Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guidelines-human-leopard-conflict-management from Ministry of Environment and Forests GOVERNMENT OF INDIA.

-Suggested by Maya Ramaswamy ji. 
Please visit below link:
http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/guidelines-human-leopard-conflict-management.pdf

IUCN cautions state against poaching of lions.



AHMEDABAD: While shifting the Asiatic lions from critically endangered species category to endangered species in its Red List, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the same time has also cautioned the forest department against poaching threats to the species.
The IUCN Red List report stated that the subpopulation of lions is increasing and is considered stable now in Gujarat. The number of lions is also reported to be spreading beyond the boundaries of the protected sanctuary of Gir to satellite townships.
Taking note of the 2007 incidents of poaching, the report further added that constant monitoring is required to ensure that poaching levels do not increase. At least eight lions were poached in 2007. However, the IUCN red list has in its report stated that 34 animals were reported killed in 2007. A senior officer said that this was a very high figure as only eight lions were poached.
However, experts say that this was a major achievement for the conservation efforts of the state government. Ravi Chellam, an expert on Lions, says, "The species is dispersing outside the protected area, and the population is increasing. This was adequate to list the lion as endangered species from critically endangered.
Y V Jhala, head of the department Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, said "The management's efforts towards the conservation of the species are planned with the intention to reduce the threat perception towards it. For the Asiatic lions, the success of conservation has not only led to increase in population of lions but has also increased the dispersal range of the animal. It is indeed a feather in the cap for the state that even the IUCN has also recognized its conservation efforts." He said that the next target of the state government should be to have the animal listed as a threatened species.
Additional principal chief conservator of forest Dr H S Singh says, "The lion as a whole is listed in vulnerable category. But it is good news for the state as the Asiatic lion was listed as endangered species." He said that not just the population was increasing, but the lions have formed six other satellite areas where the population is now stable. These include far off areas of the coastal region, Bhavnagar, Girnar and Miytala, among others."
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/IUCN-cautions-state-against-poaching-of-lions/articleshow/12448201.cms

Mulayam’s safari project may face Modi hurdle.

AMENDRA SINGH : Lucknow, Wed Mar 28 2012, 04:49 hrs
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Lion Safari project, which was halted during the Mayawati regime, is set to face a fresh hurdle. While the project involves relocation of Asiatic lions from Gir National Park to Mulayam’s home district Etawah, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to be stiffly opposed to relocation of Gir lions to other states.
As of now, the project is with the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment for clearance.
A top official in UP’s Forest Department said, “UP has not approached Gujarat till now. But once the project starts, the request (for relocation of lions) will be sent to Gujarat.”
Recently, the Gujarat State Wildlife Board, headed by Narendra Modi, rejected a proposal to relocate Asiatic Gir lions to the Kuno-Palpur Park in Madhya Pradesh.
The people of Gujarat’s Saurashtra region are also opposing the relocation of Gir lions.
According to Lion Census of 2010, the Gir National Park has a total of 411 lions, of which 97 are males, 162 females and 152 cubs.
Gujarat’s Forest and Environment Minister Mangubhai Chhaganbhai Patel refused to comment on the issue while Gujarat Principal Chief Conservator of Forests S K Goyal said if they receive any such request from UP, it will be considered on the basis of its merit.
The work on the Lion Safari in the Fisher Forests near Etawah-Gwalior Highway was started in 2005 when Yadav was chief minister. The project could see no progress after the BSP government’s formation in 2007. Now, Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government has fast-tracked the project.
The safari will be spread on about 50 hectares in the Chambal region of the state.
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mulayams-safari-project-may-face-modi-hurdle/929405/0

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roar to lion conservation efforts in Gujarat!


AHMEDABAD: The roar of Asiatic lions in Gujarat just got louder. The conservation efforts of the state are now reflected not just in the growing numbers of the big cats but also in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

IUCN has now shifted the big cats from critically endangered species category to endangered species.

This change has been triggered by the state's undying conservation efforts and the growing populace of lions in Gujarat.

