Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lion attacks cattle 45km from Rajkot.

RAJKOT: Asiatic lions are coming close to Rajkot!

The frequency of the lions preying on cattle in villages close to the city is increasing. On Saturday night, a lion killed domestic cattle in Nadala village in Babra taluka of Amreli district. The village is roughly 45 km from Rajkot.

According to sources, the lion killed a bullock in the farm of Jesing Vakotar.

"Farmers in these villages never expected that a lion would kill their cattle. They were very scared as they had never seen lions in their surroundings before. However, the lion abandoned its prey and escaped from the spot when people gathered," sources in the village said.

On Sunday too, a lion preyed on some cattle in the area. Forest department officials rushed to the spot and have started monitoring the lion's movement.

"It seems that the lion may have come from Liliya-Krakach area. We are trying to ascertain the area from where it may have come. Chances are that the lion may have strayed out of the Dhari forest range as well," a senior forest official said.

Earlier, lions have been spotted in villages of Jasdan, Gondal and Kotda-Sangani, which are all located near by Rajkot.

A few months ago, lions had killed domestic cattle in Bildi, Vinjuvadi and Sanala villages in Gondal taluka and Bhadva village in Kotda-Sangani taluka of Rajkot district. Bhadva is about 25 km away from Rajkot city. These lions had come from Chandgadh area in Amreli.

Earlier, in October 2008 too, a lioness and three cubs were spotted near Gondal. They had killed cows in Panchiyavadar village.

The data analysis of direct and indirect evidence like sightings, prey and pugmarks show that lions' kingdoms spread over 1,100 villages in three districts of Saurashtra region. At present, lions occupy an area over 16,000 square km in Saurashtra spread over three districts - Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar.


Suo motu PIL in Gujarat High Court on new tourism zone in Gir.

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 
Last Updated at 21:20 IST

The High today sought explanation from the Centre and the state government on a plan to set up new tourist zone in the Gir Asiatic lions sanctuary.

The court took up the issue as a suo motu PIL.

The division bench comprising justices Akil Kureshi and served notices to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the state government's forest department in the PIL, which demanded that the area be declared as a 'critical habitat zone'.

The court also directed the Gujarat government to file a status report on developmental and construction activities in the Gir Lions sanctuary elaborating whether those activities are permissible under provisions of the law.

The bench asked details of private properties constructed in the sanctuary and directed the district collector of Gir-Somnath to file a reply.

The issue surfaced after a 'whistleblower' made a detailed application to the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice, last month, stating that the Gujarat government has proposed a new tourist zone in the south-east area of the Gir sanctuary.

It was contended in the application that the south- east area should be declared as a 'critical wild-life zone' instead of proposing a new tourist zone.

There is already a tourist zone in Gir Asiatic lions sanctuary and due to this encroachment of developmental activities, the ecology of the area has incurred a loss, the application said.

The Gujarat High Court has taken up the issue as a suo motu PIL and initiated proceedings.

After issuing notices to all respondents, the court posted the matter for further hearing on October 16.


Lion found dead near Junagadh.

RAJKOT: A lion was found dead in Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU)'s research farm on the outskirts of Junagadh town on Tuesday morning.

The lion is believed to be around one-and-a-half-year old. The decomposed body was found some 10 km away from Junagadh towards Bilkha Road. The carcass suggested that the lion might have died two days ago.

"We have sent the body for post-mortem to ascertain the exact cause of death. But preliminary investigation suggests that lion may have died due to snake bite,'' said Parbat Maru, range forest officer, Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary (Girnar South division), Junagadh.

Forest officials said that a lioness and her three cubs were seen roaming around this area before a few days.

The death of lions have remained cause of concerns for wildlife conservationists as over 265 lions have died in Gir forest and adjoining areas in last five years, most of them in unnatural death.

According to last lion census, there were 411 lions in Gir forest, the last abode of Asiatic lions.


