Friday, October 26, 2012

Lion-tailed macaque is taken off the ‘top 25’ endangered list.

G. Ananthakrishnan
The lion-tailed macaque, one of India’s endangered mascot species, is no longer on ‘The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates’ list, after the international body compiling it determined that the State governments had acted positively to protect it.
The list of 25 primates is put out by a group of specialist agencies — the Primate Specialist Group of the IUCN/Species Survival Commission; the International Primatological Society; Conservation International (CI); and the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation.
It was released here on Monday at a press briefing at the conference of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Announcing the list of endangered primates for 2012-14, Russell A. Mittermeier, chairman of the IUCN/SSC and president of CI, said the Western purple-faced langur in Sri Lanka was still on the list.
Wild primate species are found in 91 countries, and their conservation status is periodically monitored with the Red List criteria by the IUCN. A new assessment is under way to determine how they are faring. It will build on the 2008 assessment — that 303 primates are critically endangered or endangered.
The Western Hoolock gibbon found in northeast India was also removed from the ‘list of 25’ earlier, though “it is still not doing well,” said Sanjay Molur, executive director of the Zoo Outreach Organization and participant in the assessment exercise. The Assam Forest Department is engaged in conservation action, along with NGOs, improving its fortunes.
The habitat of the lion-tailed macaque continues to be fragmented though it is getting positive attention in the Western Ghats. Across India, the growing problem is one of conflicts among langurs, macaques and humans, aggravated by lack of understanding of primate behaviour.
Many Indians feed them sentimentally, which contributes to their aggression as they seek more food; crop raiding is also common. India’s primates are classified as ‘least concern’ on the scale of threat assessment, but “these species are declining,” according to Dr. Molur.
More studies need to be done on Indian monkeys such as the Kashmir gray langur found in the Chamba Valley of Himachal Pradesh. It was rediscovered recently after first being described more than eight decades ago. Half of India’s 43 sub-species of primates are threatened.
The latest top 25 endangered primates comprise a range of ape, monkey and lemur species from Tanzania, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and South America.
Clearing of forests for oil palm cultivation and agriculture, demand for bush meat, and staggering deforestation in Madagascar, removing 90 per cent of endemic lemur habitat, severely threaten long-term prospects for primates.
The CBD is meeting in Hyderabad to look at new ways of reducing the loss of biodiversity and encouraging conservation actions.

Karnataka shuts down all resorts and guest houses inside reserve forests

Karnataka shuts down all resorts and guest houses inside reserve forests
Image via

Oct 22, 2012 BANGALORE, India - Karnataka on Monday decided to shut down all private resorts and state-run guest houses located inside reserve forests across the state to protect wildlife in the aftermath of the Supreme Court guidelines on tiger safaris recently.
"We will order closure of all private resorts and our guest houses built in wildlife sanctuaries to protect animals and preserve reserve forests from harmful acts," state Forest Minister C.P. Yogeeshwara told reporters here after a departmental meeting.
Keeping in view the apex court guidelines to preserve tiger reserves across the country, the state forest department will build new guest houses outside forests to provide accommodation on first-cum-first basis to officials, their guests and wildlife enthusiasts.
The government guest houses within the reserved areas will, however, be used to conduct wildlife studies and research activity.
The top court Oct 16 issued the guidelines while lifting its three-month ban on tiger safaris in the country.
"We will soon serve notices on owners of all private resorts to close their operations to prevent any harmful effect on wildlife," Yogeeshwara said.
The department will, however, allow private resorts to come up outside the reserve forest areas on case-by-case and in accordance with the recent guidelines to meet the huge demand from tourists across the country and overseas, he added.
With the country's largest tiger habitat (with over 300 animals) in the state's Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks bordering Tamil Nadu, the reserve forests have witnessed a mushrooming growth of private lodges and government guest houses over the years in their core and peripheral areas.
"The decision to shut resorts is in line with the apex court order, which directs the state to preserve the buffer zone of tiger reserves and elephant corridors in Bandipur and Nagarhole parks," Yogeeshwara said.
The state-run Jungle Lodges and Resorts will, however, will be allowed to operate its lodges and resorts in the forest areas as they are built outside the tiger buffer zones and elephant corridors but will be asked to scale down its tourist activities like safaris.
"Our aim is to conserve and preserve forests and protect wildlife and not conduct tourist activity," Yogeeshwara clarified.
Source: IANS

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lion dies after falling into well -Photographs.

Images by Kanubhai Varu.

જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત

Lion dies after falling into well.

જેની એક ત્રાડથી ધ્રુજતું હતું ગીર, તેને આ તે કેવું મળ્યું દર્દનાક મોત
Image by Kanubhai Varu
RAJKOT: A lion was found dead in a well in Nesdi village in Amreli district on Thursday. The dead lion was found floating in the water by the farm owner, Mansukh Gajera. He informed the officials of forest department who extracted the carcass.
Officials said that the animal was about four years old. It is assumed that it had fallen into the well two days ago. "The carcass was sent for postmortem to ascertain the exact cause of death,'' said an official.
Sources said that the lion might have gone to the well in search of water to quench its thirst and fallen in accidentally. "The open well was around 60 feet deep and the water stood at 20 feet," sources said. The area falls under the Tulsishyam forest range of Gir east division.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cheetah dies in Gujarat zoo.

Vadodara: A female cheetah brought from Singapore died in Sakkarbaug zoo of Junagadh district.

"The postmortem confirmed death due to failure of liver and kidney," Zoo Director V J Rana said. The feline died on October 13.

