Saturday, August 31, 2019

Officials’ transfer discussed in HC

Officials’ transfer discussed in HC
Gir is the only natural habitat of world-famous Asiatic lions
The transfer of senior officials, who worked hard in controlling the spread of Canine Distemper Virus in Gir last year, to handle projects at Statue of Unity was discussed in Gujarat High Court during the hearing of a suo moto petition over unnatural lion deaths in Gir.

The court-appointed amicus curiae Hemang Shah quoted Mirror’s report ‘Is govt ignoring Gujarat’s ‘pride’ for SoU projects?’ (AM, Jan 26) during the hearing on Monday. He raised concern regarding the transfer of officials, who tackled CDV that claimed lives of 30 lions in Gir last year, being given charge of setting up jungle safari and animal park at State of Unity by October.

Mirror had reported how the state government was rushing to finish the projects before its inauguration in October. And for this, it has transferred the senior forest officials to SoU to get the projects ready in time.

Gir is the only natural habitat of world-famous Asiatic lions. A CDV outbreak in Dalkhaniya range made news after it ended up killing at least 30 lions between September and December last year. However, with five lion deaths reported since June 27 this year, experts and environmentalists believe the state government should not have transferred all officials experienced with CDV as they are needed to monitor the situation in Gir to prevent another outbreak.

During the hearing, the forest department submitted report on the work done so far for conservation of lions. Later, the forest officers went on social media to justify their efforts towards lion conservation.

Confirming this, Additional Advocate General P K Jani said, “The amicus curiae raised the issue but it was neither part of any official record nor substantiated by supportive documents.

I have submitted to the court that the government is taking world-class efforts to conserve the lions. We have filed an exhaustive affidavit in the court about steps taken. We have assured the court that more efforts will be made if required.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent ‘Mann Ki Baat’ – a radio talk show --aired on Sunday claimed that the lion population has been increasing since he took charge as chief minister of Gujarat.

To this, Gujarat Congress chief spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “It is not true that the lion population started increasing only after he came to power. Its population never declined after lion population estimation of 1968.” The population estimation is conducted scientifically every 5 years. Doshi added, “The complete report of lion population is available on the website of the Forest department. The government has not shown seriousness to the subject as required. There is a threat to the lion population due to several activities like illegal lion show, illegal forest-dwellers and illegal mining.”

MIRROR ON TWITTER

@CCF_Wildlife
Please appreciate the steps taken for conservation of lion by the Govt..Radio callering,Tablets to field staff,cctv , dron, e-eye, creation of new Shetrunji wildlife division

@dcfsasangir
Conservation of Gujarat’s pride (Gir Lions) is F.D.’s priority & recently many steps (technology intervention, veterinary care, strengthening of conservation efforts & infrastructure, etc.) has been taken to conserve the Gir Ecosystem

@DCFGirEastDhari
Do u knw tht last year’s CDV outbreak control was exceptional since 95% of lion population in Gorongoro crater was wiped out by similar disease outbreak in 1990s. Pl be balanced & adopt attitude of giving credit rather always criticising.

@DCF_GirWest
It can never be the case! Lion conservation is the only priority. All facets of conservation i.e. habitat improvement & management, health monitoring & protection are being taken care.

@PccfWildlife
Please do balanced reporting. Strengthening of existing present 9 rescue Centers and 3 more rescue centers will be established. Further, to avoid man animal conflict 33 Rapid Response Team and 10 Rescue Team are established

@conserve GIR
“birth n deaths of lions r natural”. If deaths are natural irrespective of causes thn what is stopping you from releasing 29 healthy vaccinated lions?? first of all why thy were vaccinated If death a natural process ? @GujForestDept U undone ur image by cruely confining ths lions..

@kaushik_teraiya
Forest department Promised before 1yr , we will make 24×7 Helpline for Lion conservation. We are still waiting for that number. Pls let us know if u make any helpline.

