Friday, November 29, 2013

65 S Gujarat villages declared eco-sensitive.

TNN Nov 23, 2013, 12.20PM IST
SURAT: Mining of natural resources can't be done in the 65 villages of the three districts of Dang, Navsari and Tapi of south Gujarat. No township and industrial estate can be set up in these villages, not even a thermal power station. The construction projects will have to be smaller than 20,000 sq metre now on in the 40 villages of Dang, five in Vasda taluka of Navsari district and rest of Songadh, Utchal and Vyara talukas of Tapi district as they have been declared eco-sensitive by the Forest and Environment Ministry of the Union Government on November 13.
"This step is to protect the Western Ghats areas that fall in six states. This will help improve environment in these 65 villages of south Gujarat, which too are in Western Ghats," an official of Forest and Environment Ministry said.

Navsari district collector Sandhya Bhullar said, "We are yet to receive the Union ministry notification."
Dang district collector GR Chaudhary too said he has so far not received any communication in this regard declaring the villages in the district as eco-sensitive.
This announcement has created discontent among some sections of rural and tribal population in the three districts. "There is not much development in Dang compared to other districts. Now if some villages in Dang are declared eco-sensitive, then the youth would be forced to migrate from there to some other place for employment opportunities. The issue of migration for employment is already acute in Dang," a young tribal from Ahwa said.

Curative petition gives lifeline to Gujarat.

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013, 11:48 IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
DNA Correspondent 

The Supreme Court disposing of Gujarat government’s review petition in the lion translocation matter has not come as a surprise to many forest officials. In fact, according to them the decision was expected.
They, however, also believe that all is not lost as the government now plans to file a curative petition along with the new International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines, to turn the tide in their favour.
“The SC rarely reverses its decision, as is seen in 90% of such cases. But the curative petition may hold some hope. Unlike the review petition, the court will have to hear both the parties before pronouncing its verdict. Also, the IUCN guidelines will exert pressure in form of stringent measures preceding the translocation,” said a forest department official, requesting anonymity.
Former chief wildlife warden of Gujarat, GA Patel, too, agreed that dismissal of the review petition was not a surprise. “That is how most of the review petitions end but we can still prove our point in the curative petition. Also, the new IUCN guidelines demand fulfillment of certain conditions.  In this case, as far as I know, Madhya Pradesh will fall short of fulfilling these,” said Patel. A wildlife activist also agreed about the IUCN guidelines role as the clincher. “Even the SC in its verdict agreed that IUCN guidelines need to be followed which are not being fulfilled in this case. This may help Gujarat’s cause,” said the activist.
Lavkumar Khachar, a prominent member of the state wildlife board, said that in the debate, the main question of the safety of the lions is being ignored. “Today in Gujarat, the lions have grown in numbers and spread beyond their original territory and are yet safe. Will that be possible in the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary? I doubt, because had that been the case, tigers would have been spreading out in Madhya Pradesh, which is not happening,” said Khachar.
He further added that he was not happy with the way lion conservation programme was being handled in Gujarat. “It can still be improved. In fact the wildlife institute of India should be helping the Gujarat government help conserve the lions better,” he said.

Gujarat to question MP's claims on prey base.

TNN Nov 21, 2013, 04.29AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government plans to file a curative petition seeking another look at the Supreme Court order of Tuesday which rejected the state government's review petition against the April 15 apex court order allowing the translocation of some of Gir lions to Madhya Pradesh.
The basis of Gujarat government's curative petition is likely to be its argument that the Madhya Pradesh forest department's data claiming that the prey base in Kuno-Palpur was growing was not reliable. The Gujarat forest department wants to pose a question before MP officials that if the prey base in Kuno-Palpur had increased manyfold, why was the population of predators not increasing?
Sources in the forest department said on Wednesday that the signed order of the Supreme Court's Tuesday verdict had not been received, either by the advocate or the department officials. After it gets a signed order, the department will send it for the opinion of a senior advocate. The opinion of a senior advocate is mandatory before filing of a curative petition.

