Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This All-Women Team of Rangers is Protecting Lions in the Gir Forest





By | posted Sep 29th 2015 at 3:43PM

India is home to many wild creatures, and we are thankful that our country has natural sanctuaries and forests to house these animals. However, it's disheartening to see how we are encroaching their homes to create an urban jungle.

But there is one forest that is working towards guarding the homes of our wild friends - the Gir Forest in Junagadh. It is the only home for the Asiatic Lions, in India.

What's even better is that the Gir forest is guarded and protected by an all-women forest guard team.

This team protects 523 Asiatic lions, in the Gir forest. This wildlife sanctuary, in Gujarat, is the only home for these Asiatic lions and this team of more than 50 women are doing their best to protect their lives and home.

The forest guard team has carried out about 600-rescue missions, to save the lions from attacks and to also provide them with required medical aids.

A forest guard named Pathija told Times of India, "I worked through most of my pregnancy, I was still riding my motorbike in my third trimester." In fact, even after her delivery, Pathija would leave her newborn baby with her mother and would patrol around the jungle. She would just come back home to breastfeed her newborn.

Another forest guard Rasila Vadher, who belongs to the Junagadh district, has been part of the first batch of the 12 guards stationed at Gir. The forest has many uninvited women gangs, who visit the forest to cut some of the prized teak trees. As there is a strong women force guarding the interiors, they are a great threat to these women gangs.

Darshana Kagda is a 24-year-old forester who talks about a rescue that went on for about 15 days, when a wild lioness killed a farm labourer near Rajula district. The villages were angry, were thirsty for the blood of the lioness, and wanted her to be caged. However, the lioness was set free as she had two cubs waiting for her. "Why should she be sent to live in a zoo, if she acted in self-defense?" asks Kagda. "After getting the report, we set her free."

These guards are fearless, brave and above all dedicated. One of the female guards was quoted saying, "I told my husband before getting married that I would be working late hours in the jungle with men. If you have a problem with this, we won't get married."

Inputs from The Times of India

Image courtesy: Reuters

No comments: