Saturday, August 4, 2007

After leopard cub, lioness run over by vehicle, dies on road.


In less than 24 hours after a leopard cub was killed in a road mishap, one more big cat – this time a juvenile lioness- was knocked down by a vehicle in Gir East Forest Division on fiday. The incident took place on the State Highway no 90 between Chaturi and Khadadhar villages in Khambha taluka.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) V G Rana rushed to the spot and recovered the carcass and shifted it to Khambha for post mortem. Veterinary officer of Khambha carried out the post mortem.

“The lioness was about two years old. An unknown vehicle reportedly ran over it, killing it on the spot. The post mortem report said that the animal died due to injury.” Rana said.

The lioness received multiple fractures on its right hand and on the upper part of the head. All the 19 claws of the lioness were however, found to be intact. “The hunt is on to trace the vehicle,” said the Forest official.

On Thursday, an unknown vehicle had run over a five month old leopard cub.

On July 26, a leopard was caged form the outskirts of Junagadh. And from Januaryto July this year, 17 leopards were caged from revenue area in Gir West Forest Division. In Gir East, officials caught three leopard form revenue areas in May, June and July.

Such incidents ring the alarming bell to the effect that there is an increasing pressure on wildlife in and around Gir, which is the habitat for the last surviving group of Asiatic Lions. Forest officials say incidents of man-animal conflict have been on the rise in the past decade.

“Every year, we carry out about 60 wildlife (lions and leopards) rescue operations in an area falling under Junagadh Wildlife Circle that covers Junagadh, Amreli and Porbander districtrs. Of the 60 operations, about 40 are caged from revenue areas,” says Bharat Pathak, Conservator of Forest (Wildlife).

Pathak says increase in wildlife population increases pressure on both sides – in revenue and forest areas. According to census of May 2006, there are more that 1,100 leopards in Gujarat, 30 per cent of which are in Junagadh district only.

About big cats meeting with mishaps while crossing roads, Pathak said: “We have identified three roads on which wild animals move frequently. We have written to the Roads and Buildings departments to put speed breakers on these roads.”

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir West) B P Pati ways that rescuing animals from revenue areas takes place round the year. “When we receive complaints aobout leopards sheltering in revenue areas, particularly in sugarcane farm or agriculture land , we cage them and shift to suitable places” said Pati.

Population in Junagadh wildlife circle:

Census Year..Lions..Leopards

Leopard population growth in State


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