"Since the department has to depend on the same arguments as it had put forward in the previous petitions, the curative petition would like to catch the MP government on its own turf - its claim that prey base in Kuno-Palpur was growing. During the hearing in the apex court, the Madhya Pradesh government had claimed that the prey base in Kuno-Palpur was more than that of Gir protected sanctuary. The April 15 Judgment has noted that prey base, including feral cattle, has increased from 63.97 animals per sq km in 2006 to 85.91 in 2011," he said. This was an increase of about 23 animals per sq km.
Gujarat officials say that the MP forest department has claimed that the population excluding feral cattle has increased from 17.5 animals per sq km in 2004 to around 70 animals in 2013. Officials said that the department will raise a question that if the prey base was increasing, why was there no permanent population of leopards and tigers in the Kuno Sanctuary? Kuno was earlier known for tiger and leopards.
The officials further said that the behaviour of lion pride would be given importance in the curative petition. The officials said that the department will also reply on the recent report of two members of the Supreme Court-appointed committee set up to monitor translocation. Citing this report, the department will again emphasize on Kuno's gun culture and drive home the point that lions are not safe in Kuno Palpur.
Apart from arguing about the new translocation guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gujarat government will also reply on the Wildlife Protection Act. The government intends to put forward a technical argument that the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act-1972 had been violated.
The act says that no translocation process can be started without the permission of the chief wildlife warden of the state where the animal belongs. The permission has to be sought even if one animal has to be shifted for research. The Gujarat government alleges that no such permission was sought and yet the Madhya Pradesh government had started investing in Kuno-Palpur.
Gujarat forest officials said that they will also quote from the study, 'Genetic variation in Asiatic lions and Indian tigers' jointly prepared by the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad; Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata; and Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Soon, action plan to conserve threatened plant species in Gujarat.

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Oct 31, 2013, 09.10PM IST
AHMEDABAD: The state is starting to prepare its own list of threatened and near extinction plant species. The state forest department and the Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (Geer) Foundation have begun putting together a list of the 40 most threatened species.
Gujarat has around 2,400 plant species. The state's threatened plant species have already been listed by the Botanical Survey of India and even the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
"The department has decided to have its own list for wild angiosperm plants of the state. Once our own list is ready, we will prepare conservation assessment and management plan for the plant species which are on the verge of extinction or are threatened," says principal chief conservator of forest C N Pandey.
The department will gauge the value and usefulness of the plant and draw up an action plan. If the usefulness of the plant for the people is more it would be preferred during the various tree plantation drives. The others would be grown in the botanical gardens to be set up in the state.
As concern for environmental degradation increases, the need for conservation action has become imperative, an official says. What species to conserve and how and where to conserve, are some of the issues that need to be addressed urgently.
Earlier similar attempts at conservation were based on research conducted by individual scientists or botanists and confined to a few species. The process of red-listing is long and time consuming and involves in-depth and intensive field studies of each species.
Geer Foundation director Bharat Pathak says, "We have identified 272 species which are threatened. Now with the help of experts, we are going to shorten the list and then prepare a complete report on each of the plant species, its importance and other aspects included in the count. Once this is completed, the department will prepare a final list of 40 species."
According to international guidelines, regional assessment of threat status of species has to be carried out, thus prompting conservation action in every geographical region. For the 40 species that are put on the list, information on range distribution, extent of occurrence, trade, habitat specification, forest cover and its loss will be collected and compiled from different sources.

Plastic invades lion’s abode.

Supreme Court dismisses review plea on shifting of Gir lions.

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013, 11:53 IST | Place: Gandhinagar | Agency: DNA
Sumit Khanna

Curative petition is now the only legal resort left with the state govt to try and retain its pride of Asiatic Lions.
- Shamshad Alam/DNA
While the chief minister may be roaring loud across election rallies in Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court, however, turned his government’s roar, seeking a review of its April order on translocation of Asiatic Lions, into a whimper recently. It dismissed the state government’s plea to re-evaluate the apex court’s April order to shift the big cats from Gir to MP’s Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary. Undoubtedly, the court’s decision dealt yet another blow to Gujarat’s hopes of not having to part with its pride.
The SC had in April dismissed Gujarat government’s petition opposing translocation of lions. It had noted that the species was under threat of extinction and needed a second home. The court had given six months time for the translocation. However, the government had filed a review petition in the Court, which too has now been dismissed. “The review petition was rejected by the Supreme Court in the first week of November. The Bench did not find merit in the petition and rejected it,” said a senior official.
HK Dash, additional chief secretary of forest & environment department, confirmed that the review petition has been disposed of by the Supreme Court, but said that they haven’t received the detailed order.
Asked about the future strategy of the government as far as the case is concerned, Dash said, “The state government will take the required action after holding consultations with experts in the field.”
Officials said that the state government still has the option to file a curative petition before the Supreme Court as a last legal resort to avoid parting with the big cat.
According to officials, there are around 400 Asiatic lions in the Gir sanctuary currently.
The search for a second home for Asiatic lions was started in the early 1990s over concerns of losing the entire lion population to an epidemic or a natural calamity. The Wildlife Institute of India had carried out a survey in 1993-94 and zeroed in on Palpur Kuno for translocating some of the lions. Even as MP readied the sanctuary, Gujarat was reluctant in sharing the lions, as a result of which, the dispute landed in court. In court, Gujarat government had opposed shifting of lions to MP, saying they would not be safe there as the central state had failed to conserve its own tiger population in the Panna reserve forest. It had also contended that it had sufficient infrastructure and will to conserve the lion population and it was not advisable to translocate them. However, the government seems to have been left with limited choice after the twin setbacks in apex court.
After the Guj govt lost the battle in the SC in April, its manner of handling the issue had drawn criticism from various quarters. Many wildlife experts had opined that Gujarat’s pitch in Apex court had shifted from scientific arguments to emotional ones, particularly by equating the Asiatic Lions with Gujarati Pride.

