Friday, August 28, 2015
Queens of Gir jungle
The three had to overcome opposition from their families to work as foresters. They are praised and respected for their professionalism. In fact, the wildlife TV channel, Animal Planet, featured them in its documentary, `Lion Queens of Gir.' Rasila Wadher was among the first women foresters to join the lion rescue team. She has found herself at risk several times.
"Once I had gone with my team to rescue an injured lion," she said. "We were to tranquilize the beast. As soon as we fired the shot containing the tranquilizer, it almost attacked us. But we kept our cool and slowly walked back to our vehicles. The lion too slowly retreated into the forest."
Kiran Pithiya, 25, not only takes part in rescue operations but has to record the movement and change in behaviour of lions. She said that this sounds easy but is not.
"Recently, a lioness gave birth and I had to keep watch on the newborn cubs and movement of their mother," said Pithiya. "One day, I did not realize that it had turned dark. I was leaving the area on my bike alone when a lioness began chasing me." She realized she was in danger and immediately decided to signal to the lioness that she was a forester.
"I turned my bike around made a hat-hat and hud-hud sound," said Pithiya. "The lioness understood that I was a forester and turned back. If I had tried to speed up and escape, the lioness would have attacked and killed me."
For Darshana Kagada, talking in Hindi or English was a challenge. "I handle awareness programmes and even nature camps," she said. "As I am a commerce graduate, I used to find technical matters a bit difficult. But senior officers like Sandeep Kumar helped me understand these topics. I now speak Hindi fluently and understand English."
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Queens-of-Gir-jungle/articleshow/48637589.cms AHMEDABAD: They are the true 'lion queens' of Gir. These three women from Saurashtra - Rasilaben Wadher; Kiran Pithiya; and Darshanaben Kagada - have opted to work as foresters at Devaliya Safari Park in Sasan Gir where they rescue lions, manage their diets and look after their health. They even train officials of other states in rescue and management of wildlife.