Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lioness gives birth to 3 cubs in Gir forest .

Amreli (Gujarat), Jun 15 (PTI) A lioness has given birth to three cubs in the Gir forest region of Jafrabad taluka in the district, forest officials said today.
The cubs were born last night in the forest region near Nageshari village, they said.
Lions are enlisted as a Schedule-1 animal under the (Indian) Wildlife Act, whose existence is considered to be on the verge of extinction.
The Gir forest is spread in three districts of Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar, and is considered to be the last abode of Asiatic lions.
According to the lion census conducted between April 24- 27 early this year, there were 411 lions in Gir forests, which included 162 females and 97 males, 77 cubs less than one-year- old and 75 cubs aged between one to three years.

Forest department plans breeding centres to widen Gir lions’ prey base.

Dept hints at possibility of burgeoning cat population spilling over into Saurashtra
The Forest Department has hinted at the possibility of Asiatic lions expanding their territory across Saurastra in a few years. But there is no long-term conservation plan per se to deal with the burgeoning population, besides setting up a few breeding centres.
Officials say there are two urgent requirements for Asiatic lions to avoid man-animal conflict in newer territories — food and water.
But other than M S University, no other body has documented the flora of Gir, which affects the migration pattern of herbivores, which form the prey base of these big cats.
To avoid human conflicts with the big cats, the Forest Department is now planning to start a breeding centre for herbivores in the Umath area of Rajkot district to ensure a healthy prey base for the lions
Officials say the rising lion population may cause a problem for the leopards too, which in its turn might increasingly target livestock in the surrounding villages.
Every year, the Forest Department pays huge amount as compensation to tribals whose livestocks are killed by leopards. Even Maldharis in Brihud Gir face similar problems, officials say.
Chief Conservator of Forest S K Chaturvedi refused to comment on the conservation plan, but said: “We are trying to prepare ourselves for the imminent problems. Two breeding centres for spotted deer were started in Barda and Rampara area last year.”
He added that the Forest Department recently conducted SCAT analysis for the big cats of Brihud Gir to study their diet patterns and to carry out methods of breeding their prey accordingly.
The phenomenon of dispersal is evident north of Palitana and West of the Gir National Park and Sanctuary. The population of sub-adult male lions too are rising; the lions are more ferocious in the newer areas as they have to fight for their territories. But the Forest Department is still using its old management plan. It will take yet another year for the newer management plan to be in place.
Chaturvedi said, “We have started plantations to provide shelter to the lions in the newer areas of dispersal, along with water bodies.”

Gir lion sanctuary closed due to breeding season.

16 Jun 2010, 1658 hrs IST,ANISASAN (Gujarat): The Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, the only home of the Asiatic Lions in Gujarat, on Wednesday closed its doors to tourists for four months to provide some privacy to the big cats during their mating season.
The sanctuary will remain closed till October 14. Forest officials say that this period is crucial for the conservation of the endangered animal.
"Since we supervise the conservation efforts, we want to prevent any disturbance in the conservation activities, which could also be caused by the tourists. So we closed the sanctuary," said Sandeep Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
The rise in the number of Gir lions from 359 in 2005 to 411 in 2010, has led to a sharp surge in the number of visitors keen to have a close view of the wild cats.
Covering a total area of 1412 kilometres, the area is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species.
It is also a natural habitat for leopards and antelopes like the sambar, spotted deer, blue bull, black buck, and wild boar, jackal, hyena, langurs, porcupine, bear and crocodiles and over 250 species of birds. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Your morning adorable: Asian lion cubs stick close to mom at Belgian zoo

June 10, 2010 | 11:59 am
Asian lion cubs
Koyla, an Asian lion at the Planckendael Zoo in Mechelen, Belgium, gave birth to five cubs in April. That's big news for a critically endangered species, of which less than 300 are thought to remain in the wild.
The cubs haven't yet been named, but the zoo says it will give each of them a name beginning with the letter L. They're now eight weeks old.
Asian lions, which are also sometimes referred to as Asiatic lions or Persian lions, are the only lion subspecies that lives outside of the African continent. They once occupied a territory that extended from India to the Middle East, but now live only in a single wildlife preserve in India's Gir Forest. A few hundred more live in zoos around the world, including Planckendael, which participates in a conservation breeding program.
See more photos of the cubs after the jump!
Asian lion cubs
Asian lion cubs
Asian lion cubs
Your morning adorable: Cheetah cubs make their debut at Swedish zoo
Your morning adorable: Amur leopard cub debuts at German zoo
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photos: Eric Lalmand / European Pressphoto Agency
Twitter: @latunleashed | Facebook: launleashed

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Food for thought.