Protecting Gir's lions: Kuno's gun culture worries experts.

AHMEDABAD: Two lion experts, Ravi Chellam and YV Jhala, have expressed concern in their report over the gun culture, anti-social activities and poaching that is rampant around Kuno wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh where some of the Gir lions are to be shifted.

The report, 'Action plan for the reintroduction of the Asiatic lion in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary Madhya Pradesh,' recommends that the gun culture in the region needs to be dealt with appropriately without disturbing local socio-economic customs.

"A large majority of the people in the area own weapons, mostly licensed guns," says paragraph 19 of the report. It states that people from lower economic strata depend on livelihoods based on forest products. These people have to be provided with alternative livelihood options.

The report says that 40% of the revenue generated from the lion reintroduction project should percolate to local marginalized communities if anti-social activities are to be reduced and gun culture restricted. "This will substantially prevent them from joining in anti-social activities. Deliberations should be made to dissuade the local gangs of dacoits and poachers and rehabilitate them in the mainstream of society," the report suggests.

The report raises concerns over poaching incidents.

Experts said that Kuno has people who, on an average, eat meat once a week or once a month. A large number of residents eat meat daily, the report says. People in the area own guns, bows and arrows and catapults. "If the natural prey base [for the lions] is to be enhanced, poaching activities will have to be controlled," states the report.

It further says that a proper rehabilitation plan for awarding market-based compensation against the death of livestock and destruction of crop have to be designed.

Chellam and Jhala have said that there are chances of people getting severely injured or killed during the initial years of reintroduction of the lion as the local community in Kuno does not have any memorable experience of living with either lions or tigers.

"Gir lions attack and maul humans in accidental interfaces. An ex gratia compensation scheme has to be introduced and revised regularly so as to circumvent hostility among local communities," the report says. It goes on to suggest that victims of a lion attack or their kin have to be provided employment with the forest department.

Kuno lion translocation report mum on conservation.

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat is being forced to share its pride - the Gir lions - with Madhya Pradesh just so that the neighbouring state becomes a more attractive tourist destination, and not to protect this species from extinction. This is how experts are reading the latest 50-page report by two wildlife experts who have been asked to draw up a protocol for the translocation. The report focuses on benefits from tourism and conservation of other flora and fauna in the region.

The Supreme Court had approved the translocation to Kuno Palpur sanctuary to preserve the lions. The first line of its April 15, 2012 order states: "We have been called upon to decide the necessity of a second home for Asiatic Lion, an endangered species, for its long term survival and to protect the species from extinction..."

Page three and four of 'Action Plan for the reintroduction of the Asiatic Lions in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh', prepared by two lion experts Y V Jhala and Ravi Chellam, lists six aims for translocation. But conservation is missing.

In fact, it gives 'developing capacities of local communities to coexist with wild animals' as one of the aims, implicitly admitting that villagers there aren't used to large carnivores next door. TOI had reported earlier that the villages around Kuno Palpur have some of highest guns per capita in the country.

Chellam told TOI, "This is a draft report. We are open to suggestions. The report was prepared under tremendous pressure and certain points may have been missed."

An expert, who is part of the 12-member committee appointed by the SC for translocation said, "The committee should have listed conservation as the main and long-term aim, instead of talking of tourism and benefits to local people."

