Saturday, November 1, 2008

King’s family goes astray from pride land

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Parish Joshi
Posted: Oct 28, 2008 at 0439 hrs IST
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Rajkot, October 27 Villagers near Gondal town spot lion, lioness and two cubs

A pride of lions, including two cubs, has come out of their natural habitat in the Gir Forests and reached the outskirts of Gondal town in Rajkot, some 150 kilometres away. A few years ago, one lion had reached the Kotda Sangani village after crossing several grasslands.

The news of the transit of the big cats from the forests to a human habitation has now raised the eyebrows of environmentalists.

Rajkot Deputy Conservator of Forest G.S.Wadi said the villagers of Panchyavadar informed them that some wild animal had killed cow and a calf at two different places near Gondal town. “First we thought it must be a leopard or a hyena, but when our forest team reached the scene, it was confirmed that this was the handiwork of a lion pride. Some villagers also confirmed that they saw a lioness and two cubs near their fields. From the pugmarks, our team has confirmed a lion, a lioness and two cubs."

Conservator of Forest Bharat Pathak said: “After we were informed by the team of the Rajkot DFO, we sent in two teams, one from Junagadh and one from Dhari, to catch the pride. Till Sunday night, our teams were following the lions. We will catch them soon. We are assuming that this pride must have come from the Dhari-north side forest.” “A week earlier, we had received information that this pride was located somewhere near the Bhesan area. Our teams have set two cages near the Gondal town on the Jamkandorna Road. Until now, the animals have not attacked any humans; just made two-three kills in the vicinity of Gondal,” Pathak added.

Incidentally, after news spread that a pride of lions has come into the area, people started gathering enthusiastically in a bid to see the big cats, which is now causing inconvenience to the foresters to sight and catch them.


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