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.
Gir in Gujarat, the last abode of Asiatic lions in Asia, has lost an
alarmingly large number of the endangered wild cats in two years. On
March 28, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG)
was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly. It listed huge “flaws” in lion
conservation efforts in the State.
Minister Ganpat Vasava told the Assembly that 184 lions had died in two
years: 104 in 2016 and 80 in 2017. As many as 32 died of “unnatural
causes” like falling into wells or getting run over by trains in the
same period at the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. The dead included cubs too.
The high number of deaths prompted the High Court to take suo motu
cognizance of the issue. The court took the authorities to task this
March, directing them to get back on measures being taken by the
Environment and Forest Department to ensure adequate protection to
Why the conflict?
number of lion attacks on livestock and humans in 2016 and 2017 was
pegged at 398, raising serious concerns about a man-lion conflict in
eight to nine districts in the coastal Saurashtra region. Responding to a
question by Congress legislator Gyasuddin Sheikh, Mr. Vasava admitted
that wells without parapet walls often became death traps for the
There are 27 open wells in Amreli district near the
sanctuary, and the government has promised to build parapet walls “as
soon as possible.” Several open wells have already been secured. The
other preventive measures are construction of fences along the rail
track in Amreli district and building speedhumps on roads in the
Why no new habitat?
As per the 2015 census, there
were 523 lions in and around the Gir sanctuary. Unfortunately, though
the total population of Asiatic lions increased from 359 in 2005 to 523
in 2015, no new protected habitat was approved by the State government
since 2008. As stated in the CAG report, the number of lions outside the
protected area in 2011 was 108, which increased by 54.6% to 167 in
2015. The Gir Protected Area includes the Gir, Girnar, Paniya and
Mitiyala sanctuaries and the Gir National Park. To provide a safe
corridor for the lions moving out of the Gir Protected Area, the Chief
Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) had
proposed a new sanctuary spread over 30,000 hectares in Amreli and
Bhavnagar districts in 2005. Later, the plan was revised, and the new
region was proposed to be a conservation reserve (CR) spread across
10,953 hectares. The CAG observed that as on May 2017, the Revenue
Department had not transferred 4,800 hectares of wasteland to the Forest
Department for setting up the conservation reserve. “Thus, the
declaration of the lion habitat area as a conservation reserve is
pending despite the lapse of 11 years,” it said. It questioned the
non-approval of a new protected area despite “high instances of deaths
of lions” in their present habitat. The CAG also pointed out that the
genome mapping project was being handled by an agency which did not
possess the expertise, and the progress was slow.
What is their future?
government, which has always taken pride in showcasing Gujarat as the
only habitat of Asiatic lions, refuses to translocate some of them to
Madhya Pradesh despite a Supreme Court order. It must make sincere
efforts to provide adequate protection to the animals moving out to
non-protected areas. It must increase the size of the protected areas to
prevent more lions from dying, wildlife experts say. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-where-there-is-a-concern-over-disappearing-lions/article23468435.ece