He further pointed out that the report talks of 3,330 sq km area as a landscape for the lions, but the current area at Kuno Palpur is just around 345 sq km. No one has a clue where the additional 2,980 sq km will come from.

--Provide adequate security to local flora and fauna --Better protection of the habitat within Kuno sanctuary. This will enable conservation of other endangered species --Build capacity of MP forest department in habitat and prey management --Generate benefits for local people through development of wildlife tourism and ancillary activities --Develop capacities of local communities to coexist with wild animals

Junagarh zoo to provide two pairs for Lion Safari.

Faiz Rahman Siddiqui, Nov 4, 2013, 10.07AM IST
KANPUR: The Lion Safari in Etawah will soon get four more lions. The Sakarbaug Zoo of Junagadh in Gujarat has decided to part way with two pairs of Asiatic lion for Samajwadi Party supremo's dream project.
The two pairs would arrive at Lucknow Zoo in next few days. With this, the state capital zoo would house three pairs of Asiatic lions."We have already procured two pairs of Asiatic lions from Hyderabad and Rajkot zoos. While a pair is kept in Lucknow zoo and the other is house in Kanpur zoo.
Soon we will get four more lions from Sakarbaug zoo in Junagadh. These lions will be initially kept at Lucknow Zoo and would be shifted to the breeding centre at the safari by January next year. The work at the Lion Safari is in its final stage of completion," said Lion Safari director, Gurmeet Singh.
Plantation of grass, trees and plants is already complete. "We have planted 'Deenanath', 'Kareel' and 'Khair' grass to develop Lion habitat. Similarly, a good number of saplings of 'neem', 'sheesham', 'chokhar' and 'ardu' have been planted to keep the foliage as realistic as possible to the lion's natural setting," said another senior Forest department official while talking to TOI.
Once the Safari gets developed, the state government would open the place for tourists, he said further. It would be the second-of-its-kind project after Gujarat with world-class facilities for the upkeep of royal beast. Once the facilities are in place, visitors can drive through a thoroughfare, spotting royal animal roaming in the safari.
Meanwhile, the development work at Lion Safari is in full swing these days for Asiatic lions. Some 150.83 hectares in Fisher Reserve Forest area on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari, in 2005.
However, it was shelved by Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after Samajwadi Party returned to power in March 2012. The Union ministry of Environment and Forest approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.
The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crore for the Lion Safari project. The government had authorized Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for the construction and execution of the Lion safari.Facilities for visitors: Parking, toilet, ticket counter, children park, interpretation center, bus stay, rest-shed, cafetaria, rain shelter and souvenir centre.
Facts: The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single isolated population in Gujarat State. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small population size.

Wildlife photographer paralysed for 4 months, now healed.

Sunday, Nov 24, 2013, 9:46 IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Somita Pal

Bhushan Pandya undergoes successful craniovertebral fixation operation in Lilavati Hospital after a fall in the Gir forest in July.
Pandya at the Lilavati Hospital in Bandra.
Pandya at the Lilavati Hospital in Bandra. - Puneet Chandhok/DNA
Wildlife photographer Bhushan Pandya, 58, is back on his feet after being bedridden with paralysis since July. The Rajkot-resident had a fall in Gir forest in July this year. Now, an operation and subsequent medical treatment at Lilavati Hospital later, and he is all set to walk out of hospital a healed man.
“When he was air-lifted to the hospital, he had zero power in all four limbs. His head was hanging. It was a tough and critical operation,” said Dr Atul Goel, his consultant neuro-surgeon.
“The impact of the accident was so bad that the bones in the cranio-cervical region (the junction of the skull and neck) was in pieces.”
He further added that they used the technique of ‘craniovertebral fixation’. “This technique was first described by me and Dr V Laheri in 1988 and now used worldwide. We use plates and screws to fix the broken bones. In Pandya’s case it was the toughest task to hunt the broken pieces of bone and fix them,” said Dr Goel.
Talking to dna, Pandya said that he believes he was there at right place at right time that helped him get a second lease of life. “I was on my way to Sasan-Gir in my car to shoot. It was raining heavily that day. My car slipped and toppled. Luckily there was someone behind me who called an ambulance and rushed me to hospital. Seeing my condition, the doctors referred me to Dr Goel as no one wanted to take up such a risky surgery,” said Pandya.
Pandya has been a wildlife photographer for three decades and has been doing conservation-related photography since 1994. “I spoke for the first time after one and half months, after the accident. My family was in tears. For the last two weeks, I am able to walk with support and within weeks I should be able to walk on my own,” said Pandya.
Dr Goel was all praise for Pandya’s willpower. He said, “80 % of people with this kind of injury don’t survive. But Pandya has come out of this and now dreams of playing badminton again and clicking photographs.”

