Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lioness carcass found in Gir east

| Feb 28, 2019, 04:54 IST
Rajkot: The forest department found carcass of a 10-year-old lioness on Wednesday in Sausaria area of Bania in Gir east forest division.;postID=2756567835813471736

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Leopard enters house in Gujarat's Amreli district, runs away with 2-year-old infant

Updated Feb 27, 2019 | 01:05 IST | Mirror Now Digital

A leopard entered a house in Amreli district of Gujarat and dragged away an infant before mauling it to death. The incident was reported from Sarasiya range of the Gir forest.

The leopard was chased away by villagers (Representative Image)  |  Photo Credit: BCCL
Ahmedabad: In a tragic incident which has come to light from Gujarat, an infant was reportedly mauled to death by a leopard in the Sarasiya range of Gir forest in Amreli district. Officials with the forest department said that the incident took place on Monday when the big cat entered the house of a farmer in the district.
Leopard mauls infant to death in Gujarat's Amreli districtChief conservator of forests (Junagarh) DT Vasavada told news agency PTI that the leopard took away the two-year-old child from the house in Gopalam village on Monday. The animal entered the house and ran away with the child in his grasp, added Vasavada. The boy's grandfather witnessed the incident and summoned locals for help. Upon hearing a commotion, the big cat left the child and ran away. Unfortunately, the infant had passed away by that time.
An official with the forest department in the area told media personnel that efforts are underway to capture the animal. Cages are being placed across the area to trap the animal, he added.
A similar incident was reported from Gujarat's Chhota Udaipur district in July of last year when a fully-grown leopard attacked a couple and their child near Raipur village in Pavi Jetpur tehsil. The victims were reportedly travelling on a motorcycle at the time of the attack. It was only after bystanders raised an alarm that the big cat fled the spot.

Lion found dead in farmland in Junagadh district

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 
A lion was found dead in a farmland in district of Monday, with initial observation indicating infighting as the cause, a forest department official said.
The carcass of the big cat, aged 4-5 years, was found in the agricultural land of a farmer, Kalu Rathod, said Chief of Forests, Wildlife Circle, Junagadh, D T Vasavada.
The farmland is located under Jasadhar range of Gir East division of forest in district, he said.
The farm owner informed the forest department after which officials rushed to the spot, Vasavada said.
"As per primary observation by staff, the reason of death seems to be infighting," he said.
Over 200 lions have died in the region in in the last two years, the government told the legislative assembly Friday last week.
To a query by MLA Bhagabhai Barad, Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava, in a written reply, said 110 lions and 94 cubs had died in 2017 and 2018.
The government said only 27 deaths were reported to be due to unnatural causes.
As per the 2015 census, there were 523 lions in and around the Gir sanctuary, the last abode of Asiatic lions.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Kamal Nath writes to PM Modi for trans-locating Asiatic lion from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh

In the letter, the MP CM has requested the PM to intervene in this matter and to issue directives to the Union Ministry for Forest and Environment and Government of Gujarat for early action.
Published: 26th February 2019 01:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2019 01:26 AM
Express News Service
BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging immediate translocation of an Asiatic lion from Gir (Gujarat) to Kuno National Park in MP.
In the letter, the MP CM has requested the PM to intervene in this matter and to issue directives to the Union Ministry for Forest and Environment and Government of Gujarat for early action in this regard, an official statement of MP government said.
He also mentioned in the letter that all the recommendations made by the Wildlife Institute of India and expert committee formed in connection to the translocation of Asiatic Lions to Kuno have been implemented by the MP government. 20 villages (1543 families) have already been rehabilitated by the state government. A complete arrangement as regards to food for the lion has been made in the Kuno National Park. A substantial amount of money has been incurred by the state government on these arrangements. Now the Kuno National Park is ready to welcome the Asiatic Lion, he added.
He also mentioned that as per the recommendations made by the committee, the area of Kuno National Park has already been extended by additional 404 square km of forest area.
It may be mentioned that the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment while expressing its concern had said that it is essential to establish a second home for the endangered species Asiatic Lion. If it is confined to only one habitat then this species will become extinct.   Kuno National Park of Madhya Pradesh is the best habitat for Asiatic Lion. According to the April 2013 order of the Supreme Court, the Asiatic Lion was supposed to be shifted from Gujarat to the Kuno National Park within 6 months.

India Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (Feb 18-24)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of Indian ecology, botany and zoology
By DTE Staff Last Updated: Monday 25 February 2019
Credit: Getty Images Credit: Getty Images
African Cheetahs to be translocated to India: NTCA
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) told a bench of the Supreme Court on February 22, 2019, that African cheetahs would be translocated in India from Namibia and would be kept at Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. According to a news report, the authority further told the apex court that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had given a ‘no objection’ for the translocation. When an objection was raised as to why Asiatic Cheetahs could not be imported from Iran rather than African ones, the court decided to post the hearing for March 12. The Indian Cheetah was declared extinct in 1952.
Now, ‘safe zone’ for vultures across southern states
Forest officials and experts have decided to set up a ‘vulture safe zone’ across the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The decision was taken at a recent vulture conservation workshop held at Waynad, Kerala by the state forest department, according to a news report. As part of the plan, the states have decided to create a common platform so that forest officials from the states in the region can discuss vulture conservation issues and implement guidelines in protected areas. As a first step, a synchronized survey would be conducted across the southern states from March 15-17. Genetic studies on population estimations and radio collaring will also be started.
Two sloth bears found dead in Odisha’s Balasore
Two sloth bears were found dead near a river at the Jambudiha village under the Nilagiri forest range in Odisha’s Balasore district on February 19, 2019, according to a local media report. The carcasses of the bears were first spotted by local village residents, who informed the Forest Department. Though the exact reason of the deaths is not known, theories range from electrocution to poisoning. The Tinikosia, Swarnachuda and Kuladiha forests in Balasore district are home to many sloth bears. Prior to the February 19 incident, two bears were found dead at Chalanapala, also in Balasore on January 28 and February 17.
Bhoramdeo in Chhattisgarh will not be a tiger reserve
The proposed project to declare Bhoramdeo in Chhattisgarh as a tiger reserve has been shelved as per news reports. This was announced by the state’s Minister of Forests, Mohammed Akbar on the tenth day of the State Assembly’s latest session on February 21, 2019. The minister said that a lot of villages spread over an area of 8,000 sq km would have been affected if the proposed tiger reserve had been given the go-ahed. Bhoramdeao lies in the Kabirdham district of Chhattisgarh. It is known for a famous Hindu temple complex that is built at the foot of the thickly forested Maikal range of hills.
36 quarantined lions to be brought back to Gir
A total of 36 Asiatic lions, that had been quarantined in rescue centres of the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary after an epidemic of Canine Distemper Virus had swept through these protected areas in September, 2018, are to be released into the wild again. It will be a challenging task, according to experts quoted in a number of news reports as the animals have become habituated to humans. Moreover, the area of Gir from where they were taken in 2018, has been taken over by new lion prides and releasing them there could cause territorial fights. The Gujarat Forest Department will take a final decision on when and where to release the lions.

In India's Largest Reintroduction Operation, 36 Gir Lions To Return To The Jungle

Feb 24, 2019 at 13:21 by Srishti Magan
36 Asiatic lions that were quarantined when suspected of being infected by canine distemper virus (CDV) will now be reintroduced to the forest in one of the riskiest and largest reintroduction operations the country has seen. 
Source: The (Representational Image)
Earlier, the largest relocation of lions from one wild habitat to another was conducted in Sariska between 2007 and 2012, and involved a total of six lions. 
Source: Adventure Sports (Representational Image)

Following the death of over 25 lions, the 36 lions were moved last October to two different care centers. The lions were then undertaken through three levels of vaccination in four months before declaring them fit for the wild. 
Source: Geographyandyou (Representational Image)
However, as per reports, the adult lions are likely to have assimilated to living with humans are reintroducing them to a wild environment will be a dangerous task. 
Source: India Today (Representational Image)

Gir forest that already has lost over 200 lions in the last two years due to infectious diseases like CDV. Thus, it appears that even though difficult, the relocation operation is one that is much needed. 
Source: The Logical Indian (Representational Image)
Here's hoping these lions make it back to their natural habitat, ready to rule the jungle again.

Five enclosures, 3D theatre to be inaugurated in March

File picture of Byculla zoo.
 File picture of Byculla zoo.
Published : Feb 23, 2019, 2:33 am IST
Updated : Feb 23, 2019, 2:33 am IST

The work for phase two of the Byculla zoo revamp project, which includes enclosures for 17 animals, was started last year.
Mumbai: With the BMC getting final approval for phase three of the Byculla zoo revamp, the total number of animals displayed in the zoo will now be 34. These include 17 of phase two, 15 exotic animals of phase three, one crocodile and the already exhibited Humboldt penguins.
The work for phase two of the Byculla zoo revamp project, which includes enclosures for 17 animals, was started last year. The BMC on Friday announced that the first five animal enclosures and a 3D theatre would be inaugurated in the second week of March and would be open for public viewing.
The animals under phase two include tiger, Asiatic lion, leopard, hyena, India wolf, sloth bear, swamp deer, barking deer, spotted deer, Nilgai, four-horned antelope, and black buck. Phase two also includes a small cat complex, two bird aviaries, a reptile house, Madras pond and Otter.
Dr Sanjay Tripathi, director of Byculla zoo, said, “The construction work of the enclosures and the process of bringing the animals is underway. However, around March 17, we will put the animals present in the zoo in the newly built enclosures. It will be for public display.”
However, completion of the entire project will take at least two years.
Dr Tripathi added, “Animals under phase two are native and will be brought in from other zoos in India. While, the exotic animals under phase three will be brought from foreign countries. Now, we have got the final approval and we will start procedures for bringing the animals along with construction of the enclosures.”
Till now, BMC has modernised Byculla zoo with heritage restoration work, asphalting of internal road, internal pocket gardens, selfie points etc.