Earlier, a male cheetah, also brought to Vadodara from Singapore, had died in the zoo some months ago.

"Sakkarbaug zoo traded three of its lions with a Singapore zoo for two pairs of cheetahs in 2009," Mr Rana said.

The African cheetahs were brought from Singapore as per a government programme initiated by the Central Zoo Authority of India, Mr  Rana added.

Baby boom in Gir!

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Oct 17, 2012, 04.28AM IST

AHMEDABAD: As Gir reopened for tourists on Tuesday after the three-month monsoon break, it was the young Simbas who hogged all limelight. This season there are about 90 newborn cubs - a rise of 20% compared to last year - in the last abode of Asiatic lion.
While the tourist footfalls were marginally less as compared to the opening day last year - about 935 people visited Gir on Tuesday - officials say it was because last year the sanctuary was thrown open during the Diwali holidays.

Pravin Vara, who had come with a group of 40 people from Rajasthan, spotted two females with two newborn cubs and even a lion.

Every season, 75-odd cubs are born. The higher number this time is due to an increasing number of lionesses. The female to male lion ratio in Gir has consistently improved - from 76 lions and 100 lionesses a few years ago to 97 males and 162 female animals now. "If the number of females is higher than males, it is good for reproduction. Fewer males would mean less infighting," said additional principal chief conservator of forests Dr H S Singh.
Recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), while shifting the big cats from critically endangered species category to endangered species, had mentioned, "The number of mature lions has been increasing, all occurring within one sub-population (but in four separate areas, three of which are outside of the Gir forest protected area). Since the population now extends beyond the boundary of the lion sanctuary, the numbers are stable."

The survival rate of cubs in Gujarat is higher than their African counterparts. A study has revealed the cub survival rate of Gir forest was about 56%.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Now, a lab to study genetic mapping of lions.

Published: Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012, 17:01 IST
By Smitha R | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
The state forest department along with the Gujarat State Bio-Technology Mission (GSBTM) will soon be setting up a lab for genetic mapping of lions in state. The lab which was to earlier come up in Junagadh may now come up in Gandhinagar or even at GEER Foundation.
Interestingly, while genetic mapping of lions is on the priority list, the lab will eventually also look at the genetic mapping of other animals as well. It should be noted that genetic mapping of lions was part of a 2008 lion conservation programme, but has not taken off since then.
SK Nanda, former principal secretary, forest and environment said, “The lab is being set up to study the genetic pool diversity of lions and eventually may cover other animals as well. It will entail an initial investment of Rs5 crore to Rs6 crore.”
He said that once set up, the facility can also invite experts from outside if the need arises.
Another official of the forest department said that genetic mapping is part of the bio-diversity conservation and it happens at three levels. “It is necessary to study all the three levels – the eco-system, the species and the genetics levels,” said the official.
An official of GSBTM said that proposal to set up such a lab was first made by the mission which was later on accepted by the forest department. “Ensuring genetic diversity of a species is a must as it means the species will be able to survive in different environment. The project is likely to cost Rs22 crore spread over a period of five to six years,” said the official.
The official said that initially genetic mapping of lions and panthers will take place. “The forest department is expected to provide the facility while GSBTM will help in setting up of the lab and scientific work. It will be a dedicated institute that will use biotechnology for conservation of wildlife. Covering a few species alone will not serve the purpose,” said the official.

A polling station for just one voter.

New Delhi/AHMEDABAD: There will be one polling station in Gujarat for just one voter. This will be in the Gir forest area, Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath announced Wednesday while giving out the election schedule in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. This solitary voter is Guru Bharat Das.
"We have a polling station for the sake of this one voter." Guru Bharat Das is a lion among voters, being the solitary man to live in the abode of the Asiatic lion. A team of five election officials negotiate dense forests in Gir, Junagadh to reach his temple so that the priest can exercise his franchise.
Guru Bharatdas lives near Banej village and votes from the Una segment of the Junagadh Lok Sabha constituency. To meet the priest of a Shiva temple, one has to travel 40 km from Sasan, cutting through the Gir sanctuary.
Election officials also have to intimate the forest department officials about the polling officers who will enter the forest for this work. "The Election Commission makes it a point to inform the forest department about the number of people working on this one vote," said a forest department official.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wildlife Week being celebrated.

RAJKOT: Wildlife division Sasan Gir is celebrating 58th Wildlife Week 2012 beginning October 2.
The message of the wildlife week is "Be sensitive, live and let live" which was the thought of Mahatma Gandhi. "During the celebrations there will be competitions for students from different schools around Gir forest. The competitions will include essay writing, debate, quiz and drawing," said Sandeep Kumar, DCF headquarters. Students wearing masks of lions and leopards will also take out a rally with the slogan "Gali gali me nara hai, Gir aur Sinh hamara hai".
The forest department plans to make people aware on the need to conserve wildlife with the help of posters and banners.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Leopard electrocuted in Amreli village.

RAJKOT: A four-year-old female leopard died due to electrocution in Ditala village in Dhari taluka of Amreli district on Sunday.
According to forest officials, the leopard was found dead on the transformer in a farm owned by Bhikhabhai Zala. The locals saw the leopard hanging on the electricity poles of Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (PGVCL) and informed the forest department officials.
"The leopard died on the spot. Primarily, it looks like the leopard may have climbed up the poles for catching a prey like some bird and was electrocuted," said a forest official.
"Birds like pigeons and peacocks sit on the transformer regularly and the leopard may have gone to attack on them," the official said.
The carcass has been sent for postmortem.