Lords Resort Sasan Gir, Junagadh.

Monday, September 22, 2014, 14:00 Hrs  [IST]

Premier mid market Hotel chain, Lords Hotels & Resorts, announced the opening of its Resort- Lords Resort Sasan Gir, Junagadh - in Sasan Gir, Gujarat. Designed to cater to both the domestic and international traveller, the resort has 56 well appointed rooms replete with all modern amenities. Located inside the Gir forest national park and wildlife sanctuary, the resort is an ideal destination for those looking to spend time in greens away from the city noise. The wild life lovers have an additional reason as the national park is not just home to Asiatic Lions but forms of other flora and fauna. Centrally located, the resort is about 40 km (an hour’s drive) from Veraval railway station. With the facilities like swimming pool, dedicated play areas, 24-hour in-room dining, it is a perfect place to rejuvenate and unplug oneself.The 24 hour multicuisine restaurant-Blue Coriander- further adds to the dining option.

Open well claims lion cub's life in Amreli village.

RAJKOT: In yet another incident of unnatural death, a lion cub died after falling into an open well in Sarasiya village near Dhari town of Amreli district on Saturday.

Forest officials said that the male lion cub was two-and-half-month old. The farm owner Nagji Parmar spotted a body floating in the well and informed the forest department. The forest officials fished out the body and sent it for post mortem.

"The cub fell into the well on Friday night. The well was about 76-feet deep and water depth was 25 feet," said a forest department official.

"There are many open farm wells near lions' habitat which pose danger to wild animals, especially lions. Lions have spread in nearly 1,100 villages of Bhavnagar, Amreli and Junagadh districts," said a senior forest official.

According to the 2010 lion census, there were 411 Asiatic lions in Gir forests and its nearby areas. However, in last five years, over 260 lions have died, most of them unnaturally.


Forest dept begins tracing lions’ footprints near tracks.

Railways has given its nod to the Forest Department to carry out survey of the area along the 30-km stretch near railway tracks in Jamnagar which witnessed the death of eight Asiatic lions after being run over by trains. The forest officials have started surveying the stretch for fencing and lying of underground channels for safe passage of lions. According to 2010 census, Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary has 411 lions.

Principal Chief Wildlife Conservator of Forest C N Pandey said: "We don't want any death of Asiatic Lion on railway tracks. Railways has granted us the permission to survey the area near the tracks. We have started preparing for fencing and underground ways for protection of wildlife near the tracks." "We held a meeting with western railway officials after the death of eight Asiatic lions on railway tracks. Fencing near tracks will curb incidents of lions being run over by trains," he added.

The forest officials had requested the railway authorities to reduce the speed limit of goods trains on this route from the current 80 km to 30- 40 km. On September 2, a six-year-old lioness was mowed down by a train near Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.


Two lionesses join Jerusalem zoo.

Ziv, the new male lion at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo, getting comfy in his new lair (photo credit: Flash 9

Ziv, the new male lion at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo, getting comfy in his new lair (photo credit: Flash 90)

Recent arrivals at Biblical Zoo from Germany and Czech Republic to join male brought earlier this year

September 20, 2014, 1:59 pm

Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo on Thursday announced the arrival of two Asiatic lions from European zoos to join its collection.

The two lionesses were acquired from the zoos in Magdeburg, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic. The elder, from Prague, is 13-years-old and the younger German lioness is a year-and-a-half-old. The zoo didn’t disclose the names of its new additions.
“They are both acclimating behind the scenes and will soon slowly get used to their new home and come outside into their courtyard,” the Biblical Zoo said on Facebook. “We will provide ongoing updates.”
The two females will accompany the current resident male Asiatic lion, Ziv, who was imported from Sweden earlier this year.
Lider, a 16-year-old Asiatic lion, was put to sleep last year after veterinarians and keepers decided that his difficulties in walking and standing, brought on by chronic back pain, were insufferable. The zoo has since sought to bring additional big cats to the park to replace him.
Asian lions were once indigenous to Israel and the Middle East, but now a mere 359 or so animals exist in the wild in the Gir Forest of India, according to a local conservation group. Another 200 Asiatic lions live in zoos worldwide.