Asiatic lions of Gujarat were listed as critically endangered species in 2000. The IUCN list released recently has listed the 'lion king' in the endangered species category. IUCN officials have justified this change thus: "Asiatic lion exists as a single isolated population in India's Gujarat state. The number of mature lions has been increasing, all occurring within one subpopulation (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, and the numbers are stable, the subspecies is listed as Endangered based simply on the population size."

A senior Gujarat forest officer said that the IUCN report has quoted 2005 figures, which shows that the lion populace of Gujarat has 175 mature animals. But the 2011 census has revealed that the lion populace here consists of 97 males and 162 females. The forest officer added, "Going by the global criteria, if the population of adults is about 50 per cent of the total population it is considered to be healthy. In 2011, of the 411 lions, the adult population was 259."

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is globally recognized as the most comprehensive and objective approach in evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species.

Y V Jhala, head of the department of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, told TOI: "This report reflects the success of lion conservation in Gujarat. It is a feather in the cap for the state. Gujarat should now set a target to get the big cat listed in a further safer category - threatened species." 

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Roar-to-lion-conservation-efforts-in-Gujarat/articleshow/12420743.cms

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don’t bother Gir’s lions.

Author:  Anuradha Dutt
23 March 2012.

Shifting them out of Gujarat is a disastrous idea

In a piquant development, two BJP-ruled States are at loggerheads over the proposal to transfer some of Gujarat’s lions to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno Palpur sanctuary. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, whose personal involvement in lion conservation is well known, has again refused to grant Madhya Pradesh’s request for Asiatic lions on the grounds that these rare species would not be safe there. And he has good reason for saying so, given that all of Madhya Pradesh’s Panna National Park’s tigers, estimated to be 27, had been poached, with the fact coming to light only by early 2009.
This crime occurred after the nationwide uproar over disappearance of Rajasthan’s Sariska reserve’s 25-28 tigers, which led to the upgradation of Project Tiger into a statutory body, called the National Tiger Conservation Authority, in September 2006, and setting up of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau in June 2007.
The Kulo Palpur sanctuary, in addition to one more reserve in Madhya Pradesh and a third in Rajasthan, has been earmarked to harbour Namibian cheetahs as well. Former Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had approved the unrealistic plan for importing a dozen African cheetahs at an estimated cost of two crore rupees each.
The plan was put on hold after wildlife experts questioned its feasibility, pointing to the abject failure of authorities to protect tigers and even leopards, with the incidence of local people killing stray Panthera pardus being on the rise. Poaching has also reduced the number of leopards. Media reports this January that the Ministry of Environment and Forests, headed by Ms Jayanti Natarajan, would possibly clear the proposal to import cheetahs revived Indian wildlife experts’ worst fears. Apparently, Namibian experts, including Lorrie Marker, supposedly a cheetah specialist, had approved the 345 sq km area identified for cheetahs.
The cliched justification proffered for the scheme in the corridors of power is that cheetahs were once native to India. But so too were unicorns, judging by representations of these mythic creatures on Indus-Saraswati Valley seals. While no one knows what happened to unicorns, trophy hunters finished off cheetahs by 1947. Once here, poachers, no doubt, will get to work. Forest dwellers and people on the peripheries of wildlife reserves can also be expected to hunt down these swiftest of predators for their own and livestock protection or to feed the illicit wildlife trade.
Another reason forwarded by the Ministry  officials for importing cheetahs is that these big cats will help revive India’s grasslands as they survive in such terrain.
However, opponents of the scheme convincingly trash these arguments. They point out that the climate, terrain and prey base is very different from that of Africa’s, where cheetahs have managed to survive after relocation within the continent. Acclimatisation would pose the biggest problem for the Namibian carnivores. The species is different from Asiatic cheetahs, and introducing it here would violate the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Indian grasslands are not like Africa’s, where these carnivores survive easily. The prey base is also different. Here, chinkaras that would mainly constitute the prey base are on the decline. Moreover, cheetahs will have to compete with tigers and leopards for food and territory.
On top of this, if Asiatic lions from Gujarat, too, are brought into the same territory, the worst can be expected. The rapidly shrinking wildlife habitat, devoured by mining, agriculture, roads and colonisation, has resulted in grave man-animal conflicts, to the detriment of the latter.
Cheetahs have a chance of surviving only if they are given inviolate space. But this is impossible, considering that even tiger habitats are encroached upon by roads, hotels, Government project and, worst of all, poachers. Palpur Kuno is close to Ranthambore tiger sanctuary, and big cats often stray out of their areas.
If the grandiose intention of wildlife authorities in Madhya Pradesh is to have jungle safaris, hinging on the co-existence of lions, cheetahs, tigers and leopards in common territory, they seem to be overly ambitious.
They need to take care of the existing tiger reserves, especially Panna, which now has about five adults, brought in from other reserves, and their cubs. Rajasthan’s track record in protecting tigers is also blemished by the Sariska disaster.
Given this scenario, Gujarat’s lions are safer in their own habitat. The 2010 census showed the presence of 411 lions in the Gir National Park and its surroundings. In the early 20th century, these majestic creatures had been reduced by hunters to a meagre 15, before the Nawab of Junagadh declared the Gir forest area and its lions to be protected.
The national park and forest sanctuary were established in 1965. In an interview a couple of years ago, HS Panwar, former director, Project Tiger, credited the success of lion conservation in Gujarat to the fact that “the Government of Gujarat is seized of the matter right from the Chief Minister to field formations of forest and police departments.”
Local people are also opposed to the plan for transferring lions to Madhya Pradesh, which has been pending since 2009. However, a petition filed by a conservationist in the Supreme Court contends that in the event of an epidemic in the Gir forest, the whole population of Asiatic lions would be wiped out.
That, perhaps, is the only tenable reason for relocating some of them. But it certainly cannot be in tiger or cheetah territory.
Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51289-don%E2%80%99t-bother-gir%E2%80%99s-lions.html

