Monday, March 22, 2010

Forest dept identifies 4 areas to develop lions’ gene pools.

The state Forest Department has identified four places in Gujarat to develop gene pools of Asiatic lions. Captive lions from Sakkar Baug Zoo in Junagadh will be kept at these places— Wankaner, Bardo Dungar, Sakkar Baug and Umath near Hingolgarh. In-charge conservator of forest Mayank Sharma said the lions who were captured because they were either orphaned or injured will be used in the project. “We have identified at least 21 of them. They may be sent to these four separate areas by the year-end,” he said.

These areas have been identified for a long-term conservation of lions. Officials have also planned to make drinking water available in the area and construct check dams. “Land identified in Wankaner will be used for the project to maintain gene diversity of lions,” said Pradeep Khanna, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Administration. Meanwhile, Gir forest officials said the project has nothing to do with the relocation of the big cat from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh. Gir is the last abode of Asiatic lions. According to the last census held in 2005, their number stood at 359. The Forest Department will conduct a fresh census in April.


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