Sunday, April 30, 2017

Byculla zoo to shelter lions from Gujarat soon

 

Capture-recapture method used in Gir to know leopard density

April 27, 2017 | UPDATED 16:45 IST

Vadodara, Apr 27 (PTI) The Gujarat forest department has started using capture-mark-recapture method to estimate the leopard density in Gir forest, an official said today.
The exercise has begun on April 20 and it would get over in 45 days, the official said.
"As part of this exercise, fifty cameras have been installed at 25 points in Gir forest. Each point covers an area of 2.5 sq km area," deputy conservator of forest, Gir west, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, said.

The method is very accurate, he said adding, "We have tied up with the wildlife experts in Aligarh Muslim University for this exercise."
The results of the exercise would be known after a detailed analysis by the wild life experts, which would take some time, jadeja stated.
Besides ascertaining the number of leopards, the initiative would also help in locating other wild animals in the forest, the official said. PTI CORR NP
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/capture-recapture-method-used-in-gir-to-know-leopard-density/1/939791.html

Asiatic lion pair brings record footfall to Katraj Zoo, revenue scales up

The figures have seen a substantial rise since the footfalls recorded in the entire month of April last year —1,28,658. The revenue for the month amounted to Rs 29,17,260.

Written by Garima Rakesh Mishra | Pune | Published:April 27, 2017 5:36 am
Asiatic lion, Katraj Zoo, pune zoo, Katraj Zoo revenue, Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, pune, pune news, indian express news Tejas and Subhi, an Asiatic lion pair, was put on display for public on April 8. Express photo The Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre, or Katraj Zoo, recorded a footfall of 1,29,521 and a revenue of Rs 29,35,615 within a span of just 16 days — between April 8 and 23.
The figures have seen a substantial rise since the footfalls recorded in the entire month of April last year —1,28,658. The revenue for the month amounted to Rs 29,17,260.
The reason for this sharp jump are Tejas and Subhi — an Asiatic lion pair that was put on display for public on April 8. And since then, the pair has been attracting visitors to the zoo like never before.
Rajkumar Jadhav, director of the zoo, said, “It is the first time, in the history of Katraj Zoo, when such a significant rise in footfalls has been witnessed.”
The excitement and curiosity of people had begun almost four months ago, when the news about the lion pair getting introduced in the zoo had started doing the rounds. Even before the pair was put on display, the zoo was getting a number of queries almost daily, added Jadhav.
The footfalls are expected to rise further in May due to summer vacations, he pointed out.
As compared to other weekdays, the zoo usually saw higher footfalls on Sundays. But since Tejas and Subhi have been put up on display, there has been a consistent rise in the footfalls throughout the weekend. The footfalls recorded in the last 16 days are — 4,083 (April 8, Saturday), 9,948 (April 9, Sunday), 7,705 (April 15, Saturday), 13,768 (April 16, Sunday), 8,528 (April 22, Saturday), and 16,638 (April 23, Sunday). The zoo houses more than 360 animals, of which nearly 150 have been classified as “endangered” and “critically-endangered” under the schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act of India.
Tejas and Subhi — both around six years old — were brought under an animal exchange programme from Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden in Junagadh, in exchange of a species of birds. After being brought to the zoo about four months ago, they were kept under quarantine as per the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority. Under the zoo’s Animal Adoption Programme, the pair has been adopted by Kedar Kasar of KK Travels for a year.
http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/asiatic-lion-pair-brings-record-footfall-to-katraj-zoo-revenue-scales-up-4629854/

Dude teases a lion and gets a healthy dose of instant karma

Lion roars back to teach an annoying traveler that you DO NOT mess with the King of Jungle! (Watch Video)

The little roar was enough to send shivers down the person’s spine who is heard saying, "OMG I'm I almost just died."

