Sunday, January 31, 2016

CZA to probe lion deaths in Etawah safari.

TNN | Jan 31, 2016, 01.29 AM IST
Kanpur: A team of Central Zoo Authority (CZA) is likely to visit the lion safari in Etawah on February 1 following directives from the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court to conduct a spot inspection of the safari in view of the recent death of lions.

The safari officials would present a report on arrangements there. "We have been working to explain things regarding arrangements of upkeep of animals to the CZA officials. The team will also suggest us the remedial measures for conservation of Asiatic lions," said DFO Chambal Anil Patel.

The high court had recently directed the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to conduct an inspection at the lion safari and apprise it of the circumstances under which the lions died, the cause of the deaths and suggest remedial measures. The CZA has been directed to submit its report in the next hearing on February 24. A division bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Rajan Roy had passed the order on January 20 in response to a PIL filed by lawyer Satish Kumar Mishra.

The lion safari has till now reported eight deaths. Three adults (a lion and two lionesses) and five cubs had died.

Four pair of Asiatic lions were brought for breeding between April and September 2014. One linoess died in October, followed by a lion on November 16, both reportedly of heart failure.

Two of the lionesses gave birth this summer just four days apart in July. Two cubs from the first died within 24 hours of birth and another two of three that were born four days later died shortly after birth. Lioness Tapasya had been ill and undergoing treatment for a week before her death.

Following Tapasya's death, Jonathan Cracknell, director of animal operations at United Kingdom's Longleat Safari Park, had visited the Etawah Lion Safari to check the health of other lions on January 16.

The lion safari project, which is being developed in Fisher Forest on Etawah-Gwalior highway, was conceived in 2005 when Mulayam Singh was the chief minister.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

3 charged after lioness prowled Dubai neighborhood.

FILE - In this May 10, 2015 file photo, an Asiatic lion rests at its enclosure at the Kamala Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmadabad, India. Gujarat forest officials say in a report that the rains killed at least 10 of the country's 523 lions, the last members of the subspecies left anywhere in the wild. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
FILE - In this May 10, 2015 file photo, an Asiatic lion rests at its enclosure at the Kamala Nehru Zoological Garden in Ahmadabad, India. Gujarat forest officials say in a report that the rains killed at least 10 of the country's 523 lions, the last members of the subspecies left anywhere in the wild. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Three people have been charged with public endangerment over an incident that saw a lioness escape from a home in a Dubai neighborhood and prowl the streets for several hours.
Abu Dhabi’s state-run The National newspaper reported Tuesday that police say the owner of the lioness, the buyer and a middleman have been charged after the lioness escaped Thursday in Dubai’s al-Barsha neighborhood. She was safely caught and taken to the zoo.
It’s largely illegal to keep endangered or threatened wildlife as pets in the United Arab Emirates. However, The National, quoting unnamed officials, says that “exceptions are made for members of the ruling family or anyone who has official authorization and a permit.”
Keeping wild animals as pets is seen as a status symbol in the Gulf Arab states.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Census reveals that one in three lions live outside Gujarat sanctuaries.

Intresting news article.
AHMEDABAD: One of every three lions in Gujarat's Saurashtra lives outside sanctuaries, the final count of the May 2015 lion census has revealed.

Of the total 523 lions in the region, 167 are currently living outside protected areas. Of them, 80 live in the Savarkundla, Lathi and Liliya areas of Amreli, making the district

Stock Photo.

Stock Photo:

Asiatic Lion in a national park in India. These national treasures are now being protected, but due to urban growth they will never be able to roam India as they used to

Lion to roar on Rajpath during Republic Day Parade.

File photoFile photo

| TNN | Jan 22, 2016, 07.09 PM ISTAHMEDABAD: The roars of the Asiatic Lions will be heard on the Rajpath on January 26. The state will present the endangered Asiatic lions in the Gir wildlife sanctuary as the theme of its tableau in the national-level Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.
The decision to have the tableau on Asiatic lion was taken by the Government as Gir wildlife sanctuary is celebrating the golden jubilee of its foundation this year. Officials said that the the Minsitry of Defence has approved 'Gir Sanctuary - Asiatic Lions' theme for the Republic Day Tableau.
Not only the Asiatic Lion, the Gujarat tableau will also show the youth of Siddi tribe, settled in the Gir forests, performing their traditional dance 'Dhamaal' in their tribal attire.
According to officials the front portion of the tableau shows the Asiatic lion as the King of the Jungle, while second half would have cattle owners with the Gir cows living among the lions. The tableau will also show how Gir has used wind engery to draw water and fill water ponds for the animal along with a lions and other animals drinking water from the same.
Gir sanctuary is known for its diversity in vegetation and wildlife. As many as 39 species of herbivorous and carnivorous rare species and 300 species of rare birds, including endangered vulture. The tableau will also depict some of the rare and exotic varieties.
It was on September 18, last year that the Gir sanctuary completed 50 years of conservation. A special postal stamp was also launched on September 18 as the Sanctuary completed 50 years. Gir has seen the lion population growing to 523. The protected area, which was 1265 sq. km. in 1965, has now expanded to 22,000 sq. km. as the lion kept conquering back lost territory.
From a time many centuries back when the lion kingdom used to cover almost whole of east Asia, it is the people of peninsular Saurashtra who saved the beast from complete annihilation. Hunted down by humans and tigers, Gir had 174 lions when it was notified as a sanctuary on September 18, 1965. In 1904, the Nawab of Junagadh Mohabat Para III banned hunting. However, hunting with permission continued even after Independence and was completely banned only after the sanctuary was declared in 1965.

