Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lions showered with sisterly love!

RAJKOT: In a unique symbolic gesture to send out a message of lion conservation, hundreds of women from the state sent out 'rakhis' for Asiatic lions in Sasan Gir on Rakshabandhan!

The scenes at the office of deputy conservator of forests in Sasan were heartening as people applied the traditional tilak on a lion poster, performed the 'aarti' and prayed for the protection of Gujarat's pride.

The forest department had launched this unique programme to bring people closer to lion conservation. They had invited rakhis from school girls and women from the across the state for the lions. Officials said the programme got an overwhelming response as they received large number of rakhis through posts.

"This year, we decided to celebrate Rakshabandhan in a unique way and appealed to school girls and women from across the state to send rakhis for their beloved Asiatic lions. People in Gujarat are emotionally attached to the Asiatic lions and their role in the conservation has been remarkable," Ram Ratan Nala, deputy conservator of forests, wildlife division, Sasan-Gir, told TOI.

The rakhis will now be tied to the cages at Sasan-Gir rescue centre, said Nala.

Nala said the women can send in rakhis at the deputy conservator's office, wildlife division at Sasan-Gir village till August 31.

"This is an attempt to bring people closer to lion conservation in the state and it will go a long way in their protection," Nala added.

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Lalu Prasad Yadav and Azam Khan tied Rakhis to their Buffaloes.Mark Quinn

Earlier, on the occasion of World Lion Day on August 10, nearly 4 lakh people from 1,500 villages across Saurashtra had taken out rallies in support of lion conservation.

According to the latest census, there are 523 lions which are spread across Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of the Saurashtra region.

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