Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not M-P, Gir lions are going to China.

Jumana Shah & Roxy Gagdekar / DNA

Gandhinagar: Chief minister Narendra Modi may have refused to part with any of the Gir lions for a sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, but the Asiatic lions are still at risk of ending up in China — dead.

The success of the state government in nabbing the poachers who, in 2007, killed eight lions in Gir has lulled many into believing that Gujarat’s Asiatic lions are now safe. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

The fact of the matter is that the existence of lions everywhere is constantly threatened by poachers. Wildlife experts say that the main reason why lions are prized by poachers is the high demand for lion bones in the international market.

“The purported medicinal value of lion bones fetches high prices for them in the international market,” Samir Sinha, head of TRAFFIC India, told DNA on Monday, at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Gandhinagar. TRAFFIC India, a division of WWF India, does research and analysis and provides support to efforts to curb wildlife trade in India. China is believed to be the main market for lion bones but Sinha categorically said that there are several other countries among the “consumers”.

“Chain investigation of poacher gangs is not taking place,” he said. “We should try to get to the people who control the whole market. But all that we have done is crack the network of gangs operating within the country.” Sinha said that the exact value of the lion’s body parts is not completely clear yet. “But there is certainly a perception that its bones have medicinal value,” he said. “There does not seem to be much demand for the other body parts, except for the knuckles. But we are exploring further. The important thing is that there is value to lions, be it in India or Africa, and they continue to be hunted by poachers.”

Sinha further said that the nature of wildlife crime is always changing. “Earlier, it was perceived to be random but we now know that it is organized. Hence to deal with it, we too need an organised system,” he said. A five-day course in ‘Wildlife Crime Management’ is being held at the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS), Gandhinagar. The training programme for forest officers of the country has been organised by the Tiger Conservation Society of India, Wildlife Institute of India-Dehradun, TRAFFIC-India and the DFS. Many forest conservators from Gujarat are also participating in the programme.

Last lions of India (Part 6).

Last Lions of India (Part 5).

Last Lions of India part 4.

Last Lions of India (Part 3)

Last Lions of India (Part 2 )

Last Lions of India (Part 1) Good one...

Wildlife Tour India: Your Adventure Streak Extended.

India. An eastern exotica, which mesmerizes with her landscapes spelling magic and yet more magic. Her flora and fauna are a discovery in themselves with each new species rearing its head every now and then. The landscapes are a visual delight for the adventure seekers as well as the nature lovers and are widely sought by them as the perfect tourist destinations. The prime reason behind this is a potent combination of tradition and luxury which the accommodations in India provide. Wild life tour India package includes tours specially organized by the reputed travel agents like the Indian tiger tour, Indian Rhino, Indian birds, Indian elephants etc. One is sure to be enthralled by the 80 different wildlife parks dotting the Indian landscape teeming with flora of unimaginable varieties.

India is home to about 1200 species of birds of both migratory and ethnic varieties which constitutes roughly 14% of the world’s bird population. Indian tiger being the most charismatic animal of India is one of the five races of sub-species distributed throughout Asia. Wildlife tour India package is made available by the travel agents across the country for a magnificent viewing of the animal. Mostly, these tours are organized on the back of an elephant and it provides the sheer delight to the visiting tourists. Hospitality is assured at the accommodations meant for travelers of all hues with wildlife tour India package. Through the services at innumerable jungle resorts and lodges the tourists are able to savor the flavors of unique Indian experiences.

India as an exotic location for most of the travelers is a storehouse of attractive fauna. Wildlife tour India package is apt for those wildlife lovers, who are on a chase to discover for themselves something, which is mysterious. For visitors like these, jeep safari is perfect means to watch the rough terrain of the Indian jungles along with its lush green landscape. This type of jeep safari is organized by the travel agents especially in the Corbett National Park for tiger viewing. It is sheer pleasure to hear tiger roaring in the background while other animals are at run and the whole fun and excitement seems to begin just here. The proud Asiatic lion is now confined to the tiny pockets of Gir sanctuary numbering around 150. This is a commendable number considering that a mere 20 lions had survived in the early part of 19th century.

Wildlife tour India package provides the tourists with exciting camps where they are witness to unique scenes. The sights and smells of India come alive with the usual bonhomie between the locals and the visitors. Yet there is a sorry chapter to whole episode as well. Today, humans have encroached spaces meant for wild animals and this has added to the ugliness of the pristine jungles of India. It is really disturbing to see the train tracks running parallel to the elephant’s dwelling places in Kanha National Park. The result has been innumerable tragic accidents of this graceful animal with many calves being rendered orphans. For preserving the wildlife in India, wildlife lovers should come forward to share the concerns of a large section of population. Also, the tribal out there should be given full charge of the forests because they know exactly how a jungle functions. Anybody listening?
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/To-curb-tiger-poaching--a-course-in-wildlife-crime-management-for-foresters/582761/

To curb tiger poaching, a course in wildlife crime management for foresters.

Express News Service
Posted: Monday,
Feb 22, 2010 at 0711 hrs Ahmedabad:

In a bid to strengthen the prosecution against those involved in poaching tigers in India, the Gujarat Forensic Science University (GFSU) will organise a five-day wildlife crime management programme from Monday for forest officers.

GFSU is jointly organising the workshop with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and TRAFFIC-India. This is the first time GFSU is organising a workshop for the conservation of tigers in the country.

WII Dean B V Mathur said: “The current initiative is a part of the capacity-building process. Though WII has a forensic laboratory, it needs to increase its strength as far as analysing samples, parts, products, and skin of the tiger is concerned. This is the reason why our lab expert S P Goyal and other technicians will have sessions with the ground level staff. Wildlife crime is happening, but poachers in these cases are not being nabbed. The forest staff need to be more quick, and surveillance should be proper in collecting samples.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dinaben and the Lions of Gir.

Friday, February 19, 2010
Authors: Meera Sriram and Praba Ram
Photographs: credited to many
Illustration: Preeta Suresh
Publisher : Tulika Publishers
Age : 4+

Dinaben and the Lions of Gir captures how man and animal coexist in the forests of Gir in Gujarat. It fits beautifully into the series of bilingual- photo- animal books from Tulika - the earlier ones having featured tigers, bears and elephants.