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gujarat won’t share lions with Madhya Pradesh.

The people and Government of Gujarat have once again opposed the idea of relocating some of its Asiatic lions from Gir to Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.
A meeting of the State Wildlife Board, chaired by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, has reiterated Gujarat’s earlier stand that the Asiatic lions should not be shifted to Madhya Pradesh as the big cats may not be safe there.
This contentious issue is currently under the consideration of Supreme Court following a petition by a wildlife conservationist who has expressed apprehension that an epidemic in Gir forest might wipe out the entire species of the Asiatic lions.
At the last count in summer of 2010, there were 411 Asiatic lions in the 1,412 square kilometres of Gir National Park and the Sanctuary around it, the only natural habitat of this species of big cats.
But despite Gujarat’s good track record of conservation of the lions in Gir, the Madhya Pradesh Government had been demanding that some of the big cats should be shifted to Kuno Palpur reserve forest. The Gujarat Government has opposed the move all along.
The Gujarat State Wildlife Board members felt at the meeting that the Asiatic lions in Gir are the precious assets of Saurashtra region and, thus, they should not be shifted elsewhere.
The meeting was attended by Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel, Principal Secretary (Forest & Environment) SK Nanda, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Pradeep Khannan and many wildlife lovers.
Earlier in 2009, the villagers and animal lovers in and around Gir had protested against the Centre’s move to shift the lions to Kuno Palpur. The Madhya Pradesh Government had then approached the National Board of Wildlife to shift some of the Asiatic lions from Gir to Kuno Palpur.
The people of the Gir region had whole-heartedly supported the State’s Forest department officials in putting up a strong opposition to the move to shift the Asiatin lions.
Source: http://dailypioneer.com/nation/51050-gujarat-wont-share-lions-with-madhya-pradesh.html

Gujarat rejects proposal to relocate Gir lions to MP.