@Girdalkhaniyal1
@DCF_GirWest u dint even take my challenge whn i said tht the Lion nos r far less in ur division thnnin 2015.. Just hve the guts to cme out in open and accet the shortfalls and acknowledge the inaptness of the management in #Lion deaths.. #shame
https://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/others/officials-transfer-discussed-in-hc/articleshow/70865734.cms

Prerna Singh Bindra gave up a lucrative career as an economist to fight for the wild

Previously: Economist; Currently: Author and conservationist

134 booked for illegal lion shows in 4 years

134 booked for illegal lion shows in 4 years
lion
As many as 40 offences of conducting illegal lion shows in Gir National Park have been registered against 134 individuals in last four years, the state forest department stated in its action taken report (ATR) submitted to the Gujarat High Court. Trial against 44 offenders in 10 cases has already begun in the trial court, the report added.

The report was submitted by Jayan Patel, assistant conservator of forest, Wildlife Circle-Junagadh, in HC during the hearing of a suo motu petition over unnatural deaths in Gir sanctuary area in Saurashtra. The court has appointed advocate Hemang Shah as amicus curiae to look into the issue. During the previous hearing, he had submitted a series of suggestions to prevent unnatural deaths of lions.

As per the forest department's report, the highest number of offences in these four years, 16, was registered in 2017-18. It stated that the lions are being radio-collared and forest department monitors their movement through drone camera and e-eye. However, it also stated that radio collaring is not a feasible option as it does not show the exact movement of lions and there are also issues of battery life.

The report further pointed out at huge vacancy of ground staff-posts of 272 beat guards, 91 foresters and 24 RFOs are vacant. Regarding open wells, the ATR stated that a massive drive was carried out to make farmers aware of the importance of covering their wells. Meanwhile, disbursement of subsidy amount of Rs 16,000 has been expedited. At present, walls have been constructed around 37,201 wells. The work of chain-link fencing at railway tracks is also on.

Lioness dies at rescue centre
Anine-year-old lioness died on Monday at a rescue centre in Jamwala in Gir Somanth district, a senior forest officer said.

The big cat was rescued from Zakhiya in Babariya range of Gir west division on Saturday, said D T Vasavada, chief conservator of
forests (CCF), Junagadh Wildlife Circle.

He said kidney failure is the cause of the death of the lioness. “The big cat was under treatment for weakness, dehydration and kidney-related ailments,” he added.
-PTI

Lion attacks forest guard in Dhari

A forest guard was attacked by a lion on Monday at Ambardi Safari Park near Dhari town in Amreli district, officials said.

The incident occurred when the injured guard, S P Teraiya, and other staff were trying to lead the male lion, named ‘Shiv’, into a cage in the evening, said D T Vasavada, chief conservator of forests (CCF), Junagadh Wildlife Circle. “The attack took place after tourist hours,” he said.

The forest guard was admitted to Amreli Civil Hospital after he was administered primary treatment at Dhari, the CCF said, adding that he was out of danger.

Ambardi Park, which was thrown open for tourists in 2017, is currently the home for six lions. In November last year, a labourer was killed in a lion attack in the Devaliya safari park in Junagadh district.
- PTI
https://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/others/134-booked-for-illegal-lion-shows-in-4-years/articleshow/70849633.cms

Lion attacks Forest Guard in Ambardi Safari Park in Gujarat

Amreli, Aug 26 (UNI) A lion in Ambardi Safari Park, situated seven km from Dhari town in Amreli district of Gujarat as a reserved forest (RF) of Gir Protected Area in Sarasiya range of Gir East forests on the bank of Shetrunji river near Ambardi village, on Monday attacked and injured a Forest Guard.

CCF Junagadh D T Vasavada said the Forest Guard, identified as S P Tariya, was attacked by male lion Shiv, while he was being caged, at around 1800 hrs on Monday evening.
He said the injured guard was given primary treatment as Dhari government hospital and later referred to the Amreli civil hospital for vaccination and further treatment by an ENT specialist.

A lion had in November last year, attacked ंand mauled one temporary forest department employee to death and injured two others in Devaliya interpretation zone-cum-safari area in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat.
http://www.uniindia.com/lion-attacks-forest-guard-in-ambardi-safari-park-in-gujarat/west/news/1709809.html

Is govt ignoring Gujarat’s ‘pride’ for SoU projects?

Is govt ignoring Gujarat’s ‘pride’ for SoU projects?
PHOTO COURTESY RAJAN JOSHI
FIVE LIONS DEAD IN TWO MONTHS

Forest officials, who were involved in tackling Canine Distemper Virus that claimed lives of 30 lions in Gir last year, given charge of setting up jungle safari and animal park at State of Unity by Oct

Gujarat’s pride, the Asiatic lions of Gir, seems to have been sidelined in favour of the jungle safari and animal park projects coming up near the Statue of Unity in Narmada district.

The state government is rushing to finish the projects before its inauguration in October. And for this, it has transferred all senior forest officials, who were instrumental in controlling the spread of the deadly Canine Distemper Virus, to SoU to get the projects ready in time.

Gir is the only natural habitat of world-famous Asiatic lions. A CDV outbreak in Dalkhaniya range made news after it ended up killing at least 30 lions between September and December last year. However, with five lion deaths reported since June 27 this year, experts and environmentalists believe the state government should not have transferred all officials experienced with CDV as they are needed to monitor the situation in Gir to prevent another outbreak.

Projects assigned
Ram Ratan Nala, who was appointed as director of Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh in October last year specially to tackle the CDV outbreak has been given charge of establishing the jungle safari as director of jungle safari at the Sardar Patel Zoological Park – a newly created post.

Shyamal Tikadar, who as additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) was camped in Gir East to deal with CDV cases, has been appointed as principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden of the state. Tikadar is directly involved in setting up the Asiatic animal zoo at Kevadia. So, instead of being headquartered in Gandhinagar monitoring everything related to wildlife in the State, he is now based in Kevadia.

Several range forest officers, who were involved in battling the outbreak, have also been posted at SoU. RFO Ruchi Dave who worked in the Dalkhaniya range has been transferred to SoU. RFO Rajan Jadhav of Babariya range --who had arrested seven men for holding an illegal show by luring Asiatic lions with chicken – has also been transferred to SoU.

All these officials who made their mark in Gir have been given tasks at SoU that need to be finished by October 31as a grand event is being planned to mark the anniversary of the inauguration of the Statue of Unity — the world’s tallest statue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with senior ministers of his Cabinet are likely to visit SoU on October 31to coincide with the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy Prime Minister and the Iron Man of India.

The government has also transferred Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) P Purushothama as DCF Aravalli and Conservator of Forest (Junagadh task force division) Pradeep Singh as Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) in July this year.

All these transfers have left conservationists worried, especially after five lion deaths were reported in less than two months.

A two-year-old lion cub was found dead in Talala on June 27 this year. A 7-year-old lion was found dead in Gir East (Dalkhaniya range). A 12-year-old lion was found dead in Devaliya range while a five-year-old cub was found dead in Tulsishyam range in August. Two 5-month lion cubs died during treatment on August 22.

However, PCCF (Wildlife) Shyamal Tikadar says that the transfers will not affect conservation work. “The outbreak occurred and the officers performed their best to contain it. Once it got over, they were assigned other tasks. In the system, we are faceless. We work on what is assigned to us.”

Shyamal Tikadar explaining the zoological park project to CM Rupani
Shyamal Tikadar explaining the zoological park project to CM Rupani

Two journalists, four others held for tracking lions
Two local journalists and four others were arrested for unauthorised entry into a prohibited area of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Junagadh district and causing discomfort and annoyance to lions there, a forest department official said on Sunday. They were tracking and chasing a pride of lions in Gir (West) division, shining torchlights into their faces and recording videos, in the process severely inconveniencing the big cats, Dheeraj Mittal, DCF Gir (West) division, Junagadh, said. “The incident happened on Friday night. They entered the prohibited area of the forest illegally. The six were arrested under Section 9 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act that prohibits hunting of lions and other wild animals categorised under schedules I, II, III, and IV of the Act,” Mittal added. The official identified the six as journalists Hiren Dhakan and Dharmesh Khachar, and Balakdas Devmurari, Natvar Bhuva, Nitin Raiyani and Daya Pola Dhinoya.

