Thursday, March 31, 2016

Gir to have 350 more watering holes

| TNN |
AHMEDABAD: The forest department is making elaborate arrangements to ensure that the Asiatic lion and other wildlife do not remain thirsty during summer.

The department is taking adequate steps to ensure availability of water not only within the Gir sanctuary but even ouside the reserve where lions are found.

The department proposes to add 350 watering holes in the area, which includes artificial ponds created in the fields of farmers. After this, the Gir landscape, which is spread over 22,000 sq km, will have no less than 800 artificial watering holes where lions can quench their thirst during summer.

According to officials, most of the artificial ponds are in Gir Sanctuary while fewer than 50 are in the area outside the control of the forest department which is now planning to construct new ponds and fill up the empty ones in the fields that have parapets around their mouths.

Officials said the department has decided that new ponds will be constructed only if there is a windmill or a solar power system so that water is filled automatically. He said that where there is no source of natural water, tankers will be used to fill the watering holes.

AP Singh, chief conservator of forests, Junagadh, said that they will ensure that there is enough water for lions and wildlife during summer.

"We will also have water ponds outside the forest area which lions have made their permanent home," said Singh.

The forest department has around 500 man-made water bodies which are now filled regularly at the onset of summer.

Water tankers, wind mills, the solar power system and human power are used to fill the water bodides twice every day.

Such water bodies are created especially at places where natural water sources are not available.

According to DCF, Dr Ram Ratan Lala, these arrangements have been made due to poor monsoon last year.

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