Lioness found dead in suspicious circumstances near Gir forest.

Press Trust of India  |  Amreli 
Last Updated at 22:21 IST

The body of a six-year-old lioness was found in a well in Fifat village of Savarkundla taluka of the district near the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, with forest department officials suspecting foul play in the death.

"The body of a lioness was found in the well of a farm at Fifat village. Injury marks were found on her body after it was inspected," state forest department officials said.

"It was revealed that the animal's neck was caught in a trap laid by the farm owner to stop wild animals from entering his field," officials said.

"The body was later dragged to the well and thrown inside it to make it look like an accidental death due to drowning," officials said.

The forest department has registered a case and started probing the issue, they said.

Four arrested for illegal stay and entry in Gir.

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Nov 19, 2013, 12.25PM IST
AHMEDABAD: Increasing tourist pressure on Gir Wildlife Sanctuary has also led to increase in the incidents of illegal entry and stay within the protected area. On Monday, the forest department arrested four tourists, including two women, from Amreli. They had had not only entered the sanctuary illegally, but also stayed at Suvardi Nes.
According to a forest official, this is not the first incident of this type. Ever since the tourist inflow increased from Diwali on November 3, there has been nine incidents of illegal entry into the sanctuary. The forest department has caught these tourists and has also collected a fine of Rs 74,000 from them.
Deputy conservator of forests, Gir west, Kasuladev Ramesh, said, "On Monday, the department arrested four persons, including two women, who spent night in the protected area. These four, who were in a car registered in Amreli, were identified as Nikunj Jikani and Nainaben Jikani, residents of Bagasara, Gopal Pipaliya and Sheetal Pipaliya, residents of Jamkandorna. They were arrested and produced in the court."
He said in the past eight cases of illegal entry, offenders have been arrested and a fine of Rs 74,000 has been collected from them. "During the festive season, seeing the inflow of tourists, the department increased patrolling and erected watch towers on sanctuary borders to prevent illegal entries. We also kept a vigil on guesthouses and farmhouses, which have earlier been involved in such activities," the deputy conservator of forests added.
Officials also said that when a tourist failed to get a permit, he/she was approached by many local residents, who were either guides or forest staffers. "Aware of the location of lions, these staffers or locals took the tourists on a night safari. In majority of instances, this was outside the sanctuary, while in areas in Talala and Sasan, it was inside the sanctuary. With just limited issuing of permits by the department, there was utter chaos and people had to stand in line from midnight," the officials added.
Similarly, on Dhari-Tulshiyam Road, which connects Diu, about 80,000 permits for four-wheelers were issued by the department. This was an indication of the increased pressure on the sanctuary during the festive season, an official said.

Devotees litter parts of Gir forest; admin to launch clean up.

Last Updated: Sunday, November 17, 2013, 19:51
Vadodara: The Department of Forest and Junagadh Municipal Corporation will jointly begin a cleanup drive to remove garbage from parts of Gir sanctuary, dumped there by devotees while on pilgrimage to Mount Girnar.

"Around 7.73 lakh devotees from various parts of the country participated in the four-day 'Lili Parikrama' which concluded at Mount Girnar today. However, in the process, devotees left behind liquor pouches, gutkha packets, water bottles and other debris," said Aradhna Sahu, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Junagadh Range).

As part of the drive, which is expected to kick off in next two days, a huge quantity of plastic (estimated about 200 tonne) will be removed from the 36-km route of the 'Parikrama', which passed through the sanctuary that houses Asiatic lions she told.

The officer said the number of devotees who participated in the 'parikrama' increased this year.

"This year, we installed dustbins enroute the parikrama and appealed to people to not litter the ground. Police department even distributed bags to devotees for storing garbage so as to maintain cleanliness of the sanctuary route," Sahu added.

She cited previous instances where plastic bags were found in the stomach of several herbivores like Chital, Sambhar and Nilgai which died in the forest. "They are main prey base for big cats," she added.

"Plastic waste when consumed by herbivores clogs their intestine which results in their death. Lions usually don't eat plastic but the fear of them consuming it while feasting on the prey, is always there," Sahu said.