Drama on Maldharis to entertain Gir tourists.

AHMEDABAD: The state forest department is planning to promote the culture of Gir and its surrounding areas. Apart from Lion Safari, the department has planned to tie up for performance of Akoopar, a drama on the life of Maldharis and their relationship with lions.

"We plan to have this drama as a regular feature along with the short documentary on lions. There will be an expert present during the documentary show to take live questions from the audience," said a senior forest official.."An amphitheater has been constructed for the purpose. The department also plans to promote eco-tourism apart from the Lion Safari. The department has planned to have performance of 'Akoopar,' especially on weekends or on public holidays," said C N Pandey, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife).

The officials said that this year they are expecting a heavy rush as soon as the sanctuary re-opens on October 15. "The rush is anticipated because the sanctuary opens on October 15 after a gap of nearly three months. As soon as the sanctuary opens, there will be Diwali vacation. There will be a tremendous flow of tourists."

Officials at the Sasan headquarters said that in order to meet the heavy rush, the department now plans to have more trips of 15 seated buses. In order to meet the heavy rush, the department is compelled to have more trips of buses. The officials said that the online reservation of the safari tickets which usually open three months in advance are all booked for the vacation period. There is only one permit available for October 31.

Akoopar play: Akoopar play is based on the life of Maldharis, who live in Gir forest. The play is based on the well-known novel 'Akoopar' by Dhruv Bhatt. The play covers the culture and traditions of the Maldharis, their relationship with nature, the animals and their philosophy of life, which leads to the conservation of environment.


Lion found dead in Amreli village.

RAJKOT: A male lion, believed to be around five years old, was found dead in Nageshree village of Rajula taluka in Amreli district on Tuesday.

Sources said that preliminary investigation suggested that the lion died due to infighting. Injuries marks were found on the lion's body and there were pug marks around the area where it was found dead. Forest department officials rushed to the spot and sent the lion's body for postmortem to the Jasadhar Animal Care Centre near Dhari.

The village is located on the Bhavnagar-Somnath coastal highway and there are about 45 lions close to the Amreli coast. Sources said at least 260 lions have died in the last five years, some of them unnatural deaths in Gir forest, the last abode of Asiatic lions.


You won't see big cat Jimmy at Byculla zoo anymore.

MUMBAI: Jimmy, the only big cat at the Jijamata Udyan at Byculla, has fallen sick again and has been shifted to the zoo hospital. All the other big cats have succumbed to old age or illness. Her replacement, an Asiatic lion, will take at least a year to come.

Jimmy, 14, was born at the zoo itself to Anita, who passed away three years ago, at the age of 22. She was shifted to hospital after being detected with a nerve-related problem, peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is damage or a disease affecting the nerves which may impair sensation, movement, gland or organ function, or other aspects of health, depending on the type of nerve affected. It is a slow progression of nerve loss or damage. Common causes include systemic diseases, vitamin deficiency, traumatic injury or infection, or it may be inherited.

However, over time, the authorities realized that her hind legs do not have much muscle mass and she was unable to stand for more than half an hour. Although this has now been treated, and Jimmy is on her way to recovery, the zoo authorities said that her medication cannot be stopped.

Zoo director Anil Anjankar said, "Jimmy is a hybrid breed (African-Asiatic). She was administered nerve tonics, joint supplements and saline, and she underwent physiotherapy. There was a time when she would not eat on her own and we had to feed her pieces of chicken. However, all this was treated and she was put in a bigger enclosure. But we have realized that Jimmy cannot be cured completely. Putting her on public display will not make her feel very confident. She will also get very stressed and nervous with the public glare on her constantly."

Lions, tigers and leopards are known to attract many visitors. "We have got approval for an Asiatic lion but that will take at least another year to come," added Anjankar.

Dr Komal Raul, veterinary officer at the zoo, who is working closely on Jimmy's recovery, said she used to be very playful.

Lions generally live for 15-20 years, zoo officials said.


Chinese Prez to hear lion's roar during stroll with PM Modi.

Updated: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 15:54 [IST]
Ahmedabad, Sept 16: The roar of the majestic Asiatic lions will be heard when Prime Minister Narendra Modi strolls with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the Sabarmati riverfront - thanks to mechanised animals that will be on display. The mechanised animals, including the Asiatic lions, will be part of the cultural showcase at Sabarmati riverfront Wednesday evening. The mechanised animals will move gently. State Minister Saurabh Patel told IANS that special seating arrangements for guests were being made. There will be a 'char pai' of the Sankheda furniture which gives the feel of Gujarat. When Modi and Xi will walk for 25 minutes on the riverfront, Xi's wife Peng Liyuan and Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben patel as well as other visiting delegates will enjoy a cultural show of the famous Garba and Dandiya Ras. The Sabarmati riverfront is a pet project of Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister, who envisaged it as the riverfront dream on the line of the Thames river of London. Earlier, international mega events like kite festival, and Navratri were organised at riverfront. As many as 150 mouth watering Gujarati dishes are being prepared by a team of experts from different parts of Gujarat and the Taj Hotel team from Mumbai and Delhi. Prime Minister Modi's personal cook Badri will oversee the food section. Badri has been cooking for Modi for over 15 years.

Read more at: http://news.oneindia.in/ahmedabad/chinese-president-xi-jinping-to-hear-lions-roar-during-stroll-with-pm-modi-1522857.html

Lion visits common in six out of 10 Gir villages.

AHMEDABAD: Lion visits are a regular feature in six out of 10 villages in the Gir region spread out in three districts of Saurashtra - Junagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar.

An internal survey by the Gir East and Gir West divisions of the forest department reveals that 84% villages in Junagadh, 70% in Amreli and 31% in Bhavangar have reported sightings of lions. The data is an important indicator of the wide area that the lions cover when they venture out of Gir Sanctuary.

Earlier, it was estimated that the big cats strayed in 20,000 sq km area. Forest officials said the survey was part of the long-term lion conservation project of the department.

Before bifurcation of some talukas, the three districts had a total of 2,382 villages. Out of these, lion presence was noticed in 1,367 villages (that is 57.38% of the total).

Officials said that analysis of sightings, local inputs, and information about the killing of cattle and hoved animals (ungulates) like chittal, sambhar and even neelgai that are found in the wild had led the department to identify these villages as those that were visited by the lions.

The survey report further says that these are villages where lions have been spotted either every alternate day or once in three days. The data on animals killed by the big cats reveals that there are about 1,500 villages in Saurashtra where lions go to kill domestic as well as herbivorous animals. But in 133 of these villages, the raids were not frequent.

They said that, earlier, lions had entered Bhavnagar district only in the late 2000s. Later, however, in less than a decade, the lion territory in Bhavnagar expanded in around 31% of the villages. Around 258 villages in the district have reported lion sightings.

Experts say the increased number of lions is a result of the conversation efforts put in by the state government. The big cats are now forced to venture out because the Gir National Park and Gir Sanctuary together are unable to house the growing population. Their number has grown consistently -284 in 1990; 304 in1995; 327 in 2000; 359 in 2005; and 411 in 2010. The next lion census is due in May 2015.


Etawah lion safari gets 3rd pair of lions.

AGRA: Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's dream project for Etawah's Lion Safari is on track. On Sunday, the lion safari received its third pair of lions from Lucknow zoo. A lion called Gigo and lioness Heer arrived here. The authorities at Etawah Lion Safari said the last pair of Asiatic lions from Kanpur zoo will arrive at their new home on Thursday.

