English language news articles from year 2007 plus find out everything about Asiatic Lion and Gir Forest. Latest News, Useful Articles, Links, Photos, Video Clips and Gujarati News of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary (Geer / Gir Forest - Home of Critically Endangered Species Asiatic Lion; Gir Lion; Panthera Leo Persica ; Indian Lion (Local Name 'SAVAJ' / 'SINH' / 'VANRAJ') located in South-Western Gujarat, State of INDIA), Big Cats, Wildlife, Conservation and Environment.
Watch the life of a large team of women forest guards unfold on
their daily missions at Gir National Park, in The Lion Queens of India.
While many of us the world over shared and looked at
pictures on social media of lions that died in the Gir National Park in
Gujarat this July in massive floods, and then of the cute cubs that did
survive, Rasila P. Vadher and her team was in the midst of all the
The woman in charge of the Rescue Team at the
national park says it took them a while to come to terms with the fact
that the sudden release of dam waters meant that lions, that can usually
swim were taken aback by the force of water, hit trees, and died. Gir,
one of India’s oldest national parks, is the only home to the largest
population of Asiatic lions in the world – about 523 of them. Finally
they discovered 10 of them had died in the floods.
31 year old forest guard, Rasila, along with fellow women forest
guards, has carried out over 600 rescue missions last year – perhaps
amongst the highest number in any wildlife park in the world. They are
the subject of a new TV series The Lion Queens of India.
have seen so much struggle in my life that I know no fear,” says Rasila
in a telephonic interview. “We all have to die one day anyway.
Moreover, animals are more wafadaar than humans. They only attack us if we make a mistake.”
women risk their lives every day to rescue vulnerable lions, heal
defenceless cubs, reduce human-animal conflict and assist villagers who
face accidental animal attacks. The four-part series brings alive some
of the most daring wildlife action sequences. From rescuing a lion stuck
in an open well, healing a badly injured lioness with three little cubs
in the middle of the night, retrieving a wayward leopard from a
farmer’s house, or catching and releasing a deadly Russell’s viper — all
part of their daily job!
The rescue team is headed
by Raj Sandeep, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Junagadh Forest
Division); assisted by Trupti A. Joshi, In-charge Range Officer, and
Rasila. A total of 48 women serve in the forest department at Gir.
says she was the first woman in India to hold such a post, and many
women have now followed suit, filling the ranks in Gir. “I stand among
the men, like a man. I come from a middle-class family where I’m the
oldest child. My father died very early and I thought taking a
government job will help me care for my mother and brother. I was a
Hindi graduate and knew nothing of forests, and hadn’t even seen a lion
till I joined the job. Since I was involved in a lot of sports, I had
the advantage of being physically fit.” She got married a year ago.
are on duty 24 hours. We have to rush even at 3 a.m. if we have an
emergency,” says Rasila. But on any given day, life begins at about 9
a.m. at the Rescue Centre where animals at the shelter are monitored for
their health, cleaning up, injury treatment. “We are involved in
veterinary work as well as helping with putting in microchips. The
rescue centre at various points in time has housed lions, sambhar,
chital, pythons, crocodiles and birds.” Her most challenging rescue till
date has been in 2011 when she had to pull out a leopard from a well at
12.30 in the night. Battling a scared leopard that was chewing of the
ladder lowered for its rescue, the mob of public and media at the site
and the constraints of it being a night-time operation, they succeeded
in their rescue after a three-hour struggle.
The show premieres on September 28 and October 5 at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel. http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/queens-in-lion-kingdom/article7692562.ece