Friday, March 29, 2019

Moving On A Thrill To Luxury India Wildlife Tours

Starting from the Royal Bengal Tigers of Bandhavgarh to the jeopardised Rhinoceros of Kaziranga, the fascinating wildlife of India is absolutely captivating. The appeal for a wildlife tour in India is really powerful owing to the multi-culture of the nation.
One of the greatest form to experience freedom in the forest is to pick any of the well-proposed wildlife tourism in India. To begin with, India has a delightful variety of wildlife snuggled in all states of the nation.
This provides more than acceptable reasons for luxury India wildlife tour. The dense forests, slender desert views, snow-covered mountains, areas near water forms etc. Also, most of the areas are habitat to several species of wildlife.
The wildlife safari tours India is becoming famous with the growing importance of travel. Safari is a novel approach to encounter wood in an improved form such as jeep safari. Zoological parks are also there to encounter a wild animal.but watching them in their real habitat is somewhat more exciting.Going on safari is the way to have a natural glimpse of wild animals.
Experience Wild Animal Natural Habitat Through Wildlife Tour In India
Many wildlife lovers organise a tour to pleasure in an exceptional luxury India wildlife tours. The excitement of detecting wildlife species and threatened species of vegetation and animal is beyond explanation. The mystical forests are a break from the disorder of towns surrounded by the delightful contributions of nature.
Not just this, the wildlife tour in India give a complete measure of experience. Along with this comfort in natural ecstasy with loved ones is a complete package of happiness.Seeing animal wandering around in their natural habitat, hearing their noises makes your heartbeat rises with enthusiasm.
For the genuine adventure of wildlife, of the extraordinary mark is wildlife safari tours India. The nation is housing multiple national parks that preserve the endangered wild animals in the world.
The wildlife tour India is pleasant for families, particularly for the children. You may find the interesting possibility for wildlife tours. The Indian wildlife tours offer a journey by sitting on the elephant back.
Amazing Journey Of Luxury Wildlife Tours India
Indian wildlife tours are access to an amazing journey. You will witness considerably higher than the surprising Bengal tiger on your journeys into India’s famous forests. Through wildlife safari tours India you can meet all the characters of the jungle book in real.
The impressive parts include panther, bear, stags, fascinating birds, rhino, elephants in the grove, and Asiatic lion etc. India has plenty of sanctuaries and wildlife reserves for protecting the life of extinct species.
The wildlife tour India is a step to endure the travellers the consequence and charm of Indian wildlife. Awareness with the wildlife envelope by lovely views and village kind of culture is a beautiful adventure to have.
In prevailing years, hotels for luxury tours package India has been introduced in a maximum of the national parks. These luxury hotels in the forests are built to deliver your visit to a different top. Obviously, many guests relish observing a tiger in the grove on safari. India has a wealth of different wild animals.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Kids of This African-origin Tribe From the Land of Gir Lions May Someday Fulfill India’s Olympic Dream

Children of Siddis, who fall in the primitive tribes’ category in Gujarat and live in abject poverty, have shown medal-winning potential and their coaches are extremely hopeful about their capabilities.

Vijaysinh Parmar | News18
Updated:March 13, 2019, 6:49 PM ISTAhmedabad: Last week, Chitravad village near Talala town of Gir-Somnath district was abuzz with activities as hundreds of children belonging to Siddis, an African-origin tribe living around the Gir forest, competed against one another to prove their inherited and rustic talent.

The Sports Authority of Gujarat (SAG) has launched a first-of-its-kind talent hunt exclusively for children belonging to the Siddi community.

“For the first time, such an initiative was launched among children from this African-origin tribe and encourage them to take up sports. Siddis inherit natural talent and we plan to train them in a professional manner. In fact, we went from village to village to convince their parents to send them for screening tests and provided them with all logistical support. As many as 197 Siddi girls and 262 Siddi boys took part in the talent hunt,’’ Kanji Bhalia, senior coach of Gir-Somnath district, told News18.

“About 60 children have been identified and now, they will be taken to the government-run Nadiad sports complex for further training and orientation. Once these kids pass basic screening tests, they would receive all facilities (academic and sports) free of cost,’’ Bhalia, himself a record-holder sprinter, said.