Screen Correspondent, Screen correspondent Posted: Jun 11, 2010 at 1505 hrs IST
Great moments
The Shahenshah of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, was delighted to have a close rendezvous with the king of the jungle at the Gir Lion Sanctuary, where he is shooting a commercial for Gujarat Tourism. “I got a 5 am call - and what a call! Into the forest and within a few hours, a miracle, we saw 8-9 of them, an entire pride of lions! Unbelievable. The lions walked past me just five feet away. Amazing! Male, female and cubs, walked straight up to me, looked and went by!!(sic),” wrote Bachchan on his Twitter page.
The 67-year-old actor has described his search for lions on his blog, posting photos of them as well as himself, dressed in a blue shirt and grey pants, with a jute hat completing his safari look. “There they were .. three females ..” he wrote.
Amitabh Bachchan even visited his father Harivanshrai Bachchan's sand image carved next to his image in Mandvi, Gujarat. He even visited the Somnath Temple, clad in a white dhoti-kurta, as part of the final leg of his Gujarat Tourism campaign, took part in the morning aarti and offered prayers to Lord Shiva

Gir Lion Sanctuary to close for visitors from June 16th.

Junagadh, DeshGujarat, 9 June, 2010

World’s only Asiatic lion sanctuary in Gujarat will be closed for visitors from 16th of June. The sanctuary will reopen on 15th of October.
Monsoon is a breeding period for lions. Moreover the sanctuary has muddy roads which are not motorable in four months of rain. Therefore the park observes closure every year during monsoon. According to Dr. Sandip Kumar, Deputy conservator of forest, both Gir wild life sanctuary and national park and Gir introduction complex of Devaliya will be closed for visitors during this period. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Indianapolis Zoo is Devoting an Entire Weekend to Celebrating the Cool Cats of Summer.

Tue, 6/8/2010 - 12:32 PM
By Maura Giles
Indianapolis, IN - This year the Indianapolis Zoo is devoting an entire weekend to celebrating the cool cats of summer! On June 19 and 20, Harris Bank presents African Lion Awareness Weekend, which offers an opportunity for the whole family to learn more about the African lions at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Zoo guests will discover more about the Zoo’s three lions - lionesses Zuri and Shamfa, and male lion Nyack. Learn what they eat, how they play and how the keepers can tell them apart during chats in front of the Zoo’s African Lion exhibit at 11am and 1pm. Ask keepers questions, touch lion artifacts such as a lion pelt or skull, and see enrichment toys that the lions at the Zoo love to play with!
During African Lion Awareness Weekend, parents can have a free official photo identification card made for their children at the Plains entrance Saturday, 10am-1pm, and Sunday, 11am-2pm. Plus, guests can win prizes from Harris Bank all weekend from 10am to 4pm! There will also be photo opportunities with the Zoo’s lion mascot, Kiburi, and Harris Bank’s lion mascot, Hubert.
Come see why the Indianapolis Zoo takes pride in its pride! This event is included with regular zoo admission.
African Lion (Panthera leo) Facts:
· Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. Prides are family units that may include up to three males, a dozen or so females, and their young.
· All of a pride's lionesses are related, and female cubs typically stay with the group as they age. Young males eventually leave and establish their own prides by taking over a group headed by another male.
· Only male lions boast manes, the impressive fringe of long hair that encircles their heads. Males defend the pride's territory, which may include some 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) of grasslands, scrub, or open woodlands.
· Female lions are the pride's primary hunters. They often work together to prey upon antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, and other large animals of the open grasslands. Lions will hunt alone if the opportunity presents itself, and they also steal kills from hyenas or wild dogs.
· Lions have been celebrated throughout history for their courage and strength. They once roamed most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe. Today they are found only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, except for one very small population of Asian lions that survives in India's Gir Forest.
· Lions are listed by the IUCN Redbook as vulnerable, and as threatened by Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
· Male lions can reach a height of four feet and a length of up to eight feet. Females are smaller than males. Weight can vary from 330 to 500 pounds. At top speed, lions can run up to 50 miles per hour, but only for short distance. The average lifespan is ten to 14 years. (At 17 years old, the Zoo’s lioness Shamfa is an elderly citizen of the species!
Photo: African Lion Shamfa (photo by Maura Giles)
About the Indianapolis Zoo
Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation.
To view Indianapolis Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lioness dies in Amreli after falling in well.

Amreli, Jun 5 (PTI) In a freak accident, a lioness from the Sasan Gir forest, died here today after falling in a well without a protective wall, forest officials said.
The incident took place in Chakrawaparah village of Khamba taluka in Amreli district when a lioness chasing her prey, a blue bull, fell into a well and died, they said.
During the chase, the blue bull also fell into the well, forest officials said.
A part of the Sasan Gir forest, the last abode of Asiatic Lions, falls in Amreli district, where lions are found roaming freely and sometime hunting their prey.
Lioness are in the category of schedule-1 species, whose existence is considered to be on the verge of extinction.
During the recently concluded census in Gir forests it was found that there are 411 lions in the area.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bachchan in Gir forest to shoot advt with lions.

Rajkot, June 1 (PTI) Brand ambassador of Gujarat tourism, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan today reached Gir forest for shooting an advertisement.

The 68-year-old actor is likely to stay there for three days and will do shoot with Asiatic lions, sources from the district authority said.