Talking to TOI, deputy conservator of forest national Chambal sanctuary project, Agra, and additional DFO Etawah Lion Safari, Anil Patel said the lion safari will have all eight lions by this weekend. Four pair of Asiatic lions were brought from Gujarat's Junagadh and Hyderabad zoos to be housed at Etawah lion safari in December 2013. These lions were initially placed at Lucknow zoo and Kanpur zoo as the Etawah lion safari was under construction.

"The lion safari has proper arrangements to house all these new felines. We have also made all proper arrangements for their breeding. All the lions will be kept in quarantine for a month amid strict monitoring after which they will be shifted to the breeding centre," added Patel.

He added that the animals are presently trying to adjust in the local atmosphere which is humid and hot these days. The lion safari authorities have appointed separate keepers and veterinaries for each pair of lions.

"No one is allowed to venture near the lions except their caretakers and doctors," said Patel.

Apart from Gigo-Heer, the safari already has Kuber-Greeshma and Manan-Kuwari who are living there. The authorities are now waiting for Vishnu-Lakshmi who will arrive there by Thursday, added the DFO.

The work which was initiated by the Samajwadi Party government in 2005 had come to standstill when the Mayawati-led BSP government came to power after the 2007 assembly elections. Soon after getting into power in 2012, SP government gave a fresh start to the Etawah Lion Safari project, one of the dream projects of CM Akhilesh Yadav.

Some 150.83 hectares in the Fisher reserve forest area on Etawah-Gwalior National Highway was acquired and notified as Lion Safari in 2005. The Union ministry of environment and forests approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012 after which the government procured eight lions to be kept in the Safari from Gujarat and Hydrabad.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crore for the lion safari project while the construction and execution rights of the safari was given to Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad. June 2015 has been set as a deadline for the completion of the project.

To give wild beasts a natural feel, nearly 1.5 lakhs saplings were planted on nearly 1,000 acres of land within the periphery of lion safari. Once the facilities are in place, visitors can drive through a thoroughfare, spotting lions roaming in the safari. The safari riders will be provided caged vehicles and they will enjoy watching wild animals roaming freely in the open.


Why dozens of India's Asiatic lions are dying.