Siddis, who fall in the primitive tribes’ category in Gujarat, are mostly confined to 35 villages in Junagadh and Gir-Somnath districts around the Gir forest. According to an estimate, there about 9,000 Siddis living in the two districts.

Siddis trace their ancestry to the Bantu people of east Africa who were brought to India as slaves by Arabs in the 7th Century and later, by the Portuguese and British.

Siddis, who live in abject poverty, are engaged in agriculture as daily wagers and follow Islam.

“Children from this community have shown promising performances in national and international sporting events. Who knows, one of them might even make India’s Olympic dream come true,’’ Ghanshyam Rajput, a judo coach at Nadiad academy, told News18.

Five Siddi youths are receiving judo coaching under Rajput at the sports academy.

“We have very high expectations from these aspiring youths. Two of them have already won medals in the Commonwealth Judo Championships. While 15-year-old Rohit Masgul bagged a gold in the pre-cadet boys (42 kg) category held in Jaipur last year, Makwana Mehrok won a silver in the pre-cadet girls (52 kg) category,’’ Rajput said.

Last month, Muskan Chotiyara (17) won a bronze in the 3,000m run during the 16th National Youth Athletics Championships held in Raipur. She is being trained as a sprinter at the state’s Devgadh Baria Sports Academy.

“Most of the Siddis are socially, economically and educationally backward and we have to spend a lot of time in nurturing them and retaining them in professional sports schools. However, as we see medal-winning hopefuls among them, the effort seems to be worth it,’’ said another coach.

The Remembering Wildlife book series and the struggle for conservation

This week I attended a talk at London’s Nikon School – just off Oxford Street – given by Margot Raggett, a wildlife photographer and creator of the Remembering Wildlife book series.
Remembering Wildlife brings together the work of dozens of photographers to help raise money for wildlife charities. Every photograph used in the books has been donated by many of the world’s best wildlife photographers. Three books have already been produced: Remembering Elephants, Remembering Rhinos and Remembering Great Apes. Each book is crowd funded on Kickstarter and all funds raised go directly to wildlife charities.
It’s a well-known fact by now that wildlife numbers are plummeting. Elephants and rhinos often make headlines due to poaching for their ivory and horns. Between 1979 and 1989, half of all Africa’s elephants were killed for their ivory.
In ten years half of all Africa’s elephants were killed for ivory
There are approximately only 400,000 African elephants left and only 40,000 Asian elephants.
The situation is even more dire for rhinos: there are only 30,000 rhinos left in the entire world. 20,000 of those are white rhino, the remaining 10,000 is made up by black rhinos, Sumatran rhinos and Javan rhinos combined. Headlines were made in March last year when Sudan, the last remaining male Northern White Rhino died – effectively making the entire species extinct.
Less well known is the struggle faced by the Great Apes; gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Orangutans are threatened by habitat loss due to the growing palm oil industry, as well as deforestation due to the demand for timber. Gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos are threatened by the bushmeat and exotic pet trade.
Perhaps surprisingly, lions are also in trouble. Lions were once the world’s most widespread predator – apart from humans and could be found in Africa, Europe, Asia, North America and even as far south as Peru. Now, there are only 20,000 African lions and 500 Asiatic lions left in the wild. The main threats to lions are trophy hunting and conflict with the growing human population in Africa, which often hunts down the animals if their livestock is threatened. At this current rate, extinction could occur in the next 30 years.
All of these facts paint a rather bleak picture for the state of the world’s wildlife, if even the king of beasts is slipping away. The Remembering Wildlife Series is doing something to tackle this problem, by raising funds and raising awareness for wildlife conservation.
Since the first book, Remembering Elephants was released in 2015, the first three books have raised over £460,000 for elephant, rhino and great ape charities with over 10,800 books sold to date. This money goes straight to the charities to fund anti-poaching patrols, sniffer dogs, planes and to support orphanages for young animals who have lost their mothers to poaching.
The fourth book – Remembering Lions – is currently still crowdfunding on Kickstarter.  Already, over 1000 books have been sold and over £140,000 raised for lion conservation.
The success of this series rides on the back of the photographers who donate their work to this cause, to the designers and produces of a high-quality book and to the spread of the campaign on social media. Celebrities from Pierce Brosnan to Ellen DeGeneres; and biologists such as Chris Packham and Jane Goodall, all promoting this book series and raising awareness and money for wildlife conservation.
These are staggering numbers and all of it leads back to one woman deciding to do something after finding a poached elephant in Kenya. There are enough destroyers in this world, we need more creators. It was a pleasure to meet Margot and her story is truly inspiring for anyone who wants to make a difference in this world. If this is the difference one person can make, then there is still hope for these endangered species.
Want to support wildlife conservation? Check out the Remembering Wildlife Website here, support charities like WWF by adopting an endangered species (elephants, rhinos, great apes, lions and more) and learn earn more from charities such as the Born Free Foundation and Save the Elephants who do amazing conservation work.
Image credit: Jonathan Michael Peel