The attractive cover page, in bright saffron, has a lion cub with a bewildered-beseeching expression, rather like a baby wanting to be picked up.

Dinaben and her husband represent the Maldhari tribe whose main occupation is the dairy business - milking cattle, making butter and ghee and selling it to make a living. They do this the "primitive" way- churning it by hand and so on.

A lot of children today are unfamiliar with this, having hardly ever seen ghee or butter being made at home. If you quiz them on who gives milk, they will probably reply the milk carton. The photos and text will offer them a glimpse into the age old methods of dairy farming.

As for the lions, I did not even know there were only 350 Asiatic Lions left. Is it not really alarming? Just imagine, our grand children may not get to see what Simba looks like in person.

The book subtly brings out that both the animal and the tribe with their already marginalized lifestyle are under threat. It is important for us to respect nature. Otherwise neither the centurires old Maldhari tribe nor the lions will survive.

Corporate sponsorship of such causes has become a necessity and HSBC has taken up this one -as reflected in a letter from their communication person, which forms a part of the book.

The photos are evocative and rich- Dinaben, the lions and the forest ' come alive'. The sketches of an expressive lion cub generally having fun are truly cute. Paw marks are also used to good effect.

Like the rest of the Tulika series, a map sets the geographical context - it helped my four year old understand where Gir is.

While there is so much publicity about protecting another endangered cat - the tiger- we hardly hear about lions in media. The set of facts about the Asiatic Lions at the end of the story provoked our curiosity and together with the story it will surely sensitize readers, even young ones, towards nature in general and in specific to the majestic King of the Jungle.
Source: http://www.saffrontree.org/2010/02/dinaben-and-lions-of-gir.html

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gang of 10 poachers behind leopard's death.

Feb 17, 2010, 10.22pm IST

BHAVNAGAR: A gang of 10 poachers was responsible for the death of a leopard whose carcass was found ensnared in Nana Khokhara village of Ghogha taluka on February 6, forest department officials said on Wednesday.

Acting swiftly after the leopard's carcass was found, the forest department nabbed four poachers Vana Devipujak, Jagu Devipujak, Bala Devipujak and Samat Devipujak -- from Nana Khokhara and obtained their remand after producing them before a court in Bhavnagar. During their interrogation, the accused revealed the name of six other co-accused, who had set up the snare to kill the beast.

"The accused said they had laid the trap with the aim of ensnaring an animal of the size of a dear or hyena, but when the leopard was trapped and killed, six members of their gang got panicked and fled from the village," said a senior forest officer, who declined to disclose the name of the absconding accused citing secrecy of investigation.

Meanwhile, the forest department has launched the manhunt

Source: Sandesh
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Gang-of-10-poachers-behind-leopards-death/articleshow/5585222.cms

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gujarat rejects Ramesh's tiger offer.

Gyan Varma / DNA
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 0:38 IST

New Delhi: “You give me lions and I will give you tigers.” This is what environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh wrote to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in a recent letter.

Ramesh was desperately trying to convince the Modi government to part with Asiatic lions from the Gir reserve so that his ministry could relocate the animals to a protected area in Madhya Pradesh (MP).

But this proposal has failed to cut ice with the Modi government. State government officials claimed the proposal was made by Ramesh some time back and a “quid pro quo” is not possible.
“We do not have that kind of area to accommodate tigers. Entire villages have to be rehabilitated in Dangs. The reason we are not parting with the lions is because they will not be safe in MP. The MP reserve is meant for tigers. A deal cannot be struck by getting tigers in,” a senior official of Gujarat’s forest and environment department said.

Ramesh had tried to convince Modi before, but met with disappointment every time. Ramesh has promised a tiger reserve at Dangs, where tigers were found till 25 years ago. The lions were supposed to be relocated from the Gir sanctuary in Gujarat to the Kuno tiger reserve in MP.

The Supreme Court had, on February 12, asked Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments to sort out their differences on the issue within four weeks. Gujarat has told the SC that it was being pressured to shift the lions as the Centre feared they would get infected with canine distemper virus (CDV) if they stayed at Gir. The last census of 2005 pegged the lion population of Gir at 359. The next census is scheduled in April this year.
Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_gujarat-rejects-ramesh-s-tiger-offer_1348845

Pride of Gujarat.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Anuradha Dutt

The Asiatic lion is safe and sound in Gir

Gujarat’s Gir forest today is the sole and last bastion of the Asiatic lion, with the carnivores numbers till April, 2005, based on sightings being 359. Unlike tiger conservation, the attempt to protect lions and increase their numbers is considered a success story as poaching is relatively scarce in the sanctuary. The last reported case was in April 2007, when eight lions were killed in three incidents. By contrast, in 2009, reveal sources, about 120 tiger deaths were recorded in India. Of these, at least one fourth were perpetrated by poachers. So far as poaching of lions is concerned, it is reported to have occurred in response to the great demand for derivatives such as medicines and charms from tiger bones in countries such as China. Lion bones, apparently, are passed off as tiger bones by traders in animal parts.

In the wake of the poaching episode, the Gujarat Government set up a task force to review security arrangements. This body recommended the use of high-tech gadgets such as GPS, automated sensor grid and night vision devices. The GPS-based system would facilitate surveillance, animal tracking and tracking of vehicles entering the sanctuary; and the sensors would help in classifying and locating intrusions. Night vision devices would assist mobile patrolling squads spot poachers by enhancing surveillance capability in the dark.

Gujarat’s success at conservation is especially notable because the Gir forest is the sole habitat of the king in India and the world. Its rival has 41 sanctuaries, big and small, reserved for it, under Project Tiger, which commenced in 1973 as a centrally sponsored scheme. The project was upgraded into a statutory body, National Tiger Conservation Authority, on September 4, 2006, for a period of three years. The 11th Five Year Plan allots Rs 600 crore for tiger conservation. This apart, international conservation agencies have since long been focussing on tigers and handsomely funding conservation efforts here and elsewhere. But despite the frenetic global involvement with tiger conservation, the number of the big cats, as per Minister of State for Forests and Environment Jairam Ramesh, has declined to about 1,000 from 1,411 in the last census, conducted four-five years ago.