A special arrangement has been made at 'Sinh Sadan' where the actor has been given accommodation and is likely to watch 'Dhamal Nrutya' to be performed by Siddi community sources said adding Bachchan would also visit the Somnath Temple tomorrow.

King of hearts Amitabh Bachchan reaches King of jungle’s territory.

Ahmedabad, DeshGujarat, 1 June, 2010Dressed in white Pathani kurta-pijama, legendary film star Amitabh Bachchan reached world’s last abode of Asiatic lions, at Gir sanctuary in Gujarat today morning through chartered plane till Diu and road journey then after. Shri Amitabh Bachchan reached Sasan Gir sanctuary at around 10:30 am and welcomed here. He directly went to Sinh Sadan cottage for rest.
Shri Bachchan is being treated as state guest. He has been allotted same room which was allotted to Indian President last year when she visited this sanctuary. In fact Shri Bachchan’s visit has created much more excitement than the President’s visit last year, and all other VIP visits in recent past.
A series of banners and sign boards welcomed Amitabh Bachchan on his way to Sasan Gir. Almost all banners carry Shri Bachchan’s photo. One of the hoardings said “King of Jungle welcomes King of Indian Cinema”, another banner with Big B’s photo said, “A full of heart welcome to Sasan Gir.”
Shri Bachchan’s fans didn’t leave him alone even in the jungle. However heavy security of state police prevented them to go near the superstar. District police chief and district collector had earlier personally visited Sasan Gir sanctuary to witness preparations for Shri Bachchan’s visit.
On Tweeter, Amitabh said, a typical Gujju lunch was terrific….Vegetation a lot greener here, a departure from the arid Kutch, but in the forest will be dry again….A whole hoard of personnel came over to set up the internet … finally got it working … phew !! Relief !! Now to connect to you..

Gir gets a bed to fit in Big B!

AHMEDABAD: Guess what was one of the biggest worries for the state tourism department which is to play host to Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in the Asiatic lion’s den in Gir forest? Finding a bed his size!
Sources in the tourism department told TOI that one of the first concerns in the meetings held to discuss the schedule for the film star — who will camp in Gujarat for a week to shoot films to promote tourism — was the basic issue of a bed.
On Wednesday night, a specially designed bed that can be dismantled was moved into the official guest house in Gir forest, Sinh Sadan, whose largest bed in the VIP suite measured just 6’x 6’. And Bachchan is 6 ft two inches tall! “The new bed, made of pure teak and measuring 7 ft and six inches long and six ft wide, will be assembled inside the suite with brand new mattresses to match,” said sources in the state forest department.
This suite was last renovated when President Pratibha Patil visited here to see Asiatic lions. The bed has been made locally in Junagadh . Bachchan is being flown in a specially chartered plane on Friday to Ahmedabad and then to Bhuj where the first shoots will be held in sites like Mandvi, Dholavira and the Rann of Kutch.
On Monday he is expected to shoot in Gir where groups of lions have been readied for the esteemed visit.
Bachchan, who is brand ambassador for Gujarat , will shoot films to promote the state as a tourism destination under the theme ‘Khushboo Gujarat ki’, said official sources.
Tracker parties are already moving along the route to be followed by the film crew to ensure that there was enough presence of lions.
S e c re t a r y (tourism) Vipul Mittra will fly to Mumbai to escort the superstar to Ahmedabad. Bachchan is coming all alone with the crew and his programme has been kept top secret. Nobody will be allowed to accompany him on the weeklong tour.
The 67-year-old actor would fly to Junagadh district on May 31 and during his three-day stay in Junagadh, he will visit Somnath temple and Gir forest. 


Gir sanctuary faces water scarcity due to summer heat.

2010-05-25 17:30:00
Gujarat's famous Gir sanctuary is facing acute water scarcity due to rising temperatures.
Most of the sanctuary's natural water resources have dried up.
Over 600 artificial water points have been created to provide drinking water for animals. The wildlife division is sending water tankers to replenish existing water holes, said Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator.
"We have provided over 600 artificial water points in the whole forest," he added.
The Gir national park and wildlife sanctuary is spread over 1,412 kilometers and is home to the Asiatic lion. (ANI)

Gir guards don NIFT designs...

Monday, 24 May 2010
The National Institute of Fashion Technology is designing uniforms with camouflage patterns for forest officers, range officers and forest guards of the Gir Lion sanctuary in Gujarat. Since the forest staff have day and night duties, the institute is making more comfortable uniforms for them. The fabric used in the uniforms will have an anti-bacterial finish and crotch guard. On the whole the apparel will look less like a uniform and more like clothing that exudes comfort and ease of wear.

Also, it will be skin-friendly and appropriate for a hot and humid environment with breathable properties. Since, their current uniforms are colonial style the focus is on reviving the style, color and giving a modern finish to the fabric. NIFT is giving them outfits with a modern and trendy finish with a lot of style and color. The Gujarat branch of NIFT is looking after the project. The Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife Crime Cell), Gujarat Medicinal Plant Board and NIFT are coordinating. About 400 personnel patrol the Gir Sanctuary which is the last refuge of the Asiatic lion.