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Sun Mar 18 2012, 00:59 hrs
A meeting of the Gujarat State Wildlife Board and top officials, headed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, held on Saturday rejected a proposal to relocate Asiatic Gir lions to the Kuno/Palpur Park in Madhya Pradesh.
The meeting was reportedly held to prepare the state’s arguments for a scheduled Supreme Court hearing on the Asiatic lion relocation project on Monday. At the last hearing on February 21, the SC had held that animals belong to the country and not the states they are found in.
Gujarat asserted on Saturday that “Asiatic lions are a precious asset of Saurashtra region” and that “the question of relocating the lions to some other place without consent of the people of Saurashtra does not arise at all”.
The state has been opposing the proposed shifting of the lions from the Gir forests.
Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gujarat-rejects-proposal-to-relocate-gir-lions-to-mp/925131/

Battle for the jungle king is fast hotting up.

Mahesh Trivedi (Gujarat Going-on)
17 March 2012
March 19 could be the D-day for the 411 lions of Gujarat’s Gir forest. The Supreme Court has summoned officials of the Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (MP) as well as the National Board for Wildlife in India as it was likely to give its ruling over shifting of the big cats from its only abode near Junagadh.
The relations between the two Bharatiya Janata party-ruled states have been on the downward slope ever since MP made an aggressive demand for relocating some of the rare Asiatic lions to its Kuno Palpur sanctuary for which it has already made elaborate arrangements and spent millions of rupees.
Gujarat has been vehemently opposing the idea saying it did not want to lose its ‘Gujarati pride’ at any cost. Indeed, at a meeting chaired by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, state wildlife experts strengthened their resolve to protect the jungle king and vowed not to share even a few of them with MP under any circumstances.
According to Sanat Chavan, a former principal chief conservator of forests who has spent several years in the 1450-square-km, leafy Gir wildlife sanctuary, MP has a very limited prey base and poaching incidents are the order of the day. What’s more, while readying the Kuno park, Gujarat officials, who have been praised for their best conservation efforts, have neither been consulted nor invited for a visit to see the site chosen.
Also, now that the debt-ridden, state-run Tourism Corporation of Gujarat has been coining money due to massive influx of animal lovers into Gir following brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan’s publicity campaign, many believe the cash-strapped Modi regime was unlikely to agree to any plan for relocation of the majestic animals.
The Planning Commission has itself approved a project for the “Conservation of Asiatic lion in Greater Gir Region” to be implemented by the Gujarat government by 2017 at a cost of Rs2.6 billion, including the Central assistance of Rs2.3 billion, and the project also includes creation of infrastructure for the promotion of eco-tourism in the Gir forest.
But according to MP, keeping all the endangered lions in only one place was putting the dumb denizens into a death trap as an epidemic could wipe out the entire population of this last remaining species.
MP has also argued that the predators are outgrowing the claustrophobic forest and have nowhere to go, often resulting in attacks on human beings in the villages on the periphery of the jungle.
MP has won half the battle when the apex court recently observed that the carnivores are not the “property” of the state, but belong to the country, adding that no state could claim the right over an animal merely because it is housed in a particular state.
The National Board for Wildlife in India is also in favour of shifting a few prides of the Asiatic lions, much smaller than their African cousins, if only to maintain genetic diversity.
Source: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2012/March/international_March629.xml&section=international&col=

Gujarat gears up to halt relocation of Gir lions.