Lion translocation: Govt prepares affidavit for SC

| TNN | Jan 18, 2016, 10.57 AM IST
Ahmedabad: Gujarat government is preparing to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court regarding translocation of Asiatic lions from Gir Sanctuary to Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh. A committee has also been formed to discuss the matter before the af fidavit is filed.

The affidavit has become necessary because of a petition filed by the Wildlife Conservation Trust, a Rajkot-based NGO. The NGO has claimed that to shift the lions without considering their pride behaviour may be counter productive and threaten their survival.

However, though the petition is yet to be heard, the court has asked the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and all concerned governments, including Gujarat and Rajasthan, to file an affidavit in connection with the petition.

Sources in the department said that the proposal to file the affidavit was brought up for discussion before the State Board for Wildlife.

The petition filed by Wildlife Conservation Trust has even made Rajasthan govern ment and the NTCA a party.

The officials said that the effect of the petition was that even the 12member committee, formed as per the April 2013 direction of the Supre me Court which ordered translocation of Girlions to Kuno Pal pur, has decided to ma ke the NTCA and Rajasthan government a party and seek their opinion before actually moving the lions to Kuno Palpur.

The officials said that the 12-member committee wants to know the preparedness of Rajasthan if the lions use the same corridor and move to Ranthambore.

British wildlife expert visits Etawah safari

| TNN | Jan 17, 2016, 01.44 PM IST
Kanpur: Director of animal operations at United Kingdom's Longleat Safari Park, Jonathan Cracknell, visited the Lion Safari in Etawah to check the health of lions. Forest department officials said his inputs might help in checking the deadly trail of the deaths of lions at the safari. Jonathan has extensively worked on conservation of wild cat species, including lions, leopards, jaguars and tigers.

British expert met principal secretary, forest, Sanjiv Saran, besides senior forest officers including Rupak De and director of lion safari Sanjay Srivastava, and gave them tips on big cat conservation.

"Jonathan has given his precious time to understand everything here from the atmosphere, health and well-being of the animals, to educating safari authorities on the threats facing the Asiatic lion. He was fully satisfied with the arrangements here, particularly upkeep of the animals. He also visited the section where domestic animals are being slaughtered for extracting meat on which lions feed. Also, Dost Mohammad, the keeper of Jessica, has arrived at safari from Gujarat to take care of the lioness, which had exhibited sign of illness soon after the death of Tapasya. Now both Jessica and Pataudi are fine," informed director of the safari.

However, sources said Jonathan's visit was significance in view of the most recent death of lioness Tapasya, brought from Sakarbaugh zoo of Gujarat along with two other lions Pataudi and Jessica on December 28 for the breeding programme at Lion Safari, but fell ill and died on January 9 morning.

Gauging the seriousness of the recent casualty, the state machinery became active and the experts from the United Kingdom's Longleat safari park were being consulted on the line of survival of the big cats at Lion Safari-- a favourite project of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
"Jonathan had given valuable tips to the veterinarians including senior vet from Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya, Mathura, R N Pandey and Kanpur zoo vet R K Singh. A close vigil is being maintained by him in coordination with other veterinary doctors in the Lion safari in Etawah on the condition of lions," informed Srivastava.

Jonathan has an expertise in treating Asiatic lions. "At present he has been taking care of several Asiatic lions and other species of big cats in United Kingdom's Longleat Safari Park," informed a senior forest department official while talking to TOI. Four pair of Asiatic lions were brought in for breeding between April and September 2014. One lioness died in October, followed by a lion on November 16, both reportedly of heart failure.

Two lionesses gave birth this summer just four days apart in July. Two cubs from the first one died within 24 hours of their birth, and another two of three that were born four days later also died shortly after being born.

Let Asiatic Lion roar to its glory.