The Gujarat Government, therefore, deserves to be commended for managing to safeguard lions and increase their population. In the early part of the last century, there were 15 or so lions. Trophy hunters, including colonial administrators and their native minions, had almost finished them off. The Nawab of Junagadh intervened and declared the forest and its environs to be protected. However, the Sasan-Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary formally came into being in 1965. The success of the Narendra Modi-headed Government’s conservation efforts can be gauged from the fact that lion numbers rose from 337 in the 2001 census to 359 in April 2005. Noted conservationist HS Panwar, former Director, Project Tiger, credits this achievement to the fact that the State Government of Gujarat is seized of the matter right from the Chief Minister to field formations of forest and police department. As for tiger conservation, he says, that if all concerned States address tiger conservation with the same seriousness, surely tiger future will be far better assured.

In September 2008, Mr Modi expressed the wish that the Centre set up a Project Lion, on the lines of Project Tiger. Senior officials of the State Forest Department were ordered by him to draft such a plan, which would be submitted to the Centre. He also demanded Central funds for the Gir sanctuary and development of its environs. Instead, a plan has been formulated by the Centre and the Madhya Pradesh Government to relocate many of the Gir lions to the 344-km Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. Some of the reasons cited are over-crowding in Gir, and the threat of an epidemic, rendered more fearful by the supposed genetic weakness of Asiatic lions.

But the Gujarat Government has resolved to resist this move on the grounds that the conditions in Kunmo-Palpur sanctuary are not suitable for lions; and that territorial clashes between tigers and lions are bound to occur in the event of some of the Gir big cats being shifted to Madhya Pradesh. Litigation on the issue is currently underway, with the matter being heard by the Supreme Court, which wants the concerned parties Gujarat Government on one side, and the Centre and Madhya Pradesh Government on the other to resolve the issue amicably. On its part, the former is determined not to part with its lions.
Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/236579/Pride-of-Gujarat.html

Handbook on wildlife law enforcement in India launched.


New Delhi, Feb 16 (PTI) In a bid to strengthen enforcement of wildlife laws, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today launched a Handbook on Wildlife Law Enforcement in India.

The book has been produced with support from WWF-India and is authored by Samir Sinha, Head-TRAFFIC India, a wildlife trade monitoring network.

The handbook is a comprehensive and detailed publication on wildlife trade and crime, conceived from several discussions with senior enforcement officials and experts.

It can be used as an important resource material during trainings conducted on wildlife enforcement and other related issues.

"The handbook is a comprehensive document that highlights emerging threats from illegal wildlife trade and offers valuable information on identifying and responding to such threats," Ramesh said.
Source: http://www.ptinews.com/news/520626_Handbook-on-wildlife-law-enforcement-in-India-launched

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Centre offers to swap Gir lions for tigers.


New Delhi, Feb 16 (PTI) Facing stiff opposition from Gujarat, the Centre has made an offer to re-introduce tigers in the Dangs region of the state in exchange for Asiatic lions which it plans to relocate in Madhya Pradesh.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said he had made an offer to re-introduce tigers in the Dangs region of Gujarat where the big cats ruled the jungles about 25 years back.

"I have suggested to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will work to re-introduce tigers in Dangs as an incentive for the state to part with its lions," he said at a function to release a 'Handbook on Wildlife Law Enforcement in India'.

Gujarat has been opposing the Centre's decade-old proposal to relocate Asiatic lions from the Gir reserve to a 300 sq km forest at Kunopalpur in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh.
Source: http://www.ptinews.com/news/520219_Centre-offers-to-swap-Gir-lions-for-tigers

Flag this message Afrika : Kenya : Masai Mara National Reserve : LArgets Park

Masai Mara


Masai Mara National Reserve

IUCN Category II (National Park)

Location of Masai Mara National Reserve
LocationKenya, Rift Valley Province
Nearest cityNyeriNearest city: Nyeri
Coordinates1°29′24″S 35°8′38″E / 1.49°S 35.14389°E / -1.49; 35.14389Coordinates: 1°29′24″S 35°8′38″E / 1.49°S 35.14389°E / -1.49; 35.14389
Area1,510 km²
Established1974 Established: 1974
Governing bodyTrans-Mara and Narok County Councils

The Masai Mara (also spelled Maasai Mara) is a large park reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park game reserve in Tanzania. Named for the Maasai people (the traditional inhabitants of the area) and the Mara River, which divides it, it is famous for its exceptional population of game and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson's gazelle and the wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October, a migration so immense it is called the Great Migration.



The Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) covers some 1530km² in south-western Kenya. It is the northern-most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, covering some 25,000 km². It is bounded by the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west. Rainfall in the ecosystem increases markedly along a south-east-north-west gradient, varies in space and time, and is markedly bimodal. The Sand, Talek and Mara are the major rivers draining the reserve. Shrubs and trees fringe most drainage lines and cover hillslopes and hilltops.

The terrain of the reserve is primarily open grassland, with seasonal riverlets. In the south-east region are clumps of the distinctive acacia tree. The western border is the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment of the Rift Valley, and wildlife tends to be most concentrated here, as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good and tourist disruption is minimal. The easternmost border is 224 km from Nairobi, and hence it is the eastern regions which are most visited by tourists.

Masai Mara wildlife

Wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve.

All members of the "Big Five" are found in the Masai Mara, although the population of black rhinoceros is severely threatened, with a population of only 37 recorded in 2000. Hippopotami are found in large groups in the Masai Mara and Talek rivers. Cheetah are also found, although their numbers are also threatened, chiefly due to tourist disruption of their daytime hunting. As mentioned above, the plains between the Mara river and the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah.

As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Masai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year these ungainly animals migrate in a vast ensemble north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving an immensity of herbivores some 1,300,000 wildebeests, 360,000 Thomson's gazelles, and 191,000 zebras. These numerous migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by a block of hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena.

Numerous other antelopes can be found, including Thomson's and Grant's gazelles, impalas, topis and Coke's hartebeests. Large herds of zebra are found through the reserve. The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe as well as the common giraffe. The large Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders. The Masai Mara is a major research centre for the spotted hyena. Additionally, over 450 species of birdlife have been identified in the park, including vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, and African pygmy-falcons.