Published: Thursday, Mar 15, 2012, 15:36 IST
By Jumana Shah | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
The threat of Gujarat losing its hegemony over hosting the last breed of Asiatic Lions is getting real. Last month, during a hearing of the Asiatic lion relocation case in Supreme Court, the forest Bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and CK Prasad had remarked that the lions are not the “property” of the state but belong to the nation.
Following further arguments this Monday, opinion of the state wildlife board has now been sought by SC. Geared up for defense, a sudden meeting of the SWLB chaired by Narendra Modi has been called on Friday in Sachivalaya with the main agenda to discuss the arguments to be presented in the court, so as not to share the lions “under any circumstances” with Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno Palpur Sanctuary.
Even as the arguments are continuing, forest officials in Gujarat fear the worst. SC has also observed that the court’s concern is conserving the critically endangered species, rather than fighting over the ownership of the lions. Gujarat’s counsel Hemantika Vahi told DNA, “We are not disputing that they are national property. Our main argument is the limited prey base and poaching incidents reported from MP.” Hearing of the case has been scheduled for every Monday in Supreme Court. Arguments of the SWLB will be heard coming Monday, where National Board for Wildlife in India and MP officials have also been asked to remain present.
The NBWLI has supported the movement of a few prides to MP to save them from any epidemic and maintaining genetic diversity. Wildlife activist Faiyaz Khudsar had filed PIL in the SC requesting the translocation of the lions from Gir to Kuno on the grounds that a singular epidemic can wipe out the entire population.
Despite the ongoing Assembly session, chief minister Narendra Modi is expected to chair the meeting. "He has been personally following this matter since the case was filed in 2006," a senior forester said. Modi has taken over as chairman of SWLB since 2004, earlier held by the state's forest minister.
Though the neighbouring state is governed by BJP, Modi's equations with CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan are not known to be the best and the lions are believed to have contributed to it.State government has passionately refused to part with the lions and Modi has publicly 'promised' that "Gujarat's lions will not leave the state". Sources in the SWLB assert that the establishment is still in "no mood to part with the lions". Significantly, all of the nine members on the board seem to be in agreement. "Like the Narmada Dam project, this is a very sensitive issue involving Gujarati pride and ego. It is out and out a political issue. People of Saurashtra and politicians are on the same page on this," a member of the board said.
The lion population has witnessed a healthy rise in the last two decades in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Junagadh. The last census in 2010 pegged their numbers at 411 in the region. However, the issue of relocating some lions to neighbouring MP has gained momentum as the sanctuary spread over 1,436 sq km has exceeded its carrying capacity.
Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_gujarat-gears-up-to-halt-relocation-of-gir-lions_1662728

Illegal lion shows a roaring business in Gir sanctuary.

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Mar 15, 2012, 05.33AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Illegal lion shows continue in the outskirts of Gir sanctuary. Despite the forest department's efforts to curb this illicit trend that has heckled animal rights activists to no end, the practice of entertaining tourists by offering buffalos as bait for the Asiatic lions continues undeterred.
The modus operandi of the illegal lion show organizers is simple: An old and weak buffalo is tied in any farmland, close to the abode of lions. Later, as the sun sets the lions move out in search of food. As lions feed on the buffalo, the tourists who are present begin clicking photographs.
A senior officer said that on several occasions some of forest beat guards have also been found to be involved in such shows. Beat guards who are working in the area act as informers to various hotels in the region which promise 100% lion-sighting to tourists.
A senior forest officer said that there are some hotels and resorts in Dhari region that have been attracting tourists in this fashion. Dhari, said the sources, is not in the tourism circuit of Gir. Earlier, for lion sighting one had to drive around a long way to reach Sasan or Devaliya which are the official tourism sites within the sanctuary. However now, the illegal shows have begun drawing tourists to places which are on the outskirts of the sanctuary.
In the past, relatives of forest officials were found to have been involved in such illegal shows, said the officials. The sources said that the area near Dhari was notorious for such shows as lions often pass through, while moving out of the sanctuary towards Bhavnagar. The area of Dhari and Amreli forms the natural corridor.
Not just Amreli, but near Sasan too one could earlier find such illegal lions shows in Babra Virdi area towards the tourism zone.
Those organizing the show mint money. First, the show-organizer collects around Rs 5,000-10,000 from the tourists for a glimpse of lions eating the bait. Later, the same buffalo would be shown to the authorities as a productive animal which had been preyed upon by a lion. Proving this would entitle the buffalo owner to get a compensation ranging from Rs 8,000-10,000 from the forest department.
Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-03-15/ahmedabad/31196300_1_gir-sanctuary-illegal-lion-asiatic-lions

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Adopt Gir lion as national animal, says Parimal Nathwani