Let Asiatic Lion roar to its glory
The Asiatic Lion once had a natural habitat in India. Today its population is confined to Gir, Gujarat. The symbol of our national pride needs consistent efforts to preserve it. Thinkstock

Posted at: Jan 17 2016 12:36AMBaljit Singh, Lt General (Retd)

Thanks to Lord Curzon’s refusal to hunt more lions in the jungles of Junagadh that the royal species survived. In 2013, the apex court allowed translocation of the lion, but efforts to do that have met with some strange resistance. To be able to survive in its natural habitat, the lion needs care and fresh areas to breed. We are duty-bound to help the lion
Dan Ash, director of US Fish and Wildlife Service, has reminded us: “The lion is one of the planet's most beloved species and an irreplaceable part of our shared global heritage…” and in the next breath, motivate us in India that “If we want to ensure that healthy Lion populations continue to roam…the forests of India, it is up to all of us…to take action” (The Tribune, December 23, 2015).  In the geological timeline when Africa was connected with Asia by a “land bridge”, the African Lion had arrived in Asia. Over time the bridge between the two continents eroded. Several factors impacted the biology and morphology of the original but isolated émigré lion population that gradually evolved to emerge as the Asiatic Lion.
Land of Big Cats
It is also another evolutionary truth that once the whole matrix of the “Living Planet” took firm roots, we on the Indian sub-continent had inherited a fairly substantial share of the world's diverse faunal riches. And on the first stock-taking of our inventory, we emerged as the only country to have had the gift of all the “Four Big Cats” — the lion, tiger, leopard and the cheetah.  The Asiatic Lion, as the name implies, had a stable population in today's Turkey, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and India. In northwest India it was such a common occurrence that in the Jahangirnama the Mughal Emperor states that in a span of 39 years, he alone accounted for 86 lions, mostly from an area which approximates to the Panipat-Mathura tract of today. And just as the Mughal empire extended steadily eastward, so was lion hunting pursued with vigor through the length and breadth of the Gangetic plain, right up to Jharkhand and Orissa. 
On verge of extinction
Once the British ousted the Mughals, they too showed scant restraint in pursuit of the lion (even though they had evolved and put into practice in the UK a code of ethics for “Field Sport” which stipulated controlled hunting, only). With the availability of more lethal weapons, the Asiatic Lion in India was almost wiped out as a species by 1900 AD but for one pride of twenty five animals (some accounts place this figure at twelve) confined to the Gir Forests of Junagadh, in Gujarat. And by this time elsewhere in Asia, the species had already been shot to extinction.  Around the same time, the beleaguered Asiatic Lion in the Gir forest had something of a solace: Lord Curzon arrived in India. It was a common practice then for the princes and maharajas to host the viceroy over the Christmas weekend. In 1902, the Nawab of Junagadh invited Curzon to his fiefdom for a lion hunt. It is to the credit of Curzon that not only did he decline the invitation to hunt but instead inveigled with the Nawab to prohibit lion hunting in totality and save the species from extinction!
Help arrives
That today their numbers have increased to around 500 is a tribute to the collective vision of Lord Curzon, Jawaharlal Nehru and the Nawabs of Jungadh. Much in the spirit of Curzon, Prime Minister Nehru too provided patronage and political will by personally guiding the Lion revival National Action Plan which created conditions for the lion to survive. So, we may now proudly call it the Indian Lion.  On April 16, 2013, wildlife enthusiasts had woken to the cheery news that the Supreme Court allowed translocation of Asiatic Lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh saying the species needed a second home. It gave the wildlife authorities six months to complete the process. A factor of animal biology perhaps not known to most Indians is that the entire surviving population of approximate 500 Asiatic Lions in Gir today has sprung from one common blood-line of 20-odd animals, in 1903. Implicit in this truth is the potential hazard that they can be wiped out altogether, in one single epidemic.  So preparations were set afoot back in 1995 to create for the Asiatic Lion a viable “second home” in Madhaya Pradesh (stocked with adequate prey-base) at Palanur Kuno, an erstwhile stronghold of the lion till the 1860s. But the effort was scuttled by a fiat of Narindera Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, on the argument that (a) since the Union Government had shown a poor track record in saving the tiger, there is little hope that they will do better with the lion, and (b) the “second home” would rob Gujarat of much of its wildlife tourism revenue. 
National symbol
We do not know why Emperor Ashoka had installed the Lion atop the pillars bearing his edicts, hundreds o years back. Over time, the stylized Lion of Ashoka's pillar, also became the symbol of India in 1952. Thus it has become a tacit article of faith with us that the Asiatic Lion shall have a permanent home in India for all times to come.  Thank you, Dan Ash, for providing us a noble cause in 2016.