The Masai Mara Reserve area is administered by Narok County Council and the Mara Conservancy (under contract by the Trans-Mara county council), a local nonprofit organization formed by the local Maasai, and contains a number of anti-poaching units. The Masai Mara Conservation area is administered by the Group Ranch Trusts of the Maasai community who also have their own rangers for patrolling the park area. The wildlife roam freely across both the Reserve and Conservation areas which are a continuous wildlife ecosystem.


Game parks are a major source of hard currency for Kenya, and entry fees (as of April 2006) for adult non-Kenyans is US$40 ($10 for children). There are a number of lodges and tented camps for tourists inside the Reserve and the Conservation area borders. The tourists/visitors cater for their own expenses unless previously arranged by their agencies.

Lodges and camps inside the Reserve include Mara Serena, Governor's camp, Keekorok, and Sarova Mara. In the Conservation area are Royal Mara Safari Lodge, Siana Springs tented camp, Mara Sopa, Elephant Pepper, Mara Simba, and Sekenani camp.

Mara Serena Airport, Musiara Airport and Keekorok Airport are located in the Reserve area of the Masai Mara. Mara Shikar Airport, Kichwa Tembo Airport and Ngerende Airport are located in the Conservation area of the Masai Mara.

Media coverage

The BBC Television show Big Cat Diary is filmed in both the Reserve and Conservation areas of the Masai Mara and highlights scenes from the Reserve's Musiara marsh area and the Leopard Gorge and Fig Tree Ridge areas of the Conservation area.

The Mara has a destination website dedicated to providing detailed information on fauna and flora, maps, Maasai culture and history, the wildebeest migration, latest news and events, park entry fees, and accommodations. This is an unbiased independent travel resource that has been set up to promote the Maasai Mara as a destination.

Maasai Mara in jeopardy

Maasai Mara National Reserve is losing animal species at a rate that is having scientists concerned, a new study now shows.

Published in the May issue of the British Journal of Zoology, (Ilri Scientific Paper_Dynamics of Mara-Serengeti Ungulates in Relation to Land Use Changes) findings blame the increased human settlement in and around the reserve to this dramatic loss of animal species.

"The study provides the most detailed evidence to date on the declines in the ungulate (hoofed animals) populations in The Mara and how this phenomenon is linked to the rapid expansion of human populations near the boundaries of the reserve," said an article that ran on the website of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

ILRI conducted this study between 1989 and 2003. The study, which was funded by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), monitored hoofed species in the Maasai Mara on a monthly basis for 15 years.

According to this study, six species including giraffes, impala, warthogs, topis and water-bucks have declined significantly at an alarming rate in the reserve.

The study says that losses were as high as 95 percent for giraffes, 80 percent for warthogs, 76 percent for hartebeest and 67 percent for impala.

According to the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) the number of buildings coming up in the reserve will outnumber animal populations in the reserve in 20 year's time.


Masai Mara gallery

Wildebeest and zebra migration


Lioness in masai mara



Female Lion with kill

High-tech gadgets to be used for tracking lions at Gir.


Parag Dave

Ahmedabad, Feb 15 (PTI) Gujarat government is procuring high-tech gadgets like GPS, automated sensor grid and night vision devices to track lions and keep poachers at bay at the Gir National Park.

Poaching of eight lions in April 2007 in the Gir had sent shock waves across the state following which the state government formed a task force to suggest ways to protect the Asiatic lions in their last abode, whose number as per the last survey was 359.

"Based on the recommendations of the task force, we are in the process of introducing these high-tech gadgets in the Gir forest for lion conservation," Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Pradeep Khanna told PTI.

"We have identified technology partners for development of communication systems based on GPS," Khanna said.

The task force, which was also headed by Khanna, had proposed integrated solution to incorporate modern technology for enhancing conservation efficiency, he said.
Source: http://www.ptinews.com/news/517808_High-tech-gadgets-to-be-used-for-tracking-lions-at-Gir

Forest dept to employ GIS for Asiatic lion census.

Posted: Sunday , Feb 14, 2010 at 0224 hrs

In a first, the state Forest Department will be using Geographical Information System (GIS) for census of Asiatic lions in the Gir Forest National Park from April 25 to 30. Unlike in earlier methods, the department will not be using baits for the census this time.

Nearly 450 beat guards have been identified as enumerators for the upcoming census.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Pradeep Khanna said, “We are opting for GIS mapping to prevent redundancy and bring in more accuracy in counting.”

According to Khanna, in the last census, a total of approximately 360 lions were reported at the Gir sanctuary.

“We will not use baits this year. We have not used the system for two consecutive terms. We have trained our staff to follow simply the sighting system,” he said.

The preliminary survey for probable locations of sighting lions has already begun at the sanctuary.
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Forest-dept-to-employ-GIS-for-Asiatic-lion-census/579451

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Move to relocate lions from Gir reserve splits BJP

Dhananjay Mahapatra , TNN, 12 February 2010, 03:00am IST

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government will not make any compromise when it comes to Asiatic lions found only in Gujarat's Gir reserve forest.
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Not even when it a friendly and BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government's fervent request for relocating one or two prides of lions to Sheopur district.

Before the Supreme Court, the Modi government through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi on Thursday raised as many as six objections to the Centre's almost decade-old proposal to relocate some lions from Gir to a 300 sq km forest at Kunopalpur in Sheopur district of MP.

Though the Modi government virtually signalled burial of the plan, the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government would not mind giving a final try as its counsel senior advocate Soli J Sorabjee said both sides would sit down and try for a solution.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices B S Chauhan and C K Prasad gave four weeks time to report back about the outcome of the last ditch attempt to make the relocation project workable and even suggested taking out an insurance package for the lions.

The Centre's plan, devised to save lions from a potential future disaster that could wipe them off as all of them are concentrated in the Gir forest, involved relocating two prides of lions numbering between 12 and 16 to Madhya Pradesh.

Amicus curiae Raj Panjwani informed the Bench that residents of as many as 24 villages falling within the identified area have been relocated in 2003, but the plan mooted by the Wildlife Insitute of India and approved by the National Board for Wildlife was still hanging fire.

Rohtagi said the state's opposition to the plan was based not on political but on solid environmental grounds. He said even the wildlife experts feel that lions could not be relocated to experimental surroundings already habited by tigers.

