Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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.


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