Conservator of forest R L Meena said that this mobile van has been launched to understand the problems of the locals and issues related to the local beat guard and forest department. Apart from the bridging exercise, the mobile van will also have trackers, who will be helpful in case of emergency and rescue.
Deputy conservator of forest Gir sanctuary (headquarters) Sandeep Kumar said the mobile van will have two foresters, one guard and two trackers, along with a driver. The team, apart from talking to sarpanch and local residents, will also keep an eye on the movement of the lions and leopards in the particular areas.
Kumar said the team will be staying in the open fields. Importantly, the team will survey the number and location of the lions in the periphery. "If the team finds that the pride in the area is new and has migrated from the nearby area, they will look for the reason of the shift. The team will also tell villagers about do's and don'ts if they spot a lion sitting in their fields," said Kumar.
"We also want to create a local network so that if anything major happens, this team should be the first to get the information," Kumar said, adding that if the team got complaint of some serious conflicts between the big cats and the people, they would call a rescue team and shift the lion to the sanctuary.
The team would also maintain a register of their visit the village and will also be accompanied by the local staff from the area. It would also take down the details of the killing of domestic animal and learn if the compensation was paid in all such cases. If there is any case pending, it would be brought to the notice of the higher officials and the same will be paid immediately.
The forester said that based on the feedback and the reports of this team, the department will have another two vans deployed before the beginning of the monsoon. He said that this addition of two van will increase the area of coverage and frequency of visit to the particular village.