Meet Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas, the lone voter from Gir village

A group of poll officials embark on a bumpy ride of more than 35 km, cutting through dense forests, to make the temple priest's life easier

Moneycontrol News @moneycontrolcom
Jagyaseni Biswas
Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas, a man in his late 60s, may have been talked about since Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned him in his maiden ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address in 2019, but the reason he earned himself this special place dates back a couple of decades.
The lone voter from Gir forest’s Banej village has had the Election C
ommission of India (ECI) set up a poll booth just for him for years, in the dense and isolated Gir forest.
The temple priest is one of the very few humans to reside at the location among deer, peacocks, and a host of other wild creatures, and would have to travel 120 km to reach the nearest poll booth if the EC doesn’t make special provisions for him.

So, since no citizen must ‘ordinarily travel more than two km to reach the booth’, a group of poll officials embark on a bumpy ride of more than 35 km to make his life easier.
A ScoopWhoop report states how the priest’s isolation has not stopped him from being his bit of flamboyant. Clad in a saffron sarong and a pair of sunglasses, the senior citizen rocks a tiny knot towards the end of his long beard.
Darshandas decided to become an ascetic quite early in his life. He dropped out of studies and embarked on a religious voyage when he arrived at his current place of residence. It has been 20 years since, and he lives with no regret. He loves his life in this no electricity and phone environment; the meditative environment makes up for the lack of any form of entertainment.
However, he has stated how life gets lonely at times, given the limited access to human interaction and basic amenities. Things are a little better now, with the world finding out about his solitary existence and multiple journalists reaching out to speak to him.
The recluse gloats about the fact that his faith and dedication in the electoral system has made him “special”. That doesn’t mean he is not thankful for the tremendous effort made for him. “I feel good that the authorities come here to pick up my vote. I feel honoured,” he had said.
Every year, he waits eagerly for his turn to exercise his Right to Adult Franchise, while a team of poll officers, assisted by police, cut through dense foliage to collect his precious ballot.

A Rare Species: An Officer Who Left His First-Class Post in Mumbai to Become a Forest Ranger in Gujarat

Dr Rajan Jadav, serving as range forest officer in Babariya, had exposed illegal lion shows being carried out in and around the Gir forest.

Vijaysinh Parmar | News18
Updated:March 22, 2019, 2:34 PM IST
Ahmedabad: Wildlife conservationists across the country were in a state of shoA Rare Species: An Officer Who Left His First-Class Post in Mumbai to Become a Forest Ranger in Gujaratck last year after a video of lion-show organisers from Gujarat went viral. The clip showed two persons, standing a few feet away from a lioness, in a farm in Gir Wildlife Sanctuary. One of them, with a hen in hand, was teasing the animal.

After the incident in May 2018, the Gujarat government promised to take action against illegal lion show organisers around Gir forest, which is the last abode of Asiatic lions.
But not many are aware of Dr Rajan Jadav, Babariya Range Forest Officer, who had exposed the illegal show and caught the accused red-handed. Jadav pursued the case till the end -- the Gujarat High Court recently refused to grant bail to Iliyas Adreman Hoth, who reportedly owned the farm where the show took place.

Jadav’s story is unusual and inspiring -- unlike most government officers who prefer to switch jobs for better opportunities or higher positions, he did the complete opposite. A native of Rajkot, he was recently transferred to Kevadiya in Narmada district.

Jadav in 2016 left his class-one officer’s job in Mumbai to join the Gujarat Forest Department as a forest ranger, a class-two officer’s job. Before joining as probationary Range Forest Officer, he was posted as director (training) at the All India Institute of Local Self-Government in Mumbai and was entitled to all the facilities and perks equivalent to those received by an Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer.