Junagadh Municipal Commissioner Vipra Bal is monitoring the cleanup operation in the area for which 50 scavengers, 15 containers, tractors, dumper and other machinery is being deployed.

Children from neighbouring schools are also participating in the drive.

"We will assist in the clean-up drive to ensure that plastic lying strewn is removed from the Sanctuary route in Gir," said BJP MLA Mahendra Mashru.

Gir cow milk to reach Krishna District soon.

G. Sudarshana Rao at his farm with Gir breed cows at Veerankilakulu in Krishna district. Photo:V. Raju
The Hindu G. Sudarshana Rao at his farm with Gir breed cows at Veerankilakulu in Krishna district. Photo:V. Raju
Sumit Bhattacharjee
Updated: November 13, 2013 15:07 IST

‘Gir cow fed with a special feed can produce milk that has medicinal values’

Milk from Gir breed of cows that originally inhabited the Gir Forest in Saurashtra region of Gujarat, are here in Krishna District, thanks to the entrepreneur-turned-medico G. Sudarsana Rao, who has set up a dairy at Veerankilakulu village in Vuyyuru mandal.
In an exclusive chat with The Hindu, he said that the Gir breed of cows give milk that contains conjugated lineolic acid, which has been proved to be an anti-cancer compound.
The claim that Gir cow milk not only prevents but controls diabetes is not yet settled. As per ongoing research by Sai Butcha Rao, a research associate at International Livestock Research Institute, ICRISAT, Patancheru, if the Gir cow is fed with a special feed it could produce milk that has medicinal values to stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin and thereby control diabetes.
According to him, the mention of this breed was made in the Vedas and the Brazilians had taken thousands of cows of this breed to their country centuries ago from Gujarat.
Today, the breed is called Girolando in Brazil, he said. The breed is on the verge of extinction in its native country, he claims. “Today, there are about 15,000 of these cows left in Gujarat. And to save the breed the Gujarat Government has embarked on an ambitious breeding project at a cost of Rs.1,400 crore,” he added.
Dr. Sudarsana Rao said that the Gir cow milk was lighter compared to others, has high concentration of calcium, proteins and vitamins D and C and is sweet and tasteful.
To begin with, he has imported about 34 animals and aims to have a stock of 400 in a year. Terming the milk as ‘organic milk’ under the brand Ayush Organic Product, he said: “No milk is organic, but it becomes organic based on the organic feed that is fed to the cattle.”
No chemical used
The farm has a hydroponic machine that produces tailor-made green organic fodder. The imported machine can generate fodder from seeds such as barley or horseshoe gram in a controlled environment. For every 1.25 kg. of seed we can get green and highly nutrient organic fodder up to 8 to 10 kg. and the facility can be easily expanded depending on the requirement, he observed.
Dr Rao also pointed out that no chemical is used in the processing. “The milk that is extracted goes directly to the chilling machine and is chilled at 2 degrees and immediately packed and transported in insulated boxes, where the temperature is maintained at 3 degree Celsius,” he said.
According to him, the yield of the native breed is much less compared to the Holstein Friesian (HF) breed. Initially, the milk will be marketed in half and one-litre packets in Hyderabad and later sold at other major cities such as Vijayawada and Guntur through select outlets. The farm will be inaugurated by Animal Husbandry Director D. Venkateswarulu on Wednesday.

No illegal entry.

Express News Service : Mon Nov 11 2013, 04:02 hrs No illegal entry

Amid a mad rush to grab a look at the lions at Sasan Gir during the festival season, several tourists, who tried to break the law, were caught by forest officials and fined. Forest rangers caught 10 men entering the Gir forest area without permission in two incidents and imposed a fine of Rs 22,000 on them. "There is a heavy rush of tourists at Sasan Gir. Those who do not get permission, tend to enter the sanctuary area by any means. We have formed special teams of forest guards to check such activities," said a top forest officer.

Five lions back in Gir forest after medical treatment.

Last Updated: Sunday, November 10, 2013, 19:37

Vadodara: Five lions, including two cubs, were released back into the wild by forest officials near Kotamba in Amreli district, after treating them for various diseases.

"A group of five lions, including a male lion (9), two females and two cubs, were released in the wild on Thursday after they were treated at Jasadhar medical centre," said Deputy Conservator of Forest, Sasan Gir (West), Anshuman Sharma.

He said the big cats were admitted in the centre in the last week of September after forest officials found them attacking cattle and straying into human habitation.