Govt hurries to clear ESZ cuts around sanctuaries

  • Ahmedabad

GRR.... Experience

VENKAT GANESH GUDIPATY
Published : Apr 24, 2017, 6:39 am IST
The calls start getting frantic and louder and your guide advises you to keep your mouth shut and your eyes open.
The access to the sanctuary is by permit only which cost Rs 500 per 4 wheeler. (PTI)
 The access to the sanctuary is by permit only which cost Rs 500 per 4 wheeler. (PTI)
As you drive along dusty and narrow roads with dense jungle on both the sides, you start hearing the bird and monkey calls. Your driver brakes, slowing your jeep down and driving towards where the sounds of birds and monkeys are the loudest. He kills the engine and the constant buzz that had filled your ears along with the noise of the wind as you drove by dies leaving you in the complete noise of the silence of the jungle. The calls start getting frantic and louder and your guide advises you to keep your mouth shut and your eyes open.
And then slowly through the dense foliage from one of the sides of jungle walks a lion. The chills that majestic cat brings to your body cannot be described. More so when it’s your first time seeing a lion in the wild. And if you’re lucky, it won’t be just a solitary lion but a pride of lionesses and cubs that will follow on.
However, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars and fly to some exotic African country to experience this. You can go on a lion safari right here in India in the Gir National Forest at Sasan Gir Gujarat. The last remaining abode of the Asiatic lion in the world, the species came very close to extinction due to unrestricted hunting before the erstwhile Maharaja of Junagadh decided to put a stop to it and help the lion population grow. Today there are over 500 Asiatic lions in the world and Gir National Forest is the only place where you can find them.
The entrance to the national park lies near the village of Sasan Gir which is about an hour’s drive from Junagadh— the nearest railway head as well as airport. The access to the sanctuary is by permit only which cost Rs 500 per 4 wheeler. For those who don’t have their own mode of transport, the forest department provides a jeep with a driver which is another Rs 1,200. Along with the permit having a guide is mandatory and costs another Rs 500. If you’re in a group, it is possible to share all these costs otherwise a single trip to catch a glimpse of the big cat can turn out to be an expensive affair at Rs 2200. Especially so when you intend to go multiple safaris, which by the way, is highly recommended because you might not necessarily spot one all the time. Wildlife enthusiasts can enter the sanctuary in one or all the three slots of the day. The first of the slot is the 6 am - 9 am one, followed by the 9 am - 12 pm and then the final set of jeeps are allowed to enter the sanctuary at 3 pm in the afternoon.
However, even if the lions cannot be seen, the national park is home to more than 300 leopards, 200 species of birds, and numerous animals, reptiles and amphibians. The sanctuary has enough wildlife to keep you occupied even if you’re not lucky to see a lion. The best times to spot maximum wildlife the guides advice are the months of summer when all the animals come to the watering holes to quench their thirst.
(In September 2011, Venkat went on a solo trip to Ladakh after which he quit his job to devote nearly all his time for travelling and exploring)
http://www.asianage.com/life/more-features/240417/grr-experience.html

Asiatic lion cub named Sundari

| Updated: Apr 22, 2017, 09.17 AM IST
<p>Representative image<br></p>Representative image
KANPUR: The lone-surviving cub of Asiatic lioness Nandini has been named as Sundari. The christening is normally done in one-two months. But the keepers in Kanpur zoo named the cub after just 11 days of its birth. The cub which was 840 gram at the time of the birth is now active and gaining weight.

Zoo director Deepak Kumar said that Sundari is a nice name. He said that usually whatever name is decided by the staff is accepted and finalised. "We are keeping our fingers crossed and hope that the cub grows well as its mother has disowned it due to it being week at the time of birth. The cub is being hand-fed by the zoo vets and it would continue for two months," he added.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/asiatic-lion-cub-named-sundari/articleshow/58309476.cms

Eco-Sensitive Zone reduction of Gir Forest: Gujarat HC issues notice to state govt on PIL challenging proposal

According to the petition, the state in the new proposal for ESZ has reduced the area from 3,32,881 hectare to 1,14,000 hectare “which is illegal and it is undertaken to favour certain people.”

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: April 20, 2017 5:10 am
THE GUJARAT High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the state on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the proposal of the government reducing the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of Gir Forest and National Park, and other sanctuaries in the state drastically without any reason.
The petition moved by Biren Padhya, a resident of Ahmedabad, states the proposal of the government is likely to be culminated into a notification and if it happens, there would be irreparable loss to forest and wildlife as new heavy industries, unregulated mining, tourism and other prohibited activities would surface.
According to the petition, the state in the new proposal for ESZ has reduced the area from 3,32,881 hectare to 1,14,000 hectare “which is illegal and it is undertaken to favour certain people.” It has cited the Supreme Court order, which directed the authorities that land falling within 10 kms from boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries should be notified as ESZ.
https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8243120114635336768#editor/target=post;postID=2277066236658858611

‘Smuggling’ Asiatic lion cubs: Cab driver detained by forest officials, later released

Afzal Mugal claims he made up the story that he possessed cubs while dropping a tourist from Sasan to Diu airport

By: Express News Service | Rajkot | Updated: April 17, 2017 4:19 am
Asiatic lion cubs, lion smuggling, gujarat lion. gujarat lion smuggling, latest news, latest india news, indian express There was an input that driver Afzal Mugal had a farmhouse where a lioness had delivered two cubs. Acting on a tip-off, forest officials detained a taxi driver of Prabhas Patan over suspicion of smuggling two Asiatic lion cubs late on Saturday evening. Afzal Mugal was caught near Veraval during a check by the forest officers of Junagadh wildlife circle. After grilling him for long, he was released as the officers failed to get any concrete information about the alleged smuggling.
“There was an input that Mugal had a farmhouse where a lioness had delivered two cubs. The taxi driver had stolen them and was in process of selling the cubs to somebody in Mumbai for Rs 8 lakh. However, the driver claimed that he had ‘cooked up’ the story while dropping a tourist from Sasan to Diu airport and that he was innocent. After nothing suspicious was found, he was released,” said Aniruddh Pratap Singh, chief conservator of forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle. Forest officers said that the input had come from Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) via the state government.
“The informer had come to know about the matter while travelling in Mugal’s taxi and passed on the message to the PMO,” said a forest officer close to the development. The officer added that the informer had visited Sasan twice and went on safaris. However, he had not spotted any lion during the visits. He causally complained about it to the taxi driver while on way to Diu airport for catching a flight back home. It was during this ride that Mugal started boasting about having a farm, lions visiting them etc, said the officer. The CCF of Junagadh further said that no offence was registered against Mugal.
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/smuggling-asiatic-lion-cubs-cab-driver-detained-by-forest-officials-later-released-4615959/