Gir lion Gujarat government's last lion census in 2010 pegs their numbers at 411
Is the last abode of the Asiatic lion turning into a death trap for the big cat?
Gir in India's Gujarat state is home to Asiatic lions and has seen 256 lions dying in the past five years.
Experts say their population is at risk with the big cats making new homes in human settlements.
Once widespread in Gujarat, the lion population shrank to a mere dozen in the early 20th Century, mainly due to hunting and drought.
But Nawab Mahabat Khanji of then Junagadh state, an animal lover who kept 300 dogs as pets, banned lion hunting, and was able to preserve the big cat.
However, in the last century as the lion population started soaring, the 1,400 sq km (540 sq miles) Gir sanctuary in Junagadh state began to be too small for the animals.
Today, lions are found across the 20,000 sq km area of the Saurashtra region - which includes Junagadh and 10 other districts - and are routinely spotted on private farms and near village homes.
Environmentalist Takhubhai Sansur says in the last three months alone, about 20 lions have been run over by speeding trucks and trains.
"Lion numbers have increased, but the challenge is their safety. About 40% of the total lion population now lives outside the forest area. Open wells and live wires on farms, poachers and passing trains and trucks have turned this region into a death field for the Asiatic lion," he says.
'Under control' The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had in 2000 added the Asiatic lion to the list of critically endangered species.
In 2005, when the lion population started swelling and crossed 250, it was removed from the list. Gujarat government's last lion census in 2010 pegs their numbers at 411.
Gir forest official Sandeep Kumar does not see the many deaths as a major threat to the species.
"Only 20% are accidental deaths, which is a cause for concern but the situation is under control. Lions are territorial animals and they live in prides. They are moving out as a male needs an area of 50 sq km and a female needs 26 sq km."
A lion strays in Liliadhar village, 125km from Gir forest Increasingly, big cats are found straying outside of the forest area, appearing on farms and near homes
Mr Kumar says the government is now creating alternative habitats in Saurashtra to give more space to the big cat. Officials have also asked the railways to reduce train speed in lion-dominated areas to avoid running them over.
The Gujarat government annually spends 500m rupees ($8.3m; £5m) on wildlife - half of it on the big cat.
But critics say the amount is less than 5% of what is spent on promoting tourism, for which lions are the biggest draw. They also accuse the government of not being honest about the reason behind the lions' deaths.
"The deaths are alarming and that's the reason the government continues to hide the autopsy reports. Life of big cats outside of Gir is at great risk," says wildlife activist Harish Joshi.
Wildlife scientist Ravi Chellam, who has been working with lions for the past three decades, believes India's lion population is now at risk.
'Playing politics' In the 1990s, in a study for the Wildlife Institute of India he suggested that a few lions should be shifted outside Gujarat to save the species.
"An epidemic in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania in 1994 killed over 1,000 lions in a few days. Something of that sort can't be ruled out in Saurashtra, as a sizeable population lives outside the forest and is exposed to infections.
"Indian courts and other experts have agreed on translocation, but Gujarat government is not comfortable with the idea," says Mr Chellam, who is part of a panel appointed after a Supreme Court order to oversee the translocation.
Activists accuse the state government of "playing politics" over lions.
The Gujarat government, under then chief minister Narendra Modi who is now prime minister, fought long court battles to prevent the lions being moved to the Kuno Palpur Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh in central India.
Open wells on farms which turn death traps for lions often falling inside Open wells on farms often turn into death traps for lions who fall into them
For people of Saurashtra, lions are a symbol of pride and many have adopted second names like Sinh and Savaj, which mean lion in Gujarati.
"Mr Modi exploited the translocation issue for votes in Gujarat. But those who love lions want it to be safe and would never object to translocation. After all, they are not state property," says wildlife activist Bhikhabhai Jethava.
"The rampant illegal sand and limestone mining in the region have dried the rivers and that's the reason lions are migrating to coastal areas as far as 300km [186 miles] from the forest area," he adds.
Activists are also worried over the increasing man-animal conflict in the region - in the past two years, lions have killed 14 people and wounded 114 others. And two farmers have been arrested for killing lions who strayed into their fields.
The bulk of the government budget for the big cat today is spent on compensating farmers whose cattle have been killed by lions and on removing the big cats from farms. Last year, lions killed 600 cattle and 500 operations were carried out to relocated the big cats.
Gir forest official Anshuman Sharma says they now have to provide security to farmers to harvest crops as they fear prowling lions and leopards.
"Wildlife management has now become more of human management. We have to work round the clock to ensure human life doesn't get affected as it's only due to the local people here that the lion population has survived," Mr Sharma says.
State forest officials say lions can be safe only in Gujarat, a view the state government has been pushing.
RL Meena, chief conservator of forests, rubbishes suggestions that the lion may become extinct in Gir.
"There has been no incident ever when a local has knowingly killed a lion," he says.
"People are mostly vegetarian here so there is no dearth of bush meat for the big cat."
The big question, however, still remains - are India's lions really safe?

Cricketer adopts lion.

Mysore, Sep 4, 2014, DHNS :
International cricketer and captain of the Karnataka Ranji team, 'Davangere Express' Vinay Kumar, has adopted Darshan, a male African lion at the Mysore Zoo for one year from August 31, 2014 to August 30, 2015, by making a payment of Rs 1 lakh / DH file photo
International cricketer and captain of the Karnataka Ranji team, ‘Davangere Express’ Vinay Kumar, has adopted Darshan, a male African lion at the Mysore Zoo for one year from August 31, 2014 to August 30, 2015, by making a payment of Rs 1 lakh.