He said the number of Asiatic lions was increasing in Gujarat because of comprehensive action against poachers and the friendly villagers in and around Gir who do not wreck vengeance even if a lion occassionally mauled a bovine animal. In contrast, the tiger population in the jungles of MP were dwindling fast because of poaching and shrinking habitat, he added.

Rohatgi also objected to the relocation project being continued for 20 years. "It is not a question of taking away one or two lions. What they want is a continuance of the exchange programme for 20 years, which is not feasible," Rohatgi said.

The study for the relocation of some of the Asiatic lions to MP took into account the disaster some years back in Seringeti forest in Africa where a disease -- canine distemper -- wiped out 80% of the lion population within a short span.

Rohatgi said this apprehension has been taken care of as the state has already started building a second home for the Asiatic lions at a safe reserve forest in Girnar area.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Move-to-relocate-lions-from-Gir-reserve-splits-BJP/articleshow/5561787.cms

State opposes shifting of Gir lions to MP tiger reserve.

Press Trust of India Tags : animals, tigers, Gir lions Posted: Friday , Feb 12, 2010 at 0140 hrs New Delhi:

Amid the growing concern over the depleting tiger population in the country, Gujarat today opposed in the Supreme Court, the Centre’s proposal to shift the Asiatic lions from the Gir forest to the Kuno tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

The Gujarat government warned that relocating lions from Gir was fraught with “irreparable damage to the sociology of lions” and asserted that MP cannot manage the relocation as it had failed to protect its own tiger sanctuary.

“MP’s tigers are dying. It will be highly improper to shift the lions to Kuno reserve,” Mukul Rohtagi, the counsel for Gujarat told a bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and justices B S Chauhan and Chandramouli Prasad.

The Modi government argued that the people of the state take pride in the lion sanctuary. Any attempt to translocate them to Kuno “against the will of the people of Gujarat will cause irreparable damage to their conservation and cultural ethos.”
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/State-opposes-shifting-of-Gir-lions-to-MP-tiger-reserve/578860

Leopards rule in the last abode of Asiatic lions.

Hiral Dave Tags : animals, Leopards Posted: Friday , Feb 12, 2010 at 0139 hrs Rajkot:

It is known as the last abode of Asiatic Lions. But the most common big cat that can be seen in the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Junagadh and its periphery is leopard.

Shrinking habitat coupled with increasing population of leopard has led to increase in human-animal conflict of late in the area. The most recent incident occurred this Wednesday when two women were killed by a big cat in the coastal area of Veraval.

In another incident reported the same day, a 15-year-old boy was injured by a leopard at Godhara village in Porbandar district. In the recent past, forest officials have been pressed into service on a quite a few occasions either to aid an injured one or trap those that had come close to human habitat.

According to officials at the Sakkarbaug Zoo, on an average, two leopards are brought to the zoo every week after being caught in revenue areas, often injured and sometimes following conflict with humans. Although the zoo is promoted as the breeding centre of Asiatic lions, the number of leopard here stands at 40 against 20 lions.
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Leopards-rule-in-the-last-abode-of-Asiatic-lions/578858

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Leopard kills two women in Junagadh.

Rajkot, Feb 10 (PTI) Two women were killed by a leopard in separate attacks in Junagadh district, Forest Department officials said here today.

Banu Pandvi (39), a tribal, was working in a farm near Ishwariya village when she was attacked by a leopard last evening, said Forest Officer K R Vaghashiya.

The second victim, Sushila (42), was attacked by the big cat early this morning, he said.

A special team from Sasan Gir Forest range has been summoned to catch the leopard, he added.
Source: http://www.ptinews.com/news/511659_Leopard-kills-two-women-in-Junagadh

Leopard captured in Amreli village , released into forests.

Press Trust of India
Tags : leopard captured, ahmedabad
Posted: Tuesday , Feb 09, 2010 at 2237 hrs

A leopard which strayed into a residential area of Khamba taluka village in Amreli district was captured and later released into the forest area, said Forest department officials on Monday.

The incident took place on Sunday in Bhadvankin village located on the outskirts of Gir Forest region, they said.

The big cat, which ventured out of the forest area apparently in search of food, was spotted by villagers.

Following this, a trap was laid to catch the leopard, they said. The animal was caught, made unconscious using a tranquiliser and later released into the forests, they added.
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Leopard-captured-in-Amreli-village---released-into-forests/577203/

Few foresters in Gir know wildlife nitty-gritty: study.

Shubhalakshmi Shukla
Tags : forest, Gir National Park
Posted: Sunday , Jan 17, 2010 at 0153 hrs

Lion census is set to begin shortly at the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, and the state Forest Department may also take up GIS mapping this time. But in an irony of sorts, a recent training conducted by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has shown that only 16 per cent of the total staff manning the sanctuary actually knows the exact application of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. About 490 Gir staff had attended the first-ever WTI training in Gujarat.

Rakesh Singh, WTI Coordinator, told The Sunday Express: “The training was conducted from December 9 to 25 and had two segments. In some cases, it was disappointing to know that the forest officials were not even aware of the application of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Under this Act, every forest officer is empowered to arrest a person, detain vehicles and even seize property if he comes across any wildlife crime. However, not many forest guards and range forest officers were aware about this.”
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Few-foresters-in-Gir-know-wildlife-nitty-gritty--study/568181

Five black bucks die in Rajkot zoo.

PTIMonday, February 1, 2010 19:02 IST Email

Ahmedabad: Five black bucks, two male and three female, have died at Rajkot zoo due to internal injury and brain haemorrhage, zoo officials said today.

"Yesterday night two stray dogs from the nearby locality entered the black buck enclosure which frightened the sensitive animal," Zoo Superintendent MG Maradia told PTI. The incident came to light today morning when the zoo officials found bodies of the animals.

"The black bucks started running inside the enclosure and in the process banged into each other and the walls of the enclosure which caused internal injuries and brain haemorrhage that led to their death," he said.

"In one or two animals we have observed dog bite marks on the neck and hip portions," he added.

Maradia said that the incident which continued for over two hours yesterday night also indicates a lapse in the security installed at the zoo, which is spread over 130-acre land.

"We have security personnel on guard for 24 hours for each enclosure. How this incident happened and nobody came to know about it raises many questions about security," he added.