Eleven Lions Crossing A Highway In Gujarat Captured On Video


The king of the wild may look majestic in the jungle but spotting one in an area inhabited by human beings can be wondrous. And terrifying!
However, such occurrences have become common in areas close to the Gir forest in Gujarat.
On Saturday, commuters were thrilled to witness eleven lions trying to cross the street on the Pipavav-Rajula highway in Amreli district of Gujarat. 
Here's the video captured on phone:
As a result, traffic came to a standstill after commuters on both side of the highway halted their vehicles for the creatures to pass. Soon after, the herd of lions led by one gently crossed the highway divider to the other side of the street.
Onlookers, who quickly got off their vehicles captured this rare moment on their phones. The video has now gone viral on social media.
https://www.scoopwhoop.com/eleven-lions-crossing-a-highway-in-gujarat-captured-on-video/#.vdqt8nf2a

Suspected lion cub smuggling: Massive search launched

| Updated: Apr 16, 2017, 08.12 AM IST
RAJKOT: The state forest department on Saturday launched a massive search operation in the Rajkot and other parts of Gir region following information that a lion cub was kidnapped from near Sasan.

Information that a lion cub was kidnapped and sold to a person who appeared to be from outside Gujarat pressed the panic button, said a senior forest official.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/suspected-lion-cub-smuggling-massive-search-launched/articleshow/58198040.cms

Lion cub dies at Kanpur zoo owing to respiratory failure

| | Apr 14, 2017, 09.28 PM IST
Representative image. Representative image.
KANPUR: One of the two cubs born to Asiatic lioness Nandini in Kanpur zoo on Monday night (April 10), died following multiple organ failure

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/lion-cub-dies-at-kanpur-zoo-owing-to-respiratory-failure/articleshow/58184353.cms

MP gets four lions from Assam

Four lions reached Madhya Pradesh’s Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal on Friday from Assam
Updated: Apr 14, 2017 21:03 IST Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopa

Lioness

Bhopal, India - April 14, 2017: A lioness brought from Guwahati zoo at van vihar National park in Bhopal, India, on Friday, April 14, 2017.Two Lion and two lioness being brought to van Vihar. (Photo by Mujeeb Faruqui/Hindustan Times)(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo) 

Bhopal: Four lions reached Madhya Pradesh’s Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal on Friday from Assam. The four big cats, including two males and two females, were brought to Bhopal by a team of nine officials in a special vehicle from Assam after travelling for nearly 75 hours. The lions were kept in the cages of Van Vihar National Park’s wildlife rescue centre.

Dr Atul Gupta , veterinary doctor at the Park, who along with eight other officials had gone to Guwahati , told HT that these tigers were in a zoo there. “There were no proper facilities there for taking care of these lions. They are also suffering from various ailments need medical attention, which we can provide them here. They will be now permanently here”, he said
This new addition has brought cheer to officials at Van Vihar National Park, which lost two lions last year. In July last year, India’s perhaps oldest lion in captivity-28 year old Ramu-died died in Van Vihar, followed by death of another elderly lion a month later. Van Vihar National Park has now seven lions, with the latest addition.

According to wildlife experts, lions in wild live up to 16 to 18 years as they mostly die in injuries following their territorial fights. But when a lion is put in captivity, they generally live long, over 20 years. One of five big cat species found in India, Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) is found in wild in Gujarat only, elsewhere they are in captivity.
MP has been trying to get lions from Gujarat. The much delayed reintroduction of Asiatic Lion to MP’s Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary from Gujarat is yet to happen. Even the expert committee on translocation of lions to MP has recommended it as ideally suited for second home for lions, but Gujarat government wants that before the translocation, all the 36 studies, which have mandated under the new translocation guidelines of the IUCN issued in 2013, should be conducted to check whether Kuno was suitable for translocation or not. These studies concern issues like habitat status, prey base, vegetation cover, weather and so on.
As Asiatic lions exist only in Gir sanctuary, experts have often expressed apprehensions that high rate of inbreeding and less genetic diversity could make them susceptible to epidemics and make them extinct. In 1993, WII conducted a study to identify the best area for translocation of lions and they found Kuno-Palpur in Sheopur district, nearly 140 kms from Gwalior, most suitable. In this light, a proposal was mooted to translocate a few of the Gir lions to MP in 2000. Wildlife activist Fayaz Khudsar filed a public interest petition in the apex court in 2006 and sought translocation of Gir lions to MP. In April 2013, the apex court in a judgment directed that the lions be translocated to Kuno-Palpur in MP.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/bhopal/mp-gets-four-lions-from-assam/story-bHOTsN6ytjiE46t4kUfIGO.html

Forest guard attacked by villager in Dalkhaniya range

  • TOI
  • Rajkot

Asiatic lion pair in Pune zoo has a family

The animals have been adopted by KK Travels and the family members were related to Kedar Kasar, the owner of KK Travels.

Written by Garima Mishra | Pune | Published:April 10, 2017 2:14 am
Barely three months ago, a pair of pure Asiatic lions — Tejas and Subhi — were brought to the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, also known as Katraj Zoo. Within their short stay at the zoo, the lions have even managed to find a family who has adopted them under the animal adoption scheme. On Sunday morning, nearly 20 members of the city-based Kasar family could be seen thronging around the lions’ enclosure, introducing themselves as their “aai”, “brother”, “sister”, “maami”, “kaka” etc. The animals have been adopted by KK Travels and the family members were related to Kedar Kasar, the owner of KK Travels.
KK Travels has adopted the pair for a period of one year by paying Rs four lakh under the animal adoption scheme.