204 Lions Died in Gir Forest Region in Last Two Years: Gujarat Govt

The government allocated Rs 21.96 crore for lion conservation in Gir in 2017 and Rs 27.89 crore in 2018, while the contribution of the Union government was Rs 1.92 crore and 1.06 crore for the last two years, he said.

Updated:February 22, 2019, 9:25 PM ISTGandhinagar: Over 200 lions died in the Gir forest region in the last two years, the Gujarat government told the legislative Assembly on Friday.

Only 27 of these deaths were because of "unnatural" causes such as getting hit by a train or falling into a well, it said.

To a query by Congress' Bhagabhai Barad, forest minister Ganpat Vasava, in a written reply, said 110 lions and 94 cubs died in 2017 and 2018.

Of the 110 adult lions, 43 died in 2017 and 67 in 2018. Thirty-eight cubs died in 2017 and 56 in 2018, the reply said.

Of the 204 deaths, 27 (21 lions and six cubs) were because of "unnatural causes" such as falling into a well or being run over by a train, the minister said.

Vasava also said that 331 leopards, including 75 cubs, died in Gujarat forests in the last two years, adding the state government was taking various steps to prevent deaths due to unnatural causes.

Some of these preventive measures are building parapets around wells, fencing railway tracks, construction of speed breakers on roads passing through sanctuaries and continuous patrolling, the reply said.

To a question by Congress MLA Pratap Dudhat about the viral infection among lions last year, Vasava said 34 lions died in the last one year due to diseases including Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) infection.

Babesia, Streptococcal bacteria and Gram-negative bacilli infections were also responsible for some of these deaths, the minister said.

The government allocated Rs 21.96 crore for lion conservation in Gir in 2017 and Rs 27.89 crore in 2018, while the contribution of the Union government was Rs 1.92 crore and 1.06 crore for the last two years, he said.

Canine distemper virus outbreak: All 36 quarantined lions fit, ready to be released into wild

Canine distemper virus outbreak: All 36 quarantined lions fit, ready to be released into wild
As many as 17 lions had died between September 12 and October 2 of a CDV infection in Gir.
As many as 17 of a total of 23 lions that had died between September 12 and October 2, after an outbreak of CDV in Sarasiya Vidi, a forest patch in Gir (east) in Amreli district, perished from the illness. Three others died fighting among themselves while the cause of death of the remaining three could not be ascertained.

FIVE months after 36 Asiatic lions of the Gir (forest) division contracted a deadly respiratory and gastrointestinal disease, the animals are now fit and ready to be released into the wild again, forest officers said on Thursday.
The lions had been rescued from Gir (east) forest division in the last week of September to be treated for a Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) infection. “All the 36 (rescued) lions have survived and recovered,” Dushyant Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle told The Indian Express on Thursday. “We have decided in principle to release them back in to the wild. When and where…is yet to be worked out.”
As many as 17 of a total of 23 lions that had died between September 12 and October 2, after an outbreak of CDV in Sarasiya Vidi, a forest patch in Gir (east) in Amreli district, perished from the illness. Three others died fighting among themselves while the cause of death of the remaining three could not be ascertained.
CDV is a highly contagious disease that affects a host of wild animals. It had wiped out a third of the lion population in Tanzania in the early 1990s.
Lions are territorial animals and with an increase in their population, they are recapturing their old range. For this reason, experts advise extreme caution while releasing the 36 lions back into the wild following their treatment. Ravi Chella, a researcher who has studied the Asiatic lions of Gir, said that other lions might have moved in to Sarasiya and Semardi by now, and it could lead to territorial fights.
Following the initial deaths of 13 lions in Sarasiya Vidi, 13 lions from the area were taken to Jasadhar Rescue Centre for treatment. However, 10 of them died. Three survived. Another 31 lions from Semardi adjoining Sarasiya Vidi were shifted to Jamwala Rescue Centre in Gir (west) forest division for treatment, while two others from neighbouring Paniya range were taken to Babarkot Rescue Centre near Jafrabad in Amreli social forestry division.
After laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the virus, the lions were given doses of CDV vaccine imported from the United States. “The vaccination cycle, which included administering three doses at specified intervals, has been completed, and presently the animals carry no risk of the disease,” Vasavada said.
Asiatic lions are endangered. Their only wild population in the world survives in the Gir forest and other protected areas spread across Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. A 2015 census counted 523 lions.

5 months on, lions to be free

5 months on, lions to be free
Asiatic lions were isolated from Dalkhaniya range
Almost five months after they were captured, vaccinated against Canine Distemper Virus and kept under observation, 34 lions will be released into the wild soon. The big cats had been isolated from Dalkhaniya range after an outbreak of CDV claimed lives of 32 lions in Gir East.