Meanwhile the Rajkot Municipal Corporation authorities have ordered an inquiry into the matter. According to the State Forest Department there are over 20,000 black bucks in Gujarat.
Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_five-black-bucks-die-in-rajkot-zoo_1342053

Lion falls into trap meant for man-eater leopard in Gujarat village

Saturday, February 6, 2010,13:55 [IST]

Junagadh (Gujarat), Feb.6 (ANI): A lion was trapped in a cage, which was intended to catch a suspected man-eater leopard in a village of Gujarat's Junagadh District on Friday.

Buzz up!The trap was put in place by Forest Rangers to catch a leopard.

Villagers had complained that lions and leopards often stray into the villages and eat their cattle. Following their complaints, forest authorities had placed a cage to trap the suspected man-eater leopard.

The incident caused curiosity and panic among residents of Sukhpur village when they learnt about the lion in the trap.

However, the authorities have stated that erroneously trapped lion will soon be set free in jungle.

"Following a request from villagers, we had placed a cage to capture a leopard. Tonight a lion that is about four years of age, a male lion, has been trapped in that cage. Now we, as per the instructions of forest authorities, will treat the animal and would put it back in the forest area." said D. Sobhasaniya, Range Forest Officer (RFO), Junagadh.

The depletion of their habitat has threatened the leopards, forcing them to stray into human settlements; attacking people and cattle and often getting killed in return.

India had about 7,300 leopards in the wild, according to a 1997 census, but conservationists say the number is now likely to be much lower.

Development pressures and encroachment into forest areas have also brought humans and the wild cats into conflict, and there have been reports of villagers brutally killing the animals. By uresh Soni (ANI)
Source: http://news.oneindia.in/2010/02/06/lionfalls-into-trap-meant-for-man-eater-leopard-inguj.html

Census over, fingers crossed over exact number.

TNN, 7 February 2010, 06:57am IST

NAGPUR: The first phase of the six-day exercise undertaken by the forest department to monitor tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitat concluded in protected and non-protected tiger-bearing areas of the state on February 3. The exercise was conducted with revised and refined line transect methodology. The figures are likely to be declared after six months.

In Maharashtra, the exercise was conducted in over 6,000 beats in protected (PAs) as well as non-protected areas (NPAs), including tiger-bearing patches of Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) in Chandrapur and Gondia districts. Over 200 volunteers actively participated in the exercise in Melghat, Pench and Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserves and PAs like Bor, Nagzira and Navegaon. Barring Nagzira and Navegaon, where the exercise was conducted from January 27 to February 1, in other areas it was held between January 29 and February 3.

In the first phase (Jan 29-31), field staff obtained data on the presence and intensity of use of a beat by tigers and other carnivores like leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears and jackals. Each search covered around 12-15 km distance, having the best potential for tiger presence. For each transect, beginning and end point co-ordinates (latitude & longitude) was recorded by a global positioning system (GPS).

Since tigers and leopards have a tendency of using dirt roads, trails, footpaths, river beds and nullahs, these landscapes in the beat were searched intensively. The search for tiger and leopard signs included pugmark trails, scat, scrape and scent marks, rake marks on tree trunks, roaring and actual sighting.

In the second phase (Feb 1-3), sampling for ungulate (relating for animals with hooves) encounter rates was done by the field staff and volunteers while walking along fixed line transects of 2 km in a beat. Here, data on vegetation, terrain, forest type, direct sightings of animals, habitat category and human disturbance too was recorded.

The volunteers also helped the field staff sample vegetation along the transects. Signs of wood-cutting, presence of humans, trails, livestock herbs, grasses, litter and bare ground was also recorded. Sampling for faecal pellets of animals with hooves was also done to know their abundance.

Although there were many who applied for the exercise, only a few turned up. At many places, only 50% of those registered actually participated. In TATR, conservator & field director SP Thakre said that 107 volunteers had applied but only 58 participated.

"Our staff was ready for the entire exercise sans volunteers too. The TATR is teeming with evidence of tigers and there was great enthusiasm among wildlife buffs. We traced evidence in almost every beat. There were even direct sightings in Kolsa and Tadoba ranges," Thakre told TOI.

In Tadoba, field staff found evidence of tiger scat having eaten a leopard. "Six nails suspected to be of a leopard have been found in the scat, which was one-month-old, near Pandharpaoni. The samples will have to be analysed," he said.

In Nagzira (152 sq km) there was good response from volunteers. MM Kulkarni, deputy conservator of forests (DyCF) for Gondia Wildlife Division, informed of the 24 who registered, 20 took part. Evidence was traced in almost all the beats. There was direct sighting of a bear.

CS Reddy, RFO of Bor Sanctuary, said tiger evidence was found in 8 beats. "We also found evidence of panther," he said.

In Pench too, there was evidence of fair number of tigers in various beats.
GK Vashisht, ACF for Pench Tiger Reserve, informed that all forested beats in tiger landscapes (tiger reserves, PAs, reserve and protected forests, revenue forests) will be sampled once in four years. However, all source populations of tigers in reserves and PAs will be sampled with this protocol twice in a year in summer and winter. The data will be compiled at the circle level before being sent to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

In Kolsa, volunteers like Dinesh Visavadia and Nishant Adhiya and others who came from Junagadh in Gujarat enjoyed the exercise. "We travelled 1200 kms to know about tigers," remarked Visavadia.

The new system was introduced by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, on the recommendations of Tiger Task Force (TTF) set up after the Sariska debacle. The earlier method of taking pug-marks, introduced in the 70s, was directly related to the number of particular animals. It was withdrawn after 2007.

As per the official estimation of tigers and panthers in 2007, there are 148 tigers and 292 panthers in the 42 protected areas (PAs) in the state. However, as per the last circle-wise estimation, which is conducted once in four years and was last held in 2005, the state has a record of 268 tigers and 717 leopards. Amid poaching pressures, it's too early to guess what will be the population of carnivores this time.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Census-over-fingers-crossed-over-exact-number/articleshow/5544063.cms

Centre to train forest officials to stop poaching of big cats.

Neha Attre
Tags : railways, trains
Posted: Monday , Feb 08, 2010 at 0503 hrs

The officials of Uttar Pradesh Forest Department of the Project Tiger areas will be trained by the Central government about the latest techniques in science and technology to tackle poaching of big cats.