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/asiatic-lion-pair-in-pune-zoo-has-a-family-4606797/

Friday, March 31, 2017

SGNP awaits Gujarat Sakkarbaug zoo’s nod for pair of lions

HE ASIAN AGE. | NEHA L.M. TRIPATHI
Published : Mar 30, 2017, 2:50 am IST
Gujarat zoo officials say the proposal has to be approved by chief minister Vijay Rupani.
At present, the SGNP houses three Asiatic lions of which siblings Jespa and Gopa are young, while the third lion Ravindra is old.
 At present, the SGNP houses three Asiatic lions of which siblings Jespa and Gopa are young, while the third lion Ravindra is old.
Mumbai: The Sanjay Gandhi National Park, while holding its breath to welcome a pair of lions from the Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden, sent a reminder to the latter for the same on Wednesday. While SGNP has identified to give the cats to Sakkarbaug Zoo, it is yet to receive a confirmation in return for the same from the latter.
The Gujarat forest had agreed to the exchange program in return for a pair of rusty spotted cats (schedule I species found only in Maharashtra).
Shailesh Deore, Range Forest Officer of SGNP said, “The reminder was sent to the zoo authorities on Wednesday since we did not get an update to our proposal from them.” According to Sakkarbaug officials, the proposal has been forwarded to the to government as it has to be approved by the chief minister. S.J. Pandit, Zoo Director, Sakkarbaug zoo said, “The proposal is under consideration.”
After a response from Sakkaebaug, both the authorities will be visiting each other after which the animals to be exchanged will be finalised according to the requirement.
Authorities from SGNP had sent proposal to the Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden in February this year at Junagadh, Gujarat. According to communications between the two authorities, Sakkarbaug zoo will be sending a pair of Asiatic lions to SGNP and the SGNP will be giving away a pair of rusty spotted cats. “We are in talks with the senior officials at the zoo who are positive of the exchange program. If things go as planned then we will have the lions in SGNP within a year,” said a source.
At present, the SGNP houses three Asiatic lions of which siblings Jespa and Gopa are young, while the third lion Ravindra is old. The park authorities want to increase the captive population of the Asiatic lions for lion safari. Since the lions already in SGNP are related by blood, inbreeding cannot be done as it could lead to genetic diseases.
http://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/300317/sgnp-awaits-gujarat-sakkarbaug-zoos-nod-for-pair-of-lions.html

Lion reserve proposal gathering dust since 2006

| | Mar 30, 2017, 04.00 AM ISTRajkot: Gujarat's pride, Asiatic lions, seems to have been left to fend for themselves in greater Gir area as the state government is sitting on a crucial proposal to give more protection to the endangered species outside Gir Wildlife Sanctuary since last 11 years.

In April 2005, Gujarat government had floated a proposal to declare 30,054 hectare area, which included government waste land, forest land in villages of Palitana, Mahuva, Talaja of Bhavnagar and some parts of Amreli as 'Sir Dharamkumarsinhji Wildlife Sanctuary'. However, in 2006, the proposal was modified and it was decided to declare the area as a 'conservation reserve' instead of sanctuary.

The area identified by the government for the 'conservation reserve' was based on its ecological, fauna, floral, gemological nature and zoological significance for the purpose of protection, propagation and developing wildlife and its environment. It was to be the lion's new permanent corridor.


In 2010, a total of 10,952 hectare (109 sq km) area in Savarkundla, Palitana, Mahuva and Talaja was marked as 'conservation reserve'. Forest department gave all details about the village-wise, taluka-wise, details of government waste land as well as forest land which fall under the 'conservation reserve' to the concerned government department.

"The plan was to provide safe cover to lions that are moving outside the Gir Sanctuary and maintain a safe corridor for the big cat's movement. The proposed conservation reserve was a link for the lion's corridor from Gir east to Rangala and other parts of Bhavnagar district, where lions have started living permanently. As human-wildlife conflicts are on rise, it is high time that the government takes a decision for long-term conservation of lions," said a senior forest officer.

When inquired about the status of lion 'conservation reserve', principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), G K Sinha said that the forest department had sent the proposal to government, where the matter was pending for final approval.

"If government delays decision, the haphazard development in and around the proposed conservation reserve will destroy the purpose of the entire proposal. The windmill project close to this proposed 'conservation reserve' is a prime example of it," said another forest official.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/lion-reserve-proposal-gathering-dust-since-2006/articleshow/57901930.cms

How to vacation in the wild for less than Rs 50,000 this summer

, ET Bureau|
Mar 27, 2017, 06.30 AM IST
Other than lions, Gir is also famous for the 4-horned antelope. Jackals, striped hyenas and the Indian fox can also be seen.
Other than lions, Gir is also famous for the 4-horned antelope. Jackals, striped hyenas and the Indian fox can also be seen.
The summer vacations are just weeks away. If a wildlife safari or some serious bird-watching is on your agenda, we present four options that are worth a dekko for under Rs 50,000 for a family of three, excluding airfare and train fare.