The Rajya Sabha Member from Jharkhand, Mr Parimal Nathwani, has urged the Government of India to adopt the Asiatic lion of Gir forest in Gujarat as the country’s national animal.
Mr Nathwani, who is also the Group President of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), raised the issue in the Upper House during the Question Hour, according to a press release here on Tuesday.
The Union Minister of Environment and Forest, Ms Jayanti Natarajan, replied that the Bengal tiger continued to be India’s national animal and there was no proposal under consideration with the Government to replace it with the Asiatic lion.
The Bengal tiger was adopted as India’s national animal in the place of lion at a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife in 1972. The main reasons were that tiger was important worldwide, it existed in 16 states in the country, and it needed to be protected strictly. On the other hand, lion was found only in one state, the Minister’s reply said.
The Government, however, admitted that the Gir forest was the only abode of Asiatic lion, Panthera leo persica, in the world. The population of Asiatic lions in Gir National Park, sanctuary and other areas of Greater Gir was estimated at 411 by the Government of Gujarat in 2010.
The Planning Commission had approved, in principle, a project for the “Conservation of Asiatic lion in Greater Gir Region” to be implemented by the Gujarat Government over a period of five years at a cost of Rs 262.36 crore, including Central assistance of Rs 236.63 crore. The project also included creation of infrastructure for the promotion of eco-tourism in the Gir forest.
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/economy/article2993720.ece?ref=wl_industry-and-economy 

PM should head Gir lions project: RIL group President.
The Group President of Reliance Industries Ltd and MP, Mr Parimal Nathwani, has demanded that the ‘Gir Lions Project’ should be headed by the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh.
Mr Nathwani, President of the Vadodara Stock Exchange Ltd, has also demanded that the Asiatic lion should be made the national animal, replacing the tiger.
“It is high time that the Gir lions project be headed by not less than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the lines of ‘Project Tiger’,” Mr Nathwani told PTI over phone yesterday.
“I met the Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest, Ms Jayanti Natarajan, and discussed the matter with her,” he said.
Mr Nathwani said according to Ms Natarajan, the Bengal tiger continues to be the national animal as there is no proposal under consideration to replace it with the Asiatic lion.
Mr Nathwani added that the cause of the Gir lions is close to his heart and he would continue to take it up at the appropriate level.
He said he has requested the Government to set aside more funds for the cause.
The Planning Commission has given in-principle approval to a project for the ‘Conservation of the Asiatic lion in the Greater Gir Region’ to be implemented by the Government of Gujarat over a period of five years at a cost of Rs 262.36 crore, which includes the Centre’s assistance of Rs 236.63 crore.
According to estimates, there are around 411 Asiatic lions in the Gir National Park and other areas of Greater Gir according to the last Gir lions census conducted in April 2010. 
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/article2993734.ece

No move to make lion national animal: Centre.



AHMEDABAD: The Centre has in the Rajya Sabha (RS) made it clear that there was no proposal to consider lion as national animal, replacing the tiger.
In reply to a question raised by Rajya Sabha member Parimal Nathwani, minister for environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan said, "Bengal tiger continues to be our national animal and there is no such proposal under consideration with the government to replace it with the Asiatic lion."
The government's reply stated that tiger was adopted as national animal in place of lion at a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife held in 1972. The main reasons included that tiger was important worldwide, it existed in as many as 16 states in the country and there was a need for its strict protection. However, lion was found only in one state. The issue was expected to be discussed in the RS, but it was adjourned because of the pandemonium on the issue of human rights of Tamil population in Sri Lanka.
The government in its reply said that Asiatic lions are found only in Gujarat and the population of lions is estimated to be around 411 as per the 2010 census. The planning commission had approved in principle a project for 'Conservation of Asiatic lion in Greater Gir Region,' which is spread over a period of five years. The total project cost was Rs 262.36 crore, which included central assistance of Rs 236.63 crore. The project also included creation of infrastructure for promotion of eco-tourism in Gir forest.
The RS member said Gir lions have a strong case to be a national animal. It is on the national emblem, which is sufficient for making it as national animal. A demand was also made to have a high power 'Project Gir Lions' headed by prime minister on the line of 'Project Tiger.'
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/No-move-to-make-lion-national-animal-Centre/articleshow/12255960.cms

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rampara Vidi gets gift of three lion cubs.