After the outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus in Dalkhaniya range ended up killing several lions between September and December, the forest department rounded up 34 lions from Dalkhaniya and the surrounding range in Gir East to check for signs of infection. The lions were sent to rescue centres, given vaccines imported from the US and kept under observation.

Chief Conservator of Forest (Junagadh) D T Vasavada told Mirror, "The animals are healthy and fine. We are thinking of releasing them after getting the okay from veterinary doctors. We will also plan how and where to release rescued lions to ensure their safety."

Lions' carcasses started to surface in Gir National Forest area from September 12. By September 19, the toll had reached 11 and went further up to 23 by October 2. Meanwhile, the reports based on samples that were collected revealed that at least 11 were dead because of CDV. Several lions were tested positive for the highly contagious virus that has been blamed for recent lion deaths.

Meanwhile, the haze surrounding the deaths of Asiatic lions became thicker with the disappearance of two important reports from the website of the Indian Council of Medical Research.

The country's apex bio-medical research body had conducted tests on samples of 27 big cats, which showed that 21 of them were positive for CDV - a virus that wiped out 30 per cent of total population of lions in Serengeti forest areas in East Africa in the past. Following Mirror's report, the ICMR released the test reports on their website.

Parliament panel seeks experts’ opinion on Gir pride relocation

| | New Delhi
Days after a Government report suggested the creation of a second home for the Asiatic lions from Gujarat's Gir forest, a Parliamentary panel too has recommended that wildlife experts may be consulted for exploring the option of relocating/shifting some of the lions in nearby areas or other sanctuaries, if feasible.
The panel, headed by Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma, in its report 'status of forest fire', observed that lion population in the Gir forest is decreasing due to one reason or the other. "There are many unprotected wells; lions sometimes fall down in these wells, leading to their deaths. Frequent fights amongst the lions and man-animal conflicts can also be attributed for reduction in number of lions..," said the report tabled in Parliament recently.
Asiatic Lions are listed in the Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, thereby according them the highest degree of protection.
Warning that lions can go the tigers' way as happened in Rajasthan's Sariska Tiger Reserve a few years ago where poaching of big cat was "going on unabated and consequently, Sariska had become tiger less a few years back," the panel noted that a real effort was made to populate it again.
The Committee hopes that unprotected wells of all wildlife sanctuaries/national parks of the country including the Gir Forest in Gujarat would be covered properly in order to save the wild animals falling into these wells and losing their lives.
In the wake of 23 lion deaths within a very short span of time ie September- October, 2018, the panel had sought status report from the Union Environment Ministry asking for the reason for fatalaities.
The Committee also expressed its concern that infighting amongst the lions of Gir forest, Gujarat might be due to over population of the lions in specific areas. The Committee recommends that wild life experts may be consulted for exploring relocating/shifting some of the lions in nearby areas/other sanctuaries, if feasible.
The suggestion echoes the views of the report, 'Asiatic Lion Conservation Project', which was released by Union Environment Minister Dr Harshvardhan on February 9, which said that among other conservation measures," the Government may consider the establishment of a second home for Asiatic Lions for securing the population from any threat of disease or epidemic".
The report had noted that the current rate of development-induced habitat fragmentation, loss of potential lion habitats owing to natural calamities triggered by climate change besides poaching and poisoning of prey carcasses plague the lions conservation, which are presently confined in Saurashtra region of Gujarat.

Local Resident Spots A Tiger In Gujarat Almost 34 Years After The Last One Died In Road Mishap

Kriti Gupta
Updated: Feb 10, 2019, 14:38 PM IST
Last year in September Gujarat forest department was at the receiving end of a lot of flak because 23 Asiatic lions had died in the Gir forest owing to a canine distemper virus (CDV) epidemic.
Madhya Pradesh government has been fighting with the Gujarat government for shifting of lions to its state as a second home for the wild cats. However, the order hasn’t been implemented by the latter since the judgement was passed in 2013.
While neighbouring states like Rajasthan house many tigers, Gujarat isn’t home to tigers at all. PTI reported in January this year the last time a tiger was spotted in Gujarat was way back in 1985. Now, over three decades later, a census has been planned next month to ascertain the presence of the striped animal in the forest of Dang district.
The Dang district in Gujarat which is full of green forests might be home to a few tigers. Until the 1980s, tigers roamed about forests of Dang, Narmada and Sabarkantha districts. However, the last tiger had died in a road accident in Dang in 1985 according to Gujarat principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) G K Sinha.
After 34 years, a government teacher has reported seeing the striped animal on February 06. Times of India reported that a teacher named Mahesh Mahera saw the wild cat crossing the road into the wilderness of Boriya village in Lunawada Taluka in Mahisagar district.