GIR NATIONAL PARK
Other than lions, Gir is also famous for the four-horned antelope. Jackals, striped hyenas and the Indian fox can also be seen. The Nalsarovar lake is ideal for spotting birds.

Getting there
• Nearest airport is Rajkot, 165 km away.
• Nearest railway station is Junagadh, 70 km away.

Safari timings
6 am to 9 am, 9 am to 12 noon and 3 pm to 6 pm.


Fees and charges for 2 adults and 1 child (age 10 years). 2) Accomodation for 3 nights and 4 days (in 3 star hotel / resort / homestay). 3) Cost for 5 safaris during the stay.

Best time to visit
October to mid-June (park closed during monsoon).

Things to carry
ID proof, camouflage or light coloured clothing, binoculars, camera, your copy of Birds of India, drinking water and cap.

KABINI NATIONAL PARK
Located near Mysore, this forest is home to rare black panthers, leopards, tigers, Indian bison, mugger crocodiles, Indian rock python, elephants and more.


Fees and charges for 2 adults and 1 child (age 10 years). 2) Accomodation for 3 nights and 4 days (in 3 star hotel / resort / homestay). 3) Cost for 5 safaris during the stay.

Getting there
• Nearest airport is Bengaluru, 245 km away. • Nearest station is Mysore, 76 km away.

Safari timings
6.30 am to 9 am and 3.30 pm to 6 pm.

Best time to visit
October to mid-June.

Things to carry
ID proof, camouflage or light coloured clothing, binoculars, camera, drinking water and cap

LATPANCHAR
A part of the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in Darjeeling, Latpanchar plays host to 36 species of animals and over 240 species of birds. The area also includes cinchona plantations, the Ahal Dara View Point, Namthing Lake, Sarsari Dara, Sitong Orange Orchard, etc.

Getting there
• Nearest airport is Bagdogra, 52 km away. • Nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP), 44 km away.

Best time to visit October to May.
Things to carry ID proof, camouflage or light coloured clothing, binoculars, camera, water, warm clothes and a cap.


Fees and charges for 2 adults and 1 child (age 10 years). 2) Accomodation for 3 nights and 4 days (in 3 star hotel / resort / homestay). 3) Cost for 5 safaris during the stay.

HEMIS NATIONAL PARK
Located in Ladakh, this is the place to go to if you want to spot the elusive snow leopard. Other inhabitants include the Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear and the red fox. For bird watchers, the golden eagle, Himalayan griffon vulture, Tibetan snow finch, robin accentor, the Himalayan snowcock and red-billed chough are what you need to look out for.

There are no hotels around the park. Tents and dormitories are available in the adjoining villages of Rumbak, Kaya, Sku, Shingo, Urutse and Chilling. The Hemis Monastery also provides accommodation facility.


1) Fees and charges for 2 adults and 1 child (age 15 years). 2) Cost includes local sightseeing and easy trekking /trails in Hemis to explore wildlife for 6 nights and 7 days.

Getting there
• Nearest airport is Leh, 50 km away. • Nearest railway station is Jammu, 250 km away.

Best time to visit
May to September.

Things to carry
Trekking bag, ID proof, walking stick, hiking shoes, woollens, water, juices, snacks, torch, medical kit, a good compass, a spare set of clothes, binoculars and camera. 
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/wealth/spend/how-to-vacation-in-the-wild-for-less-than-rs-50000-this-summer/articleshow/57825744.cms

No cause for pride: A success story goes awry

  • Editorial | New Delhi
    March 26, 2017 | 01:59 AM
    Gir Forest
    Gir Forest (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES)
    The lions of the Gir forest, the only surviving habitat of the Asiatic species, have long been a matter for parochial pride among the people of Gujarat; their netas in particular. They had joined forces to script a creditable conservation story that saw the once-dwindling population increase to an impressive 503 cats when the last census was conducted in 2015. Sadly that success story seems to have “gone to the head”, for no fewer than 160 lions have died in the last couple of years. What is “telling” is that though the authorities had made much of the numbers increasing, it required RTI action to extract the confession about the 160 deaths: 94 between April 2015 and March 2016, another 67 thereafter. Of particular concern is that a large number of deaths were the result of animals coming in contact with the electrified fences agriculturists have raised to protect their crops, or after falling into uncovered wells ~ which conservationists contend are deliberate death-traps. It was a campaign against electrified fencing and open wells some years back that had helped reduce the “threat” to the cats, now the protection-effort seems to have lost impetus. Cases of lions being hit by trains or motor vehicles on roads running through the forest have also taken their toll.
    What is also evident is that the Gir’s “protected sanctuary zone” is unable to sustain the present populace and the lions have to look beyond it for prey upon which to feed, and that has aggravated the man-animal conflict. The local authorities are not in favour of expanding the sanctuary zone as that would be unacceptable to people living there. Further complicating the “stand-off” is the state government’s reluctance to accept the proposal ~ endorsed by international agencies ~ to re-locate some lions to the Kuno-Palpur forest in Madhya Pradesh, which expert studies have found suitable for “creating” a second habitat which might also improve the genetic strain. Though the central government and the apex court have supported re-location, the Gujarat authorities keep raising objection. A section of critics allege that when he was chief minister in Gandhinagar, Mr Narendra Modi had been in the forefront of the resistance to re-location: now that he calls the “national shots” will he look beyond narrow boundaries to reinvigorate the lion population? Surely 160 lion deaths should serve as shock therapy.
    http://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/no-cause-for-pride-a-success-story-goes-awry-1490473696.html

International Day of Forests 2017: 5 Indian national parks that must be on your travel to-do list

The International Day of Forests, also known as the World Forestry Day, is celebrated on March 21 to raise awareness about conservation of forests.

