Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Asiatic lion census to begin from April 24.

Gandhinagar, April 20 : Assisted by tools like the Global Positioning System and the Geographical Information System, more than 1,600 personnel will fan out in Gujarat's Greater Gir forest for four days from April 24 for the thirteenth lion census, 2010, officials said Tuesday.
The lion numbers after the 2005 census was put at 359.
Gujarat's Principal Secretary for Forests and Environment S. K. Nanda told media persons that the census team will comprise 135 officers, 450 main enumerators, 900 assistants, 100 volunteers, 50 photographers, 12 doctors and
11 researchers. They will be provided 200 four-wheelers and 450 motor-cycles for the census process.
"The entire wider sanctuary will be sealed and closed to the public for the duration of the census," he added.
Nanda said that the estimate would cover Greater Gir which includes the Gir National Park and sanctuary spread over the four districts of Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Porbandar.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Pradeep Khanna said the beat verification technique will be used to estimate the numbers of this critically endangered species.
"We have divided the area into seven regions, 28 zones, and 100 sub-zones for this census. While the preliminary census will be carried out for two days (April 24-25), the final census will follow after a daylong break (April 26-27)," he added.
Chief Wildlife Warden R. V. Asari, who will supervise the census, said that a nine-month long exercise had preceded it and 641 probable sites where the chances of finding lions were maximum were identified.
"These were then whittled down to 450 sites. Also data of kills of the last 10 years were analysed before the beginning of the census," he added.(IANS)

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