Executive Director of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, B P Ravi, said the ‘Adoption of Animals’ scheme had received good response during the last week of August and the first week of September. Anil Kumble had adopted Shankara, an Asiatic lion, for the past two years. Darshan, aged about nine, was born in the zoo. Mysore Zoo has housed a pair of Asiatic lions, Shankara and Gowri, and a pair of African lions, Darshan and Rakshitha.

A sum of Rs 19,12,893 has been received towards the ‘Adoption of Animals’ scheme this year till September 4, compared with Rs 18,78,500 last year, till August 31.

Train Mows Down Asiatic Lioness Near Gir Forest.

India | Press Trust of India | Updated: September 03, 2014 17:50 IST
Train Mows Down Asiatic Lioness Near Gir Forest
Representational Image
Vadodara:  A train mowed down a six-year-old Asiatic lioness near the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat's Junagadh district, a forest official said today.

The accident took place last evening when the feline was run over by Veraval - Delvada passenger train at Jamvala village of Una taluka in the district, he said.

"On seeing the lioness on the track, the loco pilot applied brakes, but could not save her as she was near the loop of the railway track," K Ramesh, deputy conservator of forests, western Gir Lion National Sanctuary area, told PTI.

The forest team patrolling in the area was rushed to the spot, he said, adding that they have recorded the statement of the loco pilot, co-loco pilot and the guard of the train in connection
with the accident.

Officials added there were two lionesses roaming on the railway track. While one of them managed to jump away, the other got trapped near a loop on the track, he said.

During interrogation, the loco pilot of the train said he could not see the lioness due to thick vegetation on one side of the railway track, Mr Ramesh said.

The accident site is a revenue area located about one kilometre away from the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, which houses 411 Asiatic lions, as per a 2010 census, he said.

"We will be talking to concerned railway authorities to discuss ways to reduce the speed limit of trains on this stretch," he added.

Earlier this year, in January, a speeding goods train had run over two lionesses near the sanctuary.
Story First Published: September 03, 2014 17:20 IST

Kuber, Greeshma reach their new home in Lion Safari.

Kanpur: Another pair of Asiatic lions arrived in Lion Safari in Etawah from Lucknow Zoo on Tuesday. The eight lions (four males, four females) were brought from Gujarat's Junagadh and Hyderabad zoos.

National Chambal Sanctuary's district forest officer Aniruddh Patel said: "Asiatic lion is a heavy animal, with adult male weighing around 160 to 190 kgs, while female weighs around 110 to 120 kgs. So, we made necessary arrangements and took precautionary measures in shifting the pair to Lion Safari in Etawah. They were transported to the Lion Safari via road."

Lion Safari has already made arrangements to house these new animals. Sources said that a team, including two veterinary doctors and a keeper, is taking care of newly-arrived pair. "The lions will be kept in quarantine for a month amidst strict monitoring," safari director KK Singh.

The pair has been kept separately at the breeding centre so they could adjust in the local atmosphere. "Except keeper, no one would be allowed to venture near the pair named Kuber and Greeshma. They arrived at Lucknow zoo from Junagadh zoo in Gujarat about four months ago. The two would be kept separately for a few days," said a senior official.

The state had procured four pairs of Asiatic lions from Hyderabad and Rajkot zoos in the past. With the shifting of one more pair, two pairs are now left at Lucknow zoo and the other pair is housed in the Kanpur zoo.

The work which was initiated in 2005 by the Samajwadi Party government had come to standstill after the Bahujan Samaj Party came to power. It was revived after SP formed the government in March 2012.

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 the Mayawati government in 2007. It was again revived after Samajwadi Party came back to power in March 2012.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests approved the master layout plan of the project in December 2012.

The state government had sanctioned Rs 89 crores for the Lion Safari project and authorized the Uttar Pradesh Awas Vikas Parishad for the construction and execution of the safari.

June 2015 has been set as a deadline for the completion of the project.