Lion cub dies in Gir sanctuary

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 
A female cub died in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary Monday, officials said.
The cub, between 8 to 9 months old, collapsed and died shortly after it was sighted by a team of forest officials and a veterinary doctor, they said.
The officials had gone to the forest under the Gir-West division to rescue another animal when they came across the cub, said D T Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle.
The carcass was sent to the for autopsy so as to ascertain the cause of death, he added.
No external injuries were found on the cub's body.
On February 15, a lion, aged between 5 to 9 years, had been found dead in Tulsishyam range of Gir-East division of the sanctuary.
Over 30 lions, including cubs, have died in and around since September last year due to various reasons including viral infections, territorial fights or being hit by trains.
is home to over 600 Asiatic lions.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Lion found dead in Gir sanctuary

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 
A lion was found dead in range of near district of on Friday, officials said.
The lion, aged between 5 and 9 years, was found dead by the forest staff of the Gir-East division during a routine patrolling in Nandivela foothill area inside the protected forest, D T Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle, said.
The carcass of the lion was sent for post-mortem to ascertain the cause of death, the said.
Over 30 lions, including cubs, have died in and around the since September last year due to various reasons. While many of them had succumbed to viral infections, some others had died of natural causes, territorial fights or after being hit by trains.
is the only abode of Asiatic lions. As per the last census of 2015, it is home to 523 lions. However, the had recently announced that the number had increased to over 600.

Like humans, animals too have a right to migrate

A tiger was sighted in Gujarat earlier this week after 27 years. Its surprise appearance has raised a few questions.

editorials Updated: Feb 18, 2019 07:48 IST
Hindustan Times
animal corridor,gujarat,tiger sighted in gujarat
The tiger captured by a night vision camera in the forest of Mahisagar, February 12, 2019.(HT PHOTO)
Twenty seven years after a tiger was last sighted in the Dang district of Gujarat, a big cat (5-7 years old) was spotted in the state’s Mahisagar district on February 12. With this sighting, Gujarat now has the unique distinction of being home to both Asiatic Lions as well as a Bengal Tiger, which is listed as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List since 2008.
The surprise appearance of a tiger has raised a few questions: First, where has this tiger come from? Second, can it coexist with lions? And third, what happens if they come face to face? “We can only speculate what is likely to happen… We know that lions are stronger in a group against an adversary while the tiger is a solitary animal. Between both cats, the tiger is definitely stronger,” Mumbai-based lion researcher, Meena Venkataraman, told Down To Earth. On the first question, Times of India reported that after seeing the photos of the big cat’s stripes, forest officials of the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh have claimed that the tiger is from their zone.
If this claim is correct, then the tiger must have trekked almost 300 km of densely populated areas to reach Gujarat. It must have, forest officials claim, survived on livestock and wild animals. In that case, this tiger has been extremely lucky to avoid any conflict with humans during its long journey. But not all big cats are so lucky; and, therefore, measures must be taken to ensure that animals that move from one area to another get secure and safe passage.
This means that animal corridors and buffer zones are maintained across the country, and that infrastructure development around forest areas such as roads, railways and canals take into account that animals, too, have a right to move from one part to another, and that such structures must not impede their movement.
One of the recommendations of the ministry of environment and forests on guidelines for roads in protected areas says, “Wherever possible, natural animal crossings existing across roads should be retained or encouraged. For instance, overlapping tree canopy in closed canopy evergreen/semi evergreen forests is an essential attribute for the movement of arboreal species. Passage to water holes and daily movements of animals must also be safeguarded”. Where natural passes are not possible, it adds, there should be well designed tunnels, culverts, and pipes for a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic species.
For the moment, however, the Gujarat forest department has its work cut out. It needs to keep a strict vigil on the movement of the tiger and also sensitise the local population about the tiger’s movements and the need to protect it.

The Lion’s Den: When Big Cats Roamed Greece (video)

Ancient Greek art depicting Greek god Dionysius riding a panther. Source: Wikipedia

