in Gujarat had submitted a 36-point report opposing the proposal to a committee appointed by the Supreme Court in 2013, he said.
The SC-appointed committee, having wildlife experts and senior officials from Gujarat, MP and Centre, had not yet got back in touch with Gujarat government after the report was submitted, he said.
“Since the beginning when this issue of translocating some of our lions to MP came up few years back, Gujarat government has made its stand clear by saying we are against such a move and we will try our best to see to it that our lions remain here,” Vasava told PTI.
As per the 2015 census, there are 523 lions in and around the Gir Sanctuary, which is known as the last abode of Asiatic lions.
Without elaborating on the 36 points, the minister stated the report backed the state government’s argument that lions should not be shifted to Madhya Pradesh.
“Lions are not just wild animals to the people of Gujarat. Lions share a special bond with people living near the forest. Lions are a matter of pride and identity for us. We are emotionally attached to these wild cats,” he said.
Supreme Court had earlier ordered to shift some of the Gujarat lions to Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary in MP.

http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/would-try-our-best-to-stop-shifting-of-lions-to-mp-gujarat-forest-minister-ganpatsinh-vasava/489302/

Lion safaris inside Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary soon: CM Vijay Rupani

Rupani was addressing his relatives and acquaintances after having darshan of his community deity in Chanaka village of Bhesan taluka in Junagadh district

By: Express News Service | Rajkot | Updated: December 25, 2016 8:04 pm

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Sunday said that the state government was mulling over a project to allow tourism activities in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary and building infrastructure for lion safaris.
“The state government is drawing plans to allow tourists to go on lion safaris inside Girnar forest very soon. State government has made necessary arrangements and tourism activity in this forest will begin in around three months,” an official release from state information department quoted the CM as saying.
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Rupani was addressing his relatives and acquaintances after having darshan of his community deity in Chanaka village of Bhesan taluka in Junagadh district. His family members were also accompanying him to Chanaka, the native village of the Rupanis.
The CM further said that the lion safari park in Amreli will be thrown open after getting due clearances from Central government.
Asiatic lions are an endangered species. Their only wild population in the world is surviving in Gir forest and other protected areas in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region in Gujarat. According to 2015 census, the population of Asiatic lions was estimated to be 523.
Presently, safaris are allowed inside tourism zone in Gir National Park and Sanctuary in Junagadh district. Tourists can also watch lion at Gir Interpretation Zone, Devaliya which is popularly known as Devaliya Safari Park.
If the tourism activity is allowed inside Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to 28 Asiatic lions, it will be second project to boost tourism around Mount Girnar, the highest peak of Gujarat. The central government had recently cleared a ropeway project for Mount Girnar.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/lion-safaris-inside-girnar-wildlife-sanctuary-soon-cm-vijay-rupani-4444668/

Lions hounded again by canine distemper


Representative image Representative image

| | Updated: Dec 23, 2016, 06.26 AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The threat of canine distemper is again hounding the Asiatic lion in its last abode. After tests by Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) confirmed that the four lions sent to Etawah in UP from Gujarat's Sakkarbaug Zoo had died of canine distemper virus (CDV), UP authorities ordered vaccine for the virus. Seven doses of the vaccine, brought from the American Zoo Veterinary Association have also been sent to Sakkarbaug Zoo, because authorities believe the virus is present in Gujarat, the last abode of Asiatic lions.

While the alarm about the presence of canine distemper virus in Asiatic lions had earlier been raised by Dr Richard Kock of Britain's Royal Veterinary College, this time the former director of Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, C N Bhuva, has confirmed the threat. Dr Bhuva is now the advisor to UP government for the Etawah Lion Safari project.

Quoting findings, Bhuva said, "The IVRI has confirmed that the four lions which died in Etawah had died of canine distemper virus. We then sought information about its vaccine and ordered some doses."

"Though the dose was not scientifically tested, we learned that there was no side-effect and hence to save the other six lions we ordered and administered the vaccine with positive results," said Bhuva.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Lions-hounded-again-by-canine-distemper/articleshow/56128084.cms


Electrocution of lions: HC sets up panel



| Updated: Dec 22, 2016, 12.13 PM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Wednesday set up a 10-member committee to report on deaths of lions by electrocution in and around the Gir sanctuary. The committee will suggest measures to avert such deaths. The HC constituted the committee in response to a PIL filed by a wildlife activist, Biren Padhya, who had sought guidelines in this regard and demanded police investigation of the electrocution of a pregnant lioness on September 1. He moved court because forest department officials had been unable to identify the culprits.