RAJKOT:
Three cubs born to a lioness at Rampara Vidi near here a week ago are healthy and so is their mother. This is a good news from conservation point of view with regard to Asiatic lions. Rampara Vidi centre, not accessible to people, was set up by the state forest department for preservation of gene pool (complete set of unique alleles in a species) of Asiatic lions.
"The cubs and the mother are being monitored through CCTV cameras and they are doing well. The weight of each cub is about 1.5 kg. They are under constant care of veterinary doctors," said a senior forest official.
"Earlier, in August, 2011, a lioness had given birth to three cubs- two females and a male. Now, another lioness has give birth to three cubs. This will add to the success of lion conservation project in the state. Some lions were shifted from Gir forest to Rampara Vidi in 2010 for gene pool conservation,'' the official said.
There are now 14 Asiatic lions, including six cubs, at Rampara Vidi. Gir forest, the last abode of Asiatic lions, has an estimated population of 411 lions.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Rampara-Vidi-gets-gift-of-three-lion-cubs/articleshow/12224538.cms

India’s lions still being killed, face uncertain future.


A lion inside the Gir Sanctuary in Western India.

| 11 March 2012
MUMBAI: India’s last remaining lion sanctuary is facing more losses as at least 25 Asiatic Lions at the Gir Sanctuary in Western India were lost last year, the Gujarat assembly was told by local wildlife experts.
Over the past three years, as many as 86 lions were reported dead in the sanctuary, one of the last remaining refuges for the endangered Asiatic lion species.
Established in 1965, with a total area of 1412 kilometers and 1153 kilometers for the Sanctuary, the park is located 65 kilometers to the south-east of Junagadh and 60 kilometers to south west of Amreli.
As per the 2010 census, there were around 297 lions in Gir Sanctuary (59 males, 121 females, lions in teens 35, 61 cubs and 21 whose age could not be ascertained).
There were 411 lions (a rise of 52 over 2005) in all, in the entire Gir forest region which extends beyond the Sanctuary, upto Amreli and Bhavanagar districts of the state, as per 2010 census.
In a written reply to query of Congress MLA from Karjan, Chandudabi, forest minister Mangu Patel informed that 85 lions died natural deaths in last three years.
25 lions had died through December 2011, and 30 lions each died in the years 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Asiatic lions are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s endangered species list.
An Indian representative of CITES – the international body that oversees the trade in endangered species – told Bikyamasr.com on condition of anonymity, that “India must begin to do a better job with maintaining the conditions for these animals because there is no excuse to have this high of a number killed or die annually.”
The Indian government has said it is boosting its funding for national wildlife refuges and hopes to increase the number of individuals helping to protect its native animals in the country.
BM
Source: http://bikyamasr.com/61522/indias-lions-still-being-killed-face-uncertain-future/

Gir Sanctuary lost 86 lions in three years.


Gir Sanctuary lost 86 lions in three yearsLast Updated: Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Gandhinagar: The last abode of Asiatic Lions, Gir Sanctuary, lost 25 lions in the year 2011-12 till December, the Gujarat Assembly was informed today.
Total of 86 lion deaths were reported in the last three years in Gir.
As per the 2010 census, there were around 297 lions in Gir Sanctuary (59 males, 121 females, lions in teens 35, 61 cubs and 21 whose age could not be ascertained).=
There were 411 lions (a rise of 52 over 2005) in all, in the entire Gir forest region which extends beyond the Sanctuary, upto Amreli and Bhavanagar districts of the state, as per 2010 census.
In a written reply to query of Congress MLA from Karjan, Chandudabi, Forest Minister Mangu Patel informed that 85 lions died natural deaths in last three years.
25 lions had died till December 2011, and 30 lions each had died in the years 2009-10 and 2010-11. One lion died in a fight with another.
Asiatic lions figure in International Union for Conservation of Nature's endangered species list.
PTI
Source: http://zeenews.india.com/news/eco-news/gir-sanctuary-lost-86-lions-in-three-years_762501.html

Cute – but endangered – The Lions of Gir

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Please go to source link (at the end) to view some good photographs by Mr. Uri Golman.
Posted by International League of Conservation Photographers on March 5, 2012