Lions deaths are being reported from the area. If it is occurring due to outbreak of a disease, there will be no experienced senior official who can take immediate action
Manish Vaidya, environmentalist

When lions began falling victim to CDV, nobody knew anything about it initially. The drugs had to be imported from US. No follow-up or research has been carried out since
Rajan Joshi, wildlife enthusiast
https://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/cover-story/is-govt-ignoring-gujarats-pride-for-sou-projects/articleshow/70833859.cms

2 Journalists, 4 Others Held for 'Causing Discomfort' to Lions in Gir Forest

They were tracking and chasing a pride of lions in the Gir (west) division, shining torchlights into their faces and recording videos, in the process severely inconveniencing the big cats, officials said.

PTI
Updated:August 25, 2019, 6:18 PM IST
Junagadh: Two local journalists and four others were arrested for unauthorised entry into a prohibited area of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat's Junagadh district and causing discomfort and annoyance to lions there, a forest department official said on Sunday.
They were tracking and chasing a pride of lions in the Gir (west) division, shining torchlights into their faces and recording videos, in the process severely inconveniencing the big cats, Dheeraj Mittal, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Gir (west) division, Junagadh, said.
"The incident happened on Friday night. They entered the prohibited area of the forest illegally. The six were arrested under Section 9 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act that prohibits hunting of lions and other wild animals categorised under schedules I, II, III, and IV of the Act," Mittal added.
They were produced in a court in Mendarda on Saturday, which granted bail to two accused, he said, adding that four other accused got themselves hospitalised.
The official identified the six as journalists Hiren Dhakan and Dharmesh Khachar, and Balakdas Devmurari, Natvar Bhuva, Nitin Raiyani and Daya Pola Dhinoya.
https://www.news18.com/news/india/2-journalists-4-others-held-for-causing-discomfort-to-lions-in-gir-forest-2283433.html

Nine-year-old lioness dies at rescue centre in Gujarat

Published: Aug 26, 2019, 22:12 IST | mid-day online correspondent

The lioness died due to kidney failure

Nine-year-old lioness dies at rescue centre in Gujarat
The picture is used for representational purpose
Vadodara:
In a sad incident for wildlife lovers, a nine-year-old lioness died on Monday at a rescue centre located in Jamwala in Gir Somanth district of Gujarat. D T Vasavada, chief conservator of forests (CCF), Junagadh Wildlife Circle said that the big cat was rescued from Zakhiya in the Babariya range of the Gir west division on Saturday, said The lioness died due to kidney failure. "The big cat was under treatment for weakness, dehydration and kidney-related ailments," he added.
On December 6, 2018, the Forest Department of Gujarat has found a decayed carcass of another lioness in the Gir, the last abode of the Asiatic lion in the world. Th search for her cubs were on then. Kheemabhai Mensibhai Bhola, a farmer in Ambalash region in Talal, Gir, found the dead lion in his farm on Thursday. In October 2018, 23 lions were found dead in a short span of 11 to 12 days. Some of the endangered lions succumbed to the deadly infection of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV). The present case raised concerns among Forest Department officials.
Edited by mid-day online desk with inputs from PTI
https://www.mid-day.com/articles/nine-year-old-lioness-dies-at-rescue-centre-in-gujarat/21613195