160 lions die in Gir in 2 yrs

Posted at: Mar 22, 2017, 1:17 AM; last updated: Mar 22, 2017, 1:01 PM (IST)

25 deaths unnatural

  • Ninety-five Asiatic lions died between April 2015 and March 2016. Twenty-five of these died unnaturally
  • Another 67 lions died from April last year to date
160 lions die in Gir in 2 yrs
Manas Dasgupta
Ahmedabad, March 21
The Gujarat Forest Department has admitted that more than 160 Asiatic lions have died in the Gir forest in the last two years since the 2015 census put their population at record 523. This included death of 95 lions from April 2015 to March 2016, and another 67 from April last year to date. What was more shocking of the 95 deaths recorded last year was that 25 died unnaturally, including of electrocution by coming in contact with live wires put up by farmers to save their crops from herbivorous animals, and falling into wells left open by farmers in their fields, the department revealed in a reply to a query under the RTI Act. (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd) Almost all unnatural deaths were recorded in the areas outside the protected sanctuary zone in the periphery of the villages falling within Gir forest as under pressure of increasing population and shortage of prey, a number of Asiatic lions fanned outside the sanctuary zone and into the habituated villages. The wildlife experts said some of the carcasses of the lions were found in such highly decomposed conditions that it was even difficult to ascertain the exact causes of their death. The high death rate of the lions concerns environmentalists who have urged the state government to expand the protected zone to cover the wastelands and some other areas in the periphery, particularly because the state government was opposed to the idea of shifting a few species to Kuno-Palpur forests in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh to create a second home for the Asiatic lions. Meanwhile, a man-eater sloth bear, which had strayed out of the forest areas in Danta in Banaskantha district in north Gujarat and killed three persons besides injuring four others, was killed by sharp-shooters in a joint operation by the foresters from Danta, Gir Sanctuary and even Delhi who were rushed to the area this afternoon after the locals raised the alarm.
http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/160-lions-die-in-gir-in-2-yrs/380445.html

Kuno not needed; Gujarat has achieved its goals, hints paper

| | Updated: Mar 18, 2017, 07.05 AM ISTAHMEDABAD: The 12-member expert committee set up by the Supreme Court to oversee transalocation of lion from Gir to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh, has stated that Kuno Palpur was suitable for translocation.

However, a research paper published by National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) member HS Singh seems to imply that Kuno site had become unnecessary as its objectives had been achieved by Gujarat.

Singh's research paper says that the Kuno site was designed to increase the lion population beyond 500 and to improve the position of Asiatic Lions from 'Critically Endangered' to 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List.

Both these objectives that were planned two decades back have already been achieved by Gujarat through its conservation practices.

The research paper further states that the population of lion is growing only because the people of Gujarat take pride in them and feel that they own these lions. Conservation of wildlife is deep-rooted in the culture and tradition of Saurashtra, the paper says.

However, despite their growing population, the lions face threat from development of industries and ports, mining activities, and rail and high-speed roads in the coastal areas. The increased frequency and speed of goods trains on Pivavav-Rajula line is a new threat as 10 lions were killed during 2013-15.


The paper also states that industrial and mining activities around Veraval coast had forced the lions out of the area.

Pipavav port and related activities near Kaj wetlands in Kodinar taluka are a source of disturbance to a group of lions settled there. Further, change in land-use pattern and disappearance of wastelands and community lands are other problems affecting the lions.

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The project in Kuno is not for conservation but MPS tourismHimanshu Kaushik


Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced conversion of six state roads as National Highways. Of these new highways, the Una-Chotila highway passes close to the sanctuary. The research papers states that the road network, and widening and converting some of them as high-speed roads are a matter of concern for lion conservationists.

People around the Gir forests and some of the satellite areas are aware of the habits of the lions and have developed an understanding to live with them. Villagers in some of the new satellite areas have little understanding of the behaviour of the lion. They need to be educated, the paper says.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/kuno-not-needed-gujarat-has-achieved-its-goals-hints-paper/articleshow/57696905.cms

Tourists flock to get glimpse of white 'Albino Deer' in Gir

By: ANI
 Junagadh (Gujarat), Mar 17 (ANI): Though Gujarat's Gir Forest is world-known for rearing Asiatic Lion, this time the visitors are flocking to get a glimpse of two white-coloured 'albino deer' that have been spotted in the forest premises. The two fawns are progeny of Sambar breed. Albino is a genetic disorder under which the pigments of skin, hair and eyes change within a species.
http://indiablooms.com/ibns_new/video-details/N/89119/tourists-flock-to-get-glimpse-of-white-albino-deer-in-gir.html

Albino Deer draws attraction at Gujarat’s Gir


Mar 17, 2017 01:47 IST

Though Gujarat’s Gir Forest is world-known for rearing Asiatic Lion, this time the visitors are flocking to get a glimpse of two white-coloured ‘albino deer’ that have been spotted in the forest premises. The two fawns are progeny of Sambar breed. Albino is a genetic disorder under which the pigments of skin, hair and eyes change within a species. (ANI)