The week-long training programme, to be held by the end of this month, is being organised by National Tiger Conservation Authority in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Gujarat Forensic Science University, and Traffic-India, wildlife NGO.

Samir Sinha, Head of Traffic-India, said: “This type of training is being held for the first time. The course has specially been designed to update the forest officials on the latest advances in science and technology that can be used to tackle wildlife crime.”

“It will be an extensive training about the role of modern science in investigation of wildlife crime. Currently, the training will focus on big cats. Later, it will be extended to deal with crime on other species,” added Sinha.

Picnic paradise: Pavagadh.

With his exquisite monuments and adventure sports, this tiny hill station in Gujarat is an ideal holiday destination
By Eisha Sarkar
Posted On Monday, February 08, 2010 at 08:06:55 PM

A red ribbon flutters in the wind. It's past noon. We try to ignore our baked backs as we take in the breathtaking view of the valley below the 2,700 ft Pavagadh hill. "Now!" We turn our heads to see a man running backwards with a giant bow-shaped parachute attached to his backwards. "Not there, not there. There are too many trees," shouts the instructor. The man moves a little to his right, gathers speed and flings himself off the cliff as we marvel at the chute. The paragliding adventure finally kicks off at Gujarat's most popular picnic spot, Pavagadh

We watch as the paraglider hovers at the base of the cloud. The proud instructor, Mumbai-based Sanjay Pendurkar of Indus Paragliding, tells us, "You need to look for a thermal (hot air current that rises up in a spiral m
Fort of Champaneranner) as soon as you jump off the cliff. Once you find it, you can stay in there for as long as you want to. The day before, a man was up there for five hours!"

As people wait for tandem paragliding (the term used for the joyride-like experience where a trained paraglider will take you along to give you the feel of the sport), we look at the landscape sprinkled with exquisitely-carved monuments that make up the only UNESCO-World Heritage Site in Gujarat.

On our way to Pavagadh we had passed the Jama Masjid, the Fort of Champaner and Uohra Mosque that had been built by Gujarat's Muslim emperor Mehmud Begada in 15th century AD. We had also gawked at the Saat Kaman - the seven arches made of blocks of stone that were built without using any kind of binding matter. In the queue for the ropeway, we had jostled for space for over an hour with hundreds of pilgrims on their way to the ancient Mahakali Temple at the top of the hill. From the cable-car we'd spotted the Vad Talav (Banyan Pond) and remains of the Palace of Begada. Making our way through rough paths cut through the thickly forested hill slopes, we'd come across witch-doctors and tantriks clad in black selling talismans even as carefree children got themselves photographed with life-
Cable cars sized stuffed-toy tigers (the vehicle of Goddess Ambaji). For all the developments the government has initiated in the nearby industrial areas such as Halol, Pavagadh is still steeped in Gujarat's magnificent past.

"Yeh paper ka hai?" We snap out of history and see a girl pointing to the wing. "No, it's cloth," she is told by her friend. For adventure sports buffs, Gujarat offers little. People are willing to pay as much as Rs 14,500 for a five-day paragliding course at Kamshet in Maharashtra. "We're trying to bring in more activities here and develop Pavagadh as an adventure sports hub with rapelling, rock-climbing, trekking and of course, paragliding," says Captain Rajeev, an ex-armyman and one of the organisers of the Pavagadh Paragliding Festival. "That way, Pavagadh could be of interest to adrenaline junkies, history buffs and religious devotees." Indeed!

Travel tips
1. Avoid Sundays as the place is very crowded with pilgrims
2. Accommodation options include Hotel Champaner and Caravan Serai (which is another 15 km from Champaner). Ideally stay in Vadodara and take a taxi to Pavagadh and Champaner as the archaeological sites are scattered all over
3. Wear comfortable walking shoes, as the slope is steep. It's best to take the cable-car up and the stairs down the hill so that you can get the feel of the place and still save time
4. Drinking water is scarce, especially if go monument-hopping into the forest so please make your own provisions

Getting there
The closest city is Vadodara 47 kilometres away. Vadodara is well connected to Mumbai by road, rail and air.
(Pix: Eisha Sarkar)
Source: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/128/2010020820100208200655674899df431/Picnic-paradise-Pavagadh.html

Gujarat to conduct lion census at Gir in April .

18 Jan 2010, 1702 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: The forest department of Gujarat is gearing up to conduct census of lions at the Gir Sanctuary in April this year.

"We will conduct the census at the Asiatic Lions Sanctuary at Gir in April," said Pradip Khanna, principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) of Gujarat.

Khanna said that lion census is conducted every five years and the previous one was conducted at Gir in 2005.

In the last census, a total of 359 lions -- plus or minus 10 -- were reported at the Gir sanctuary, he said.

"We had counted 359 lions with plus or minus 10 in the Gir forest. In last five years, around 150 lions including cubs must have died," he said.

According to him, 30 to 35 lions die every year and that is 10-12 per cent, which is normal.

"I don't know the exact number of lions which died after the last counting, but 30 to 35 deaths a year is absolutely natural," he said, adding, "We do report each and every death of a lion including death of a 15-day-old cub to a 15-year-old animal".

However, he said that the forest department does not report birth of lions.

"We follow transparent system of reporting death of the animal but we don't report births because we don't keep track of new births," he said.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/flora-fauna/Gujarat-to-conduct-lion-census-at-Gir-in-April-/articleshow/5473408.cms

Poachers kill three Asiatic lions in India.

AHMEDABAD: Poachers have killed three Asiatic lions in the rare animal’s only natural habitat in the world, prompting security to be tightened in the sanctuary.

Claws, skulls and bones of the lions were missing when the carcasses were found, Pradeep Khanna, chief wildlife warden at Gir wildlife sanctuary in the western state of Gujarat, told Reuters on Monday. “It is shocking, and a clear case of poaching,” Khanna said.

The number of lions in Gir, where the lions are protected and bred in natural conditions, had risen to 359 in 2005 from 327 four years ago, a government census showed. Conservationists and wildlife experts say about 10 lions have died in the last year, mainly from drowning and poaching.

India is already struggling to save its endangered tigers, as people invade their habitat and poachers kill them for body parts that fetch huge sums on the international black market. reuters

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C03%5C06%5Cstory_6-3-2007_pg4_16

Seized lion claws fake, say police.

