Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thoroughfare through Gir turns fatal for wildlife.

Hiral Dave
Posted: Thursday , Dec 10, 2009 at 0407 hrs Rajkot:

As many as 20 animals killed between Junagadh, Sasan in the last one year

Even as mystery shrouds the death of an Asiatic lion that fell off a bridge in Sasan Gir on Monday night, as many as 20 wild animals have been reported killed in road accidents in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary over the last one year. The state highway and other roads passing through the sanctuary have proved fatal for wildlife.

Forest Department sources said that as many as 20 animals including a leopard, three deer and a fox, have been killed on the highway between Junagadh and Sasan and, six other highways running through the sanctuary. In the last three months, seven deer, three on the Sasan-Talala road and four on the Mendrda-Sasan road have been killed. The number of wild animals killed since 2004-05 was nearly 60, they said.

Though incidents of wild animals getting killed in the sanctuary has been increasing, the fact remains that the Forest Department lacks facilities like ambulance or rescue vans to treat the injured animals. They have to be taken to the headquarters of respective ranges like Gir east and Gir west for treatment.

Ads by Google Admission to BIMM CAT, MAT Scores Accepted. Download Form Now. Know Centerwise last dateBIMMPune.comInvest in NFO Discover new investment style with Fidelity India Value Fund. Invest! VI - X Syllabus Learn CBSE Syllabus From Home Highly Interactive. Free trial

The number of accidents has also gone up due to the increasing presence of tourists and vehicles (both two and four wheelers) on the highway, said Forest Department sources.

“In recent times, Sasan and Gir Wildlife Sanctuary have been attracting more tourists, which has led to an increase in traffic on the state highway as well as internal roads. Tourist vehicles often ply at high speeds. Besides, the number of two and four wheelers is also constantly going up in the rural areas surrounding the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary,” said a senior forest officer on condition of anonymity.

The Jamwada-Kankai, Jamwada-Banej, Junagadh Talala, Haripur-Hirenwel, Jasadhar Timberwa and Dhari-Una roads, in particular, have turned fatal for wildlife.

These single lane kaccha roads run through the heart of the sanctuary. Following the poaching of nine lions in 2006, these roads have been shut down for movement after sunset, and the state highways like Junagadh-Sasan and Sasan-Bhal remain open for 24 hours. Conservator of Forest M M Sharma was unavailable for comments.

Deputy Conservator of Forest, Gir West, Amit Kumar, said: “These accidents are happening only because these roads pass through this area.”

Deputy Forest Officer Gir East, Sandeep Kumar said: “The Forest Department cannot stop vehicles from plying at high speeds. A couple of these are state highways, but there is no mechanism to punish the drivers for driving at high speeds.”

Mystery death of lion: malafide intention not ruled out

RAJKOT: Foresters have not ruled out a malafide interest behind the mysterious death of an Asiatic lion, which fell off a bridge over the Hiren river on the Sasan-Bhal road in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday.

According to the postmortem report, the lion died of head injury, but little is known why it jumped off the bridge. The only plausible reason being that it was startled by a four-wheeler.

But foresters have not ruled out a malafide intention to chase or tease the big cat.

“A malafide interest cannot be ruled out. We have not been able to trace down any vehicle” said Amit Kumar, adding that the postmortem report has revealed that the animal was not hit by any vehicle.

Kumar added: “We believe that an approaching vehicle from the right side of the bridge might have provoked the lion, which was coming from the left side, to jump off the bridge. Pug marks have been found till the middle of the bridge and are missing after that. Only a vehicle could have provoked it to jump.”

The Gir Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 1,412 sq km area and is the only abode of the Asiatic lion. The last census put the lion population at 370.

Meanwhile, a bandh was observed in Sasan town on Wednesday demanding fair investigation into the matter. Former sarpanch Bharat Lakani said the bandh was also supported by the tourist vehicles association and hotel owners’ association.

Sasan residents also organised a prayer meeting at Sinh Sadan at 11 am on Wednesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is very sad that poor animals get killed this way. the raods and state highway should be rerouted outside the sanctuary to save animals and equally provide for further infrastructural development.The lions in Gir are the only remaining animals in india. if they get killed lions will become extinct in Asia. We must wake up before it too late.