Source & Video; http://www.hindustantimes.com/videos/india-news/albino-deer-draws-attraction-at-gujarat-s-gir/video-TUhMJVCpWZda7DpDZuZ9hM.html

Asiatic lion population in Gir forests up fourfold in last five decades: study

The number of Asiatic lions in and around Gujarat’s Gir forests has increased in the last five decades, says an analysis published in India-based Current Science journal
Asiatic lions, which evolved in Europe, are believed to have moved South over millennia, and now survive only in Gujarat in India. Photo: Reuters
Asiatic lions, which evolved in Europe, are believed to have moved South over millennia, and now survive only in Gujarat in India. Photo: Reuters
New Delhi: The lion population in and around the Gir forest in Gujarat has witnessed a fourfold increase in the five decades till 2015, according to a report published in scientific journal Current Science last week. That’s the good news.
The not-so-good news, the report concludes, is that massive infrastructure projects such as railways and high-speed road corridors, as well as industrial, port and mining activities, are beginning to affect the only habitat of the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) and are a major cause of concern for their future.
“During the last five decades (1965–2015), the approach for the Asiatic lion’s conservation is one of the best efforts in the world. Unlike other super predators, the number of lions has increased fourfold and (that of) wild ungulates by over thirteen-fold in the Gir forest,” said the analysis authored by H.S. Singh.
“Expansion and consolidation of the Gir protected area, habitat of the Asiatic lion, and response of prey and predator to the management and dispersion trend of lions outside the Gir forests are interesting and noteworthy. The distribution range of lions has also expanded to a large landscape in four districts in the state,” the report said.
In May 2015, the Gujarat government released its latest lion census figures, which said Gir’s Asiatic lion population had grown around 27%, from 411 in 2010 to 523 in 2015.
Asiatic lions, found only in Gujarat, have been classified as an endangered species.
Also Read | No second home for lions even as numbers grow
The study explained that the Gir wildlife sanctuary, the first protected area (PA) in Gujarat, was established in 1965 to conserve the Asiatic lion. Subsequently, the core area of the sanctuary was declared a national park, while the sanctuary was expanded to cover peripheral forests. The adjoining area, an integral part of the Gir forest in Amreli district, was declared as the Pania sanctuary. The wastelands and community lands around Gir were notified as protected forests. A patch of forest near Gir in Mitiyala, historically known as a lion habitat, was declared a sanctuary for further consolidation of its habitat. In 2007, Girnar, a lion satellite area, was also declared as a sanctuary. Five PAs—Gir national park, Gir sanctuary, Pania sanctuary, Mitiyala sanctuary and Girnar sanctuary—covering 1,621 sq. km, are presently managed as the Asiatic lion’s habitat.
“In two decades (1995-2015), more than 40% of the total number of lions was spotted outside the Gir landscape. The prey population, predation behaviour of the lion and acceptance of the lion as an honourable animal by the villagers indicate that the present trend may continue in the near future as well,” the study added.
However, it expressed concern at the massive pace of infrastructure development.
“The development of industries and ports, mining activities, rails and high-speed roads in the coastal area have already impacted the lions. The increased frequency and speed of goods trains in Pipavav-Rajula line has posed a new threat as 10 lions were killed during 2013-15,” it noted.
“The change in land-use pattern and disappearance of wastelands and community lands are other issues of concern,” the analysis added.
“The increasing population of lions will not sustain in Gujarat in coming years. Not just lion-human conflicts but other problems too, like unnatural deaths and genetic disorders, will surface. Keeping lions only in Gujarat is also against international norms,” said Ajay Dubey, secretary of non-governmental organization Prayatna, which has long campaigned for moving lions out of Gujarat.
The Supreme Court, in an April 2013 order, directed the Union environment ministry to shift some of Gujarat’s lions to the Kuno wildlife sanctuary in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. But the order has not been implemented so far.
http://www.livemint.com/Politics/3kaVvzKF4dOoebk9hTQcpK/Number-of-Asiatic-lions-in-Gir-region-up-fourfold-in-last-fi.html

FSL report awaited in lion’s death

  • TOI
  • Rajkot

25 lions died of unnatural causes in a year after census

  • TOI
  • Ahmedabad

RTI exposes illegal mining around Gir

| | Updated: Mar 16, 2017, 11.37 AM IST
Environmental activists allege that government has given in to illegal miners who have high business stakes around the Gir SanctuaryEnvironmental activists allege that government has given in to illegal miners who have high business stakes ar... Read More
KODINAR: Illegal miners seem to have got a complete free hand in digging near the Asiatic lions' last abode — Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. If data revealed under the RTI Act is any indication, the Supreme Court order banning mining, both legal and illegal in a 10km periphery around the sanctuary pending clearance of final eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) proposal, has been flagrantly violated.

Between April 2016 and February 2017, the geology and mining department had lodged 22 FIRs for illegal mining in the close vicinity of the sanctuary. "The estimated value of illegal mining in these 22 cases was pegged at Rs 11.29 crore. But this is just the tip of an iceberg as illegal mining is rampant around Gir Sanctuary and adversely affecting forest and wildlife,'' said Balu Socha, an environmental activist based in Kodinar, who had sought the information.