Express News Service
Tags : crime, Poaching, lion
Posted: Monday , Jan 11, 2010 at 0419 hrs

Lion paws and claws seized from two locals on January 8 have turned out to be fake, the Amreli police have said.

The Savarkundla police had seized two paws with nine claws in a sting operation. The operation had hinted at the existence of a lion poaching racket in the Gir sanctuary, the last abode of the Asiatic Lion.

Preliminary examination by the police and forest departments has, however, revealed the items to be fake, but the police are, nevertheless, waiting for the forensic reports.

A police team led by Savarkundla DySP J Thakkar had arrested Allarakha Bhiku (35) and Dhiru Khatrani (32) and seized the lion claws from their possession. Khatrani reportedly told the police that he bought the paws at Rs 600 in Karnataka, where he used to run a food joint until sometime ago.

On Friday evening, the accused had allegedly demanded Rs 2.5 lakh for the nine claws. There were two paws: one with four claws and another with five. As soon as they displayed the items, the police arrested them.

Whale shark finds new friends in Indian fishermen.

By Thomas Kutty Abraham

A few weeks ago, the crew of an Indian fishing boat in the Arabian Sea thought they had the biggest catch of their lives.

A 40-foot-long unsuspecting whale shark had entered their nets on a still night. But instead of killing the creature, known as the gentle ocean giant, the captain called the boat owner who promptly told him to let it go. “I may have lost a lot of money. But I’m happy that I could play a role in saving the protected fish,” Kamlesh Chamadia, the boat owner said.

Two years ago, Chamadia, like hundreds of other fishermen along the Saurashtra coast of India’s western Gujarat state, would have had little hesitation in killing whale sharks.

But a lively campaign by a wildlife group and a popular religious leader has helped reduce the killing of the world’s largest fish (Rhincodon typus) which migrate to the Indian coast to breed from faraway Africa.

Despite a government ban in 2001, Indian fishermen slaughter at least 1,000 whale sharks every year and make a fortune by exporting the fins, meat and oil to Southeast Asia, wildlife activists say.

“We have been relentlessly campaigning in the Saurashtra coast to protect the whale sharks. Fishermen would have certainly continued to kill them had we not launched the campaign,” said Dhiresh Joshi, Wildlife Trust of India’s campaign manager.

The group has hoisting life-size inflatables of the whale shark along the Gujarat coast, holding poster exhibitions on the fish and putting up banners and posters urging the protection. There have been no reports of whale shark hunting in the past year since the start of the campaign, also backed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and two local business firms, activists say.

The shark, mostly found in tropical temperate waters, feed on plankton and are protected by several countries including the United States, Philippines, Mexico, Australia and Maldives.

Religious flavour: The whale shark protection campaign in Gujarat has also got a religious flavour to it after Murari Bapu, a popular Hindu preacher, agreed to be its brand ambassador.

Bapu, who holds his audience spell-bound with his narration of the stories from the Hindu epic Ramayana, likens the migration of the whale shark to pregnant daughters coming to their parental home for the delivery. “Would you ever think of any harm to your daughters, let alone killing them. Whale sharks are your daughters and you should take good care of them,” Bapu told a gathering of hundreds of fishermen in Dwarka, a coastal pilgrimage city said to be founded by Lord Krishna.

Activists have also staged a street drama depicting a pregnant daughter pleading with her fisherman father not to kill a whale shark trapped in his net. The play, which has been performed in towns across the Saurashtra coast, strikes an emotional chord with the fishermen and four towns have adopted the shark as their mascot.

“Before I saw the drama, I never knew that the sharks were harmless and were coming to our shore only for breeding,” said Kishore Vansh, a fisherman.

The whale shark conservationists now plan to promote the fish as a “Pride of Gujarat” along with the Asiatic Lions - which have their lone natural habitat in Asia in the Gir forests of state.

They say Gujarat could promote its tourism industry by replicating the success of Australia, which lures tourists to dive and swim with the whale sharks off its Ningaloo reef.

“The tourist potential is immense. Gujarat only needs to effectively sell the concept and build related infrastructure to facilitate it,” Joshi said. reuters

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_11-12-2004_pg4_21

‘MP sanctuary ideal for Gir lions, but not for those bred in captivity’.

Shubhalakshmi Shukla
Tags : animals, Gir lions
Posted: Thursday , Jan 07, 2010 at 0116 hrs

Giving another dimension to the ongoing standoff between Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over the trans-location of Gir lions to the Kuno Palpur Sanctuary in MP, a recent meeting of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has suggested that big cats bred in captivity should not be shifted there. The sanctuary is however, a viable habitat for the Asiatic lions, it said.

Sources said the NBWL members have endorsed the MP government’s stand that the high temperature of Kuno Palpur is conducive for the lions. The meeting was held under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on December 22.

The suggestions by two NBWL members — World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India president Divyabhanusinh Chavda, and Wildlife Trust of India president Ranjitsinh — will be included in the

affidavit, which the MoEF will soon submit to the Supreme Court.

The draft of the affidavit is ready, but it has not been forwarded to either the MP or Gujarat government.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mp-sanctuary-ideal-for-gir-lions-but-not-for-those-bred-in-captivity/564352/0

Madhya Pradesh as alternative lion habitat

Despite Gujarat being in no mood to allow shifting of any of its Asiatic lions, the Madhya Pradesh government has spent over Rs. 14.53 crore to relocate 1,543 families in the Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary being prepared as an alternative habitat for the king of the jungle.

At present, Asiatic lions are found only in Gir forests in Gujarat and the Centre had plans to relocate some of them to Kuno Sanctuary to repopulate the endangered species there.

There are around 800 lions in the Gir forests but experts feel that the concentration of the entire lion population at one place exposes it to the danger of being wiped out by disease or natural calamity.

However, the Narendra Modi government has categorically refused to part with the lions citing non-conducive environment such as threat from poachers and poor prey base in the Madhya Pradesh sanctuary spread over 344.686 square km.

Kuno was identified as a best potential site by the Wildlife Institute of India among two other sites - Darrah-Jawahar Sagar and Sitamata (both in Rajasthan) long back in 1993, a senior environment official said.

Source: http://beta.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article74187.ece