Lion sculptures from the 4th century BC in Greece. Source: Wikipedia
Greek scientists believe that a cave near Vravrona, about 40 km (25 miles) east of Athens, was a hideout for lions and panthers which roamed the Greek countryside thousands of years ago.
Fossils belonging to small and large mammals, including lions and panthers, have been recently unearthed by researchers. Other species identified from skeletal remains include wolves, bison, horses, bears and deer.
Excavations in the cave began in the mid 1970s and continues to this day. Scientists say that the fossils date over a large period between twenty-five thousand to seven thousand years ago.
They believe that the cave was either a natural trap for animals, or perhaps was a place where large predators would bring their prey to enjoy a quiet dinner.
Because most of these species became extinct in Greece such a long time ago, little is known about the animals’ possible ranges throughout the country.
Lions feature very prominently in ancient Greek mythology and writings including the myth of the Nemean Lion. This animal, which was believed to enjoy supernatural powers, was said to have occupied the sacred town of Nemea in the Peloponese.
The Nemean Lion was famously slain by Heracles, constituting the first labor the Greek god was tasked with performing. It was said that the lion’s fur was impervious to attacks because it was made of gold, and its claws, sharper than mortal swords, could cut through armor.
Heracles managed to kill the Nemean Lion by strangling it; he wore the lion’s pelt ever after.
Lions symbolized power and wealth for the ancient Greeks. Aristotle and Herodotus wrote that lions were even found in the Balkans in the middle of the first millennium BC. When King Xerxes advanced through Macedonia in 480 BC he reported encountering several lions.
Lions were reported to have become extinct in Italy before the year 20 BC and from Western Europe as a whole around the year 1 AD. According to historians, by the year 70 the giant cats were restricted to northern Greece, in the area between the rivers Aliakmon and Nestus.
By the year 100 they became extinct in Eastern Europe as well. After that lions in Europe became restricted to the Caucasus mountains, where a population of Asiatic lions survived all the way into the tenth century.

Real-life Jungle Book meets sad end: Leopard cub Mowgli reared by lioness Raksha dies in Gir

Photo: Twitter/DGirwest

Photo: Twitter/DGirwest

Photo: Twitter/DGirwest

The leopard cub, named Mowgli, was under the care of a 7-year-old lioness, named Raksha, for the past 45 days in the Gir national forest.

Mowgli leopard cub
Mowgli playing with Raksha. (Photo: Twitter/DGirwest)
In news that will make your midweek blues worse, a leopard cub who was being reared by a lioness in Gujarat's Gir forest area has died. The leopard cub, named Mowgli, was under the care of a 7-year-old lioness, named Raksha, for the past 45 days.
The cub died due to Congenital Femoral Hernia on Monday evening.
In what was an unusual sight, forest officials spotted the lioness nurturing the leopard cub along with her own cubs.
The sight was called a "miracle" by the forest department officials who were surprised that the cub lived for as long as it did. Usually, lionesses do not rear any other cubs besides their owns, as they pose a potential competition to their children.
However, Raksha's natural instincts made her take Mowgli into her pride. Tweeting about the "unprecedented" sight in January, the deputy conservator of forests for Gir West had said, "Surprising to see how a leopard cub understands the signs and sounds of the mother lioness! The lioness is taking extra care as she understands that the leopard cub is not able to match her pace and her cubs.
Gir is a treasure of natural wonder and perhaps this event is the Kohinoor of them all."
Speaking to local daily Ahmedabad Mirror, forest department official Dhiraj Mittal said, "Lionesses are known to be very generous mothers and large-hearted. This example just accentuates it. This kind of magnanimity for the offspring of a rival species is highly unusual but nature once in while throws such things at us and there is something humans can learn from this short-lived miracle."
According to forest department officials, the unique relationship between the leopard cub Mowgli and the lioness Raksha would have allowed them an insight into inter-species relationships, especially adoption. They say that this is a lost opportunity this was the first instance of inter-species adoption in the Gir national forest, ever since its inception in 1965.
The name Mowgli and Raksha come from Rudyard Kipling's book The Jungle Book. The story is based around a "man-cub" Mowgli who is raised by a pack of wolves. Raksha is the mother wolf who takes a baby Mowgli into her fold.
Watch the heartwarming scene from the 2016 Disney live-action recreation of The Jungle Book here:
(inputs from Gopi Maniar in Ahmedabad)

300km epic tiger trip, & not a human touched

Pugmark of a tiger (Representative image)Pugmark of a tiger (Representative image)

| TNN | Updated: Feb 13, 2019, 11:12 IST
BHOPAL: As Gujarat seeks to claim the unique distinction of being home to both the Asiatic Lion and tigers — or at least one tiger — wildlife officers and environmentalists in Madhya Pradesh are stunned at how the big cat crossed densely populated regions without any conflict with humans, unlike the tiger that walked in here from Maharashtra, killing two people on the way.

Initially, it was thought that the tiger that has been seen in Gujarat had moved from Melghat tiger reserve in Maharashtra. But MP forest officials confirmed it was from Ratapani sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, barely 50km from Bhopal.

“This is our tiger. We have matched the images,” said Ujjain CCF B S Annigiri. “We were tracking it till it was in our jurisdiction. Now that it has reached Gujarat, they will take care of it. After all, animals have no borders," said the officer. Camera trap images confirm that this is the same tiger that was spotted close to Nagda hills of Dewas in January 2017. It was believed to have moved from Ratapani via the forested tracts of Bagli and Udaynagar. In November the same year, the tiger was seen in Manglia (Indore) and then Barnagar in Ujjain district. There were further sightings at Petlawad (Jhabua), close to the Gujarat border after which it wasn’t detected for a long time — until the recent sighting in Boriya in Gujrat.