Earlier, the Centre had notified an area up to 17.9km from the boundary of the Mitiyala Wildlife Sanctuary, 16.3km from the boundary of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and up to 14.98km from the Paniya Wildlife Sanctuary. Now, the ESZ covers only 207 sq km of 114 villages in nine talukas covering three districts as against the original 3,328.8139 sq km extending to around 291 villages. Environmental activists alleged that government has given in to illegal miners who have high business stakes around the Gir Sanctuary.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/rti-exposes-illegal-mining-around-gir/articleshow/57655443.cms

Lion found dead in Gir West

| Updated: Mar 15, 2017, 12.36 PM IST

RAJKOT: Mystery shrouds the death of a 10-year-old lion whose body was found in Ghantvad round of Jamwala Forest Range in Gir-West division three days ago.

Pradeep Singh, deputy conservator of forest, Gir west, said, "The lion was aged between nine years old and 12 years old. We have sent the viscera for forensic analysis. We are also investigating circumstantial evidence to ascertain the cause of death. There were no external injuries on the lion's body but we are investigating all aspects."

Meanwhile, there is little headway in the electrocution of the six-year-old lioness that was pregnant with two cubs in February. The lioness was dumped in Hiran River, reportedly to destroy evidence, after it was electrocuted in a farm fencing.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/lion-found-dead-in-gir-west/articleshow/57636093.cms


25 lions died of unnatural causes in a year after census

| | Updated: Mar 15, 2017, 09.11 AM IST
  • The RTI was filed by former Army jawan-turned-environment crusader Bhagvan SolankiJUNAGADH:The number of Asiatic lions that have died due to unnatural causes like electrocution and drowning in wells has shot up significantly in Saurashtra.
  • 25 lions have died of unnatural causes in a year in Saurashtra
  • All the 25 unnatural deaths happened on the fringes of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary

    The damning numbers have been revealed in official data procured using Right to Information (RTI) tool.The data shows that of the 95 lions that died between April 2015 and March 2016, 25 died of unnatural causes. Lion experts and wild life activists have expressed concern over the steep increase. In the same period in 2014-2015, 13 lions had died of such causes. Moreover, these deaths have come in the period after the lion census conducted in 2015 revealed that there 523 Asiatic lions in four districts of Saurashtra. The RTI was filed by former Army jawan-turned-environment crusader Bhagvan Solanki of Lodhva village of Gir-Somnath district. What is worrisome is that all the 25 unnatural deaths happened on the fringes of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary and outside the protected areas. This shows how vulnerable the lions are outside Gir," Army jawan-turned-environment crusader Bhagvan Solanki of Lodhva village of Gir-Somnath district said.

In some cases, the exact cause of unnatural deaths could not even be ascertained as the carcasses were completely decomposed. According to sources in the forest department, at least 67 lions have died between April 2016 and March 2017, which means that after the census, 170 lions have died in Saurashtra.

"The numbers are alarming and government must immediately declare government wasteland, vidis (government grassland) and reserve forests outside Gir sanctuary as protected areas to save lions," said Biren Padhya, an activist who has filed multiple PILs in Gujarat high court for forests and lions' protection
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/25-lions-died-of-unnatural-causes-in-a-year-after-census/articleshow/57641431.cms

No Centre grants for Gir Lion project since two years, says Gujarat govt


A lioness with her cubs in Gir forest.(Representative photo)A lioness with her cubs in Gir forest.(Representative photo)

| | Mar 14, 2017, 07.08 PM IST7, 07.08 PM IST
AHMEDABAD: The state government has admitted that the central government has since January 2015 not given any grants for the Gir Lion project in the state.

The state government in reply to the question of Prantij MLA Mahendrasinh Bariya said that in the last two years since December 31, 2015, the central government has not allocated any funds for the Gir Lion projects.

However, the government in another reply to UNA MLA Punja Vansh claimed that the government in the financial year has allocated 21.88 crore while in 2015-16 it has allocated only 14.29 crore. The government claimed that in 2014-15 some 60 works in Gir-east and west were completed. While the same in 2015-16 it was only 44 works.

Sources in the forest department refusing to be quoted said Greater Gir remains the last habitat of Asiatic lions on earth, and it seems to have no place in the Centre's Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH). Earlier, the UPA government had cold shouldered the Rs 234-crore proposal for long-term lion conservation, claiming so much money cannot be allocated for a single species. After Gujarat government whittled down requirements and sent a revised proposal for Rs 150 crore, the NDA government has refused to grant any money at all, citing lack of funds.

Officials admitted that the project proposal with estimated cost of Rs 150 crore had been submitted by the Gujarat government in 2014 for financial assistance under Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats - a centrally sponsored scheme. Gujarat had sought Rs 135 crore from the Centre and the state. The officer said that the Gujarat forest department has received the Union government's intimation, and now we are trying to realize the project through various other schemes of state and Union government.

Officials are now trying to break down the project requirements into different components and see whether some of them can be funded via other schemes. A senior forest officer said, "The department will now seek funds under Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement Project among various other schemes."
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/no-centre-grants-for-gir-lion-project-since-two-years-says-gujarat-govt/articleshow/57633482.cms