"This group of lions has been suffering due to pains and injuries caused due to various diseases and attacks. They attacked cattle and caused damage to the fields, triggering panic among people," he told PTI today.

Sharma said forest officials initially thought the adult lions were displaying this kind of peculiar behaviour due to mating season, but it turned out that they were suffering from diseases.

"The forest department had set up a ring cage (used in circus) for catching the big cats near Kotamba village. They were shifted to Jasadhar centre which is fully equipped with all necessary gadgets and instruments required for providing medical treatment to them," the officer said.

He said the lions were shifted to an observation centre at Timbarva before they were finally released in the wild.

Sharma said the foresters use electronic gadgets to monitor movement of big cats in the Asia's only habitat at Sasan and to detect if they are suffering from any disease or injured.

"Lions are territorial animals. They do not allow another group of lions to enter into their territory," said Sharma.

Two leopards found dead in and around the Gir forest area.

Gir lions expand home range, two spotted in Rajkot taluka.

Sat Nov 02 2013, 03:54 hrs
Buttresting the claim of Gujarat government that lions are expanding their home range, two male lions were reportedly sighted in Jasdan taluka of Rajkot district, around 100 km away from Gir forests in Amreli district on Friday. The two lions raided one Lakhu Bharwad's enclosure of cows in Dolatpara village, some 35 km south of Jasdan and preyed on four cows at around 4 am, Jasdan Range Forest Officer (RFO) Mahendrasinh Vaishnav said. "A farm labourer of the village claimed to have seen the two big cats. Pug marks also suggest that the cats were lions," Vaishnav further said.
Incidentally, the same lions had reportedly been camping in Gondal taluka for the past week. Gondal is also more than 50 km away from Gir forest, the only natural habitat of the endangered Asiatic lions, in Amreli and Junagadh districts.
"They are the same two sub-adult male lions which were reported in the neighbouring Gondal taluka. Our rescue team is following their movement to prevent any untoward incident," Sandeep Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forest (wildlife division, Sasan Gir), said. He denied media reports that the forest officers were trying to guide the lions back to Gir forest. "This is a natural procedure of lions for establishing their new territories. We shall not trap and bring them to the rescue centre in Sasan. Since Jasdan has some grassland, it is possible the two might stay as prey will be available there," Kumar said.
Besides numerous patches of social forestry, Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary, is also located in Jasdan. The sanctuary is home to blue bulls, Indian gazelle and ungulates which are prey of lions. The sighting of the two lions in Jusdan underpins the claim of officers of the State Forest Department that the big cats are winning their territory back and need not be translocated for better survival of the species.

Lions kill 4 cattle heads in Jasdan village.

TNN Nov 2, 2013, 02.22AM IST

RAJKOT: Lions made four cattle heads their prey in Dolatpar village of Jasdan taluka in Rajkot on Thursday. Forest department officials said two lions wandering in villages of Gondal and Kotda-Sangani talukas and have now entered villages of Jasdan taluka.
Range forest officer in Jasdan M C Vaishnav said four cows from the herd of Lakhubhai Bharwad in Dolatpar village were killed by lions. "The lions continue to be around the village. We are tracking the pug marks of lions and are closely monitoring their movements," he added

Earlier this week, the lions killed cattle in Bildi, Vinjuvadi and Sanala villages of Gondal taluka and Bhadva village in Kotda-Sangani taluka of Rajkot. Bhadva is about 25km away from Rajkot city. Dolatpar village is about 35km from Jasdan and 60km from Rajkot.
Rescue teams from Sasan-Gir have been tracking the lions for their safety. "The situation turns difficult as large number people rush to the spot on hearing about the lions' presence. We have to keep people away from lions as they do not understand the wildcat's behavior and try to go close to them," an official said.
Officials believe that the two male lions may have come from Chandgadh area in Amreli district wandering in search of new territory.
Sources said over the last two decades lions have dispersed from Gir forest, which was a core area of Asiatic lions. Analysis of direct and indirect evidence like sightings, prey and pugmarks show that the kingdom of lions is spread over 1,050 villages in three districts of Saurashtra region.
"Lions have dispersed from Gir forest to other areas over a period of time in search of new habitat and resources. From 1997, lions began to stray in the eastern revenue areas of Amreli and Bhavnagar districts. At present, lions occupy an area over 16,000 square kilometre in Saurashtra spread over in three districts-Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar," an official said.