Throughout its journey, tiger avoided people

Throughout its 300km journey, the tiger lived and moved very close to human habitations and while its presence created some panic among villagers, it avoided people and might have survived on livestock and wild animals like wild pigs and nilgai, said officials.

Conservation professional Vaibhav Chaturvedi said, “This long-distance dispersal has revived hope for tigers in Vindhyachal landscape.” The Vindhyachal mountain range that runs for 1000km from Gujarat and across MP into Kaimur range in the East, has historically been a stronghold of tigers. 
“With focussed conservation efforts and better protection, tigers are reclaiming their lost territory across Vindhyas. There is a need to keep these forest tracts intact and monitor tiger populations and their recovery,” said Chaturvedi.

Dr Sandeep Sharma, wildlife scientist at Germany’s Gottingen University, who has done his PhD on tigers and their connectivity in central India, is excited by this tiger’s journey. “Tiger populations in central Indian reserves have recovered in the past decade and are showing signs of spillover. Some tigers have moved hundreds of kilometres from their source,” he told TOI, adding, “The astonishing journey of this tiger from Madhya Pradesh to Gujarat, spanning about 300km over two years, not only proves the tenacity of tigers as a species but also highlights their survival instincts.”

Lion enters Gujarat village, two injured in attack

There are no immediate plans to rescue and take the wild animal back to the forest area, says of Junagadh wildlife circle.(Source: Mohendra Choudhary Zoological Park)

Two people were injured in a lion attack after it entered the coastal Madhavpur village of Porbandar district Tuesday morning. Videos circulated on social media showed villagers running helter-skelter after the wild animal charged in their direction. The big cat was a sub-adult male aged around three-and-a-half years.
Indicating that the crowd was out of control, Chief Conservator of Forests(CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle Dushyant Vasavada said, “The villagers were excited by the presence of animals but since forest staff were unavailable on the spot, the crowd was out of control, leading to the injuries.”
The injured were identified as Arjan Mavadiya (75) and Shyam Solanki (23), both resident of Madhavpur village.
Madhavpur is around 50 km west of Babra Vidi, the nearest permanent habitat of lions in Junagadh district.
“Madhavpur is not an established habitat of Asiatic lions but a couple of lions have been seen roaming in that area for the last few days. We believe, the lion seen near Osho Ashram on Tuesday morning is one of them. Our local staff is keeping a watch over the area and a rescue team from Sasan has also reached the spot. Presently, we are observing the animal. There are no immediate plans to rescue and take the wild animal back to forest area,” the CCF further said.
Deputy conservator of forests (DCF) of Porbandar said that after straying into the village early in the morning, the lion had sought refuge in a thicket of gando baval (prosopis juliflora) lining limestone mines in the area. r of male and female lions were seen near Madhavpur around a month ago as well. Just four days ago, our staff had spotted pug marks of lions on the sea coast. But this lion seems to be another one,” Rabari observed.
Asiatic lions are an endangered species. Its only wild population in the world is surviving in Gir forest and other protected areas spread across Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurasthra region of Gujarat.
Being territorial animals, a few lions have migrated out of protected forest areas as population of the top predators increased and have settled in revenue areas of these districts as well as thickets along the sea coast.
The lion census conducted in 2015 had estimated the population of Asiatic lions to be 523. But forest officers claim that the number has already crossed 600 now and that more and more lions are moving out into the revenue area and newer territories.

Flamingos & Leopards To Lose Their Home Due To The Bullet Train Project

February 8th, 2019 / 3:13 PM
India’s much-hyped bullet train project, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September 2017 in Ahmedabad has faced a lot of obstacles. The current plan is to finish the project by 2022 or 2023.
Yet, since the inception of the project, there has been severe allegations of discrepancies in the way the project is being formulated. Last year in September, it was realised that over 1000 farmers would lose their lands without getting a proper compensation package. Now, with the clearance of land for the project, it is found that not only the farmers but flamingos and leopards would lose their homes too.

Imposing on Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan has cleared the wildlife accordance for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad project. The project will now pass from Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS) and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Mumbai Metropolitan Region. The SGNP is home to about 40-45 leopards.
The proposed diversion is of 3.2756 ha of forestland from the Thane Creek Flamingo Wildlife Sanctuary. It also includes a diversion of 97.5189 ha of land close to the boundary of the forest’s protected area, reported The Hindu.
According to the records of the meeting, the project got clearance on January 10. Forest clearance is an important part of wildlife clearance. The National Wildlife Board, the apex body that gives clearance to projects for diverting forest land, had already laid down accordance for the Bullet Train project.
“We are not at all against the ambitious infrastructure projects being launched by the government and private sector, should they come at the cost of the environment,” The Nature Connect’s director and activist B N Kumar asked, reported Deccan Herald.
The National Wildlife Board had asked for a compensation of 10 cr (2% of 500 cr project). They have also asked them to make sure that no debris falls on inside the forest and  ‘…providing site and funds for penal plantation of at least 5 times the number of mangroves plants anticipated to be lost in this project..’