The committee includes the additional chief secretary of the forests and environment department; the principal chief conservator of forests, wildlife; the managing director of Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (PGVCL); and the inspector general of police, Junagadh range. The court has permitted the petitioner to give his suggestions to the committee to curb electrocution deaths of animals in and around the protected area. Padhya wanted local representatives from panchayats to have a say in this matter because, according to him, the problem cannot be solved without the involvement of local residents.

During the hearing, the court also expressed concern about a lion entering a village earlier this week and killing a prey. Pandya's advocate, Nandish Thacker

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Electrocution-of-lions-HC-sets-up-panel/articleshow/56109833.cms

First crocodile census in Gir sanctuary today


(Representative Image)(Representative Image)

| Updated: Dec 22, 2016, 01.57 PM IST
Rajkot: Around 300 forest officials and volunteers will fan out across the Gir wildlife sanctuary and the peripheral areas in the first ever crocodile census to be conducted by the forest department on Thursday.

The teams will cover a 10km radius around the sanctuary where crocodiles have been seen in sizeable numbers but never officially counted. Though voluntary wildlife organizations in Vadodara and Kheda districts have been conducting census in their respective areas, this is the first official crocodile count by the state forest department.

Mostly, marsh crocodile species is seen in the Gir forest and nearby regions, particularly in the Kamleshwar Dam.

The decision to conduct the census was taken during the national seminar on the crocodile and human conflict held last month in Sasan-Gir. During the meet, various methods to reduce crocodile-human conflict were discussed but the forest department did not have figures of crocodiles in the wild.

"The main objective of the crocodile census is to get exact number of this reptile in the forest and nearby regions. This will help tackle the human-crocodile conflict and minimize it," said a senior forest official associated with the census team.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/first-crocodile-census-in-gir-sanctuary-today/articleshow/56117689.cms

Leopard mauls four-year-old to death near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

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Different moods of the leopard have been captured in the coffee-table book Jawai: Land of the Leopard

The victim's body was found in the morning after which the forest officials were informed. The body was later sent for post mortem
By: PTI | Ahmedabad | Published:December 21, 2016 3:06 pm

A four-year-old girl was mauled to death by a leopard at Baradiya village in Visavadar taluka of Junagadh district near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, a top forest official said Wednesday.
“Victim Rashmita Tikhayabhai was dragged late last night by a leopard when she was sleeping at a farm along with her parents who are farm labourers from Madhya Pradesh,” said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Gir (West) division, Pradeep Singh.

The victim’s body was found in the morning after which the forest officials were informed. The body was later sent for post mortem, Singh said. The family of the victim are migrant labourers from Mandva village in Alirajpur district of neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

They were staying at the farm land where Rashmita was attacked and killed. Forest department officials have laid a trap to catch the leopard so that it can be shifted to jungles away from human settlement, Singh said.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/leopard-mauls-four-year-old-to-death-near-gir-wildlife-sanctuary-4438673/


SC-appointed panel says MP is fit to host Gir lions

| | Dec 20, 2016, 06.18 AM ISTAHMEDABAD: The 12-member expert committee formed to oversee the translocation of Asiatic lions from Sasan Gir in Gujarat to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh has found the sanctuary prepared to house the big cats.

The panel, formed by the apex court in 2013, concluded its maiden visit to Kuno-Palpur on Monday ."After spending nearly five hours at the sanctuary , the panel members found the atmosphere in Kuno-Palpur conducive to the shifting of lions.Gujarat, too, could not punch many holes in the prepared ness of MP to host the lions," said a member of the committee.

However, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh once again differed on the issue of International Union for Conservation of Nature guidelines. While MP demanded that the guidelines be taken up simultaneously with the translocation of lions to Kuno-Palpur, Gujarat forest officials in the committee insisted that the multiple studies mandated by IUCN be conducted prior to translocation. Census 2015 has pegged Gujarat's lion population at 523 lions.

During the meeting on Monday , Gujarat asked MP for the notification that declares a 700 sq km area of Kuno-Palpur as a national park. MP reiterated the process was underway and would be completed soon.Gujarat officials said according to the apex court's order this was a key requirement.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sc-appointed-panel-says-mp-is-fit-to-host-gir-lions/articleshow/56075231.cms