Visitor’s disappointment at ‘lack of animals’ at Edinburgh Zoo


Edinburgh Zoo prides itself on being one of Scotland’s main attractions but recent reviews claim its ’emptiness’ makes it a ‘national disgrace’.
Up to 40 percent of Trip Advisor reviews left in August have been one star, with visitors complaining about the ‘extortionate’ £21.50 entry fee for what turned out to be a ‘long boring walk’.
Reviews described the zoo as having dirty and tired enclosure, dragging the average rating down to 2.5 stars out of five compared with the overall average of four stars.
Wendy Spoon, in her one-star review on Trip Advisor written last week, raged: ‘Worst zoo ever – we saw about six animals.’
EDINBURGH Zoo
The zoo is supposedly one of Scotland’s main attractions (Picture: Deadline news)
Emma B, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, complained in her one-star rant: ‘This zoo is a national disgrace. Worst zoo in the country,’
One review from Alana Kelly, said: ‘For the price of the entry fee, I was expecting a lot and was sorely disappointed. The animals we saw the most of were wasps.
‘Most of the enclosures appeared empty and were overgrown so it was difficult to see what was inside.’
TravellerEdinburgh rated the zoo two stars, saying: ‘The enclosures are very tired and hardly any animals were visible.
‘I don’t expect to see every animal and am all for respecting the animals’ privacy, but these enclosures are dull and the glass is very dirty. The design makes for poor viewing. Quite a few enclosures are empty too.”
A particularly scathing review from Mattjjjj, headined ‘Total waste of money’, reads: ‘Should be prosecuted under the trade description act, it’s not a zoo! Maybe rename as what it is – a long boring walk on a hill.’
EDINBURGH Zoo's koala enclosure
But visitors claim they only saw a total of six animals (Picture: Deadline News)
When a reporter visited the zoo on Thursday, paying £21.50, both the indoor viewing platform for the pandas and the Asiatic lion enclosure were closed for breeding season.
Parts looked tired and worn out and several other attractions, such as the Lemur Walk and Koala Territory, were also shut three hours before the official close of the park.
Sarah Kelly, 27, said she was disappointed with what she had seen on Thursday.
She explained: ‘There’s not a lot really, we saw a couple of penguins, we didn’t see the lions and it’s not much especially for what you pay.’
While Lee Robertson, 44 and who was visiting with his two young sons, echoed her saying: ‘Not much at all to see.’
However, the Kent family, who traveled from Westminster, London, were more positive.
Mum Ruth said: ‘It is missing some of the key animals, it’s a bit light here and there, but we’ve enjoyed it, the scenery and the staff were lovely.
‘The koalas were gorgeous and we saw the nose of the panda. It’s just some of the bits and bobs that are missing.’
EDINBURGH Zoo hill
One customer described the zoo as a ‘long boring walk up a hill’ (Picture: Deadline news)
Donna Rozzier and her sisters Charlie and Clare from Ipswich, Suffolk said they were extremely impressed with the zoo.
The 42-year-old said: ‘We’ve had a fantastic day, we just kept going back and forth because we were determined to see the panda and we did!
‘We’ve been here since 10.30am and been everywhere pretty much, the penguin parade is good and it’s definitely worth the entry.’
And Siobhan Gray who was visiting with her four-year-old autistic son Caban said: ‘It’s quite autism friendly, they’ve been really helpful and given an accessibility map.
‘The animals are great, a few things were closed off, but when it’s in the interests of the animals you don’t feel like you’re missing out.’
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Zoo said: ‘We continue to receive very positive feedback though our exit surveys and remain one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions.’
‘Our animals are provided with varied and enriching environments, including places to hide in and foliage to explore, giving them an important opportunity to express natural behaviours.
‘We advise visitors to make the most of our daily animal talks and feeds and to return to enclosures at different times throughout the day.’
https://metro.co.uk/2019/08/26/visitors-disappointment-at-lack-of-animals-at-edinburgh-zoo-10633157/
Claire Gilbody-DickersonMonday 26 Aug 2019 4:06 pm

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/08/26/visitors-disappointment-at-lack-of-animals-at-edinburgh-zoo-10633157/?ito=cbshare
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