Farmers to lose livelihood

Earlier, it was found that not only would the livelihoods of thousands of farmers be affected because of the project, but so many villages, families, houses, hospitals and schools will have to change its way of functioning. The farmers said that their land was being taken away from them without their consent.
On October 2, farmers across Gujarat protested against the land acquisition. They held a demonstration against the Mudra-SEZ, Adani-SEZ, Gir forest illegal mining, acquisition of land from Bhavnagar to Somnath, Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, express highway, national highway expansion, expansion between Ahmedabad-Mumbai and the Bullet train project.

Centre allocates Rs 59 crore for Asiatic Lion conservation in Gujarat's Gir

The minister assured the state that this project will be a model scheme in the times to come and would not be like a routine affair.

Feb 08, 2019, 06.23 PM IST
 NEW DELHI: In a bid to protect and conserve lions, identified as one of the endangered species by the government, the Ministry of Environment Friday launched a three-year Asiatic Lion Conservation Project in collaboration with the state of Gujarat, which is the last habitat of the big cat.

The Rs 98-crore project, for which the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has allocated Rs 59 crores, spans three years -- 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 -- will focus on better management of the lion habitat, disease control and veterinary care for them.

While launching the project, Union minister Harsh Vardhan released an amount of Rs 17 crore to the Gujarat government for the implementation of the project aimed to protect over 600 lions in the state's Gir sanctuary in its first year.

The minister assured the state that this project will be a model scheme in the times to come and would not be like a routine affair.

"I am very happy that efforts are being made to conserve lions. It is god's blessing that such initiatives are taken for the wildlife in our country. I assure the Gujarat government that this will not just be a routine project but a model scheme for wildlife in India in the times to come," Vardhan said.

The project will use modern information and communication technology for conservation and protection efforts of the Great Gir Region, including GPS-based animal and vehicle tracking, automated sensor grid with movement sensors, night vision capability and real-time monitoring and report generation, the government said.

In addition, a Gujarat government official said that Rs 80 crore will be spent on specialised veterinary hospitals and full fledged ambulances for lions.

Elevated rail corridor can save Gir lions: Lawyer to Gujarat .. Read more at:

Lion vs Tiger; An Indian dilemma

5 February 2019 12:20 am
./It is a fact that as in Sri Lanka the symbol of the lion has been playing an important role in India as well. The sculpture of four Asiatic lions standing back to back or the Lion Capital of Ashoka was declared the official emblem of independent India.

The carving had been originally placed on an Ashokan pillar around 250 BC in the Northern Buddhist city of Sarnath and therefore the national emblem is today known as Lion Capital of Ashoka of Sarnath.

Interestingly it was the lion, and not the tiger as it is in today, that was originally made the national Animal of India after independence. However, under Indira Gandhi in 1972, the lion lost its place to Bengal Tiger. The key reason behind the decision was the global attention on the dwindling tiger population of India, which even today is the home to 70 per cent of the world wild tiger population.

By 1972 the tiger population which stood at around 40, 000 at the turn of the 20th century had dropped to a mere 1,827. The year after adopting Tiger as the national animal Gandhi launched ‘Project Tiger’, an ambitious conservation plan to protect this engendered beautiful cat. Thanks to that project today India is home to about 4,000 tigers spread over sixteen states. Bengali Tiger is also the national animal of Bangladesh where around 400 Bengali tigers have survived. Conservationists believe that there are around a hundred Bengali Tigers each in Bhutan and Nepal as well.

All was well until 2015

In 2015 a proposal was made in Rajya Sabha to revert to the lion as the national animal in view of drawing attention to the extreme challenges faced by country’s lion population. Gir National Park in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home State Gujarat is the only home for the heavily endangered Asian Lions. The park has about 600 lions today.

Though the lion population is more endangered than Tigers, the conservationists, however, launched a strong attack against the move on the premise that it would only scuttle the ongoing projects to protect Bengali tigers.

They charged that the proposal to replace tiger with lion had been made by those who were eyeing tiger sanctuary lands for industrial purposes. The debate snowballed into a political dispute with pro-Tiger lobbyists arguing that while Tigers deserve the national animal slot with its population spread over sixteen States, lions can only be found in PM Modi’s Gujarat.

The lions in Gir National Park are today faced with numerous challenges and key among them is the drastic drop in the level of immunity.

This has been attributed to inbreeding with almost all 600 lions living in an area of 258 square km. Moves by conservationists to shift some of the Gir Lions to Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere to address the plaguing issues had been met with stiff resistance from consecutive Gujarat State Governments despite even Supreme Court orders.

Gujarat leaders have been maintaining that Gir lion had been the pride of Gujarat and they would not let anyone take away the pride.

The move to replace the tiger with the lion as national animal meanwhile has died a natural death in the din of the protests by Tiger lovers.