Jadav’s decision to take a job that was considered a step-down surprised many colleagues and friends, who advised him to think before leaving the post.

But Jadav did not think twice to follow his basic instinct.

“As director (training) at AIILSG, my role was to strengthen the urban local bodies across the country for various government schemes, such as cleanliness and prepare policy framework,” Jadav told News18. “As a ranger, I am doing the complete opposite, but it is very important work, which is to execute the policy made by the government.”

Jadav holds a Ph.D in ‘Ecology Status and Importance of Grassland (Vidis) in Conservation of Avifauna of Saurashtra Region’. He holds two bachelor’s degrees -- in biotechnology another in zoology. Jadav was also invited to present a paper at an international conference organised by the Ecological Society of America in the United States in 2007.

“As a researcher, you may find lacuna in functioning of any government departments, but researchers can’t change it,” he said. “Only officers who execute plans can bring about change in the fields. So, I preferred to leave the class-one officer’s job to become a ranger and I am enjoying it.”

Jadav’s new assignment at Kevadiya includes developing a new zoo near the Statue of Unity in Narmada district.

“I was never a studious student and never bothered about my life and job. Everything comes naturally to me and I have accepted it,” said Jadav. “I am very grateful to my late father -- he died on the same day (April 14, 2018) when I joined as range forest officer after training for 18 months. He never forced me to do anything and gave me full freedom and space to live my life.”

“Nature is very dynamic and l keep learning from it,” added Jadav. “As long as I keep learning, I will be better able to serve nature.”

The state forest department can look forward to better things as long as such officers, who leave behind their daily comforts to serve nature, are available.

Why Not Arrange Pick-up? Amid Rising Lion Deaths, EC's Setup for Lone Gir Voter Irks Wildlife Experts

A voting booth is set up deep in the heart of the forests, about 26 kilometers inside Gir for Mahnat Bharatdas, a temple priest.

Vijaysinh Parmar | News18
Updated:March 20, 2019, 2:30 PM IST
Ahmedabad: Ahead of every Lok Sabha election, a polling booth set up by the Election Commission for a lone voter at Banej inside the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary — the last abode of Asiatic Lions — becomes global news.

The voting booth is set up deep in the heart of the forests, about 26 kilometers inside Gir for Mahnat Bharatdas, a temple priest. An entire polling team of six people travel to Banej to set up the booth, as according to the EC, no citizen should ordinarily have to travel more than two kilometers to cast their vote.
The importance of a single vote notwithstanding, conservationists, however, are of the opinion that alternate arrangements for the lone voter must be made in order to ensure that minimal disturbance is caused to the habitat of lions.

“Gir Sanctuary is passing through its worst phase in decades due to various reasons including, thousands of vehicles passing through various roads inside the Sanctuary that is harming the habitat. Better sense should prevail and an alternate arrangement should be made,’’ said Revtubha Raijada, an ex-member of state wildlife advisory board.

Bhushan Pandya, a renowned wildlife photographer and a member of the Gujarat state wildlife, suggested that it would be advisable to arrange for pick-up and drop facilities for the voter to the nearest polling booth “instead of setting up an entire booth in the core of the forest”.

According to forest officials, the nearest polling booths are located at Biliyad nesh and Sapnesh, both situated inside Gir Sanctuary and located around 16 and 24 km away from Banej.

Similar demands for special voting arrangements have been raised by activists for the 5000 salt pan workers, who live inside the Little Rann of Kutch, a wildlife sanctuary for eight months every year.

“We had demanded to set up polling booths for salt pan workers inside Little Rann of Kutch but EC had refused it citing that the sanctuary inhibits the Wild Ass. So, now, ECI has agreed to provide transportation facilities for salt plan workers to bring them to polling booths in nearby villages,’’ Pankti Jog, regional coordinator of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) told News18.

The demands for protecting wildlife habitat of lions assumes significance as according to the government data provided in the state assembly, over 200 lions died inside and outside Gir wildlife Sanctuary in the last two years.

Lion cub found dead in Gujarat's Gir forest

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 
A cub was found dead near a farm in the Range of the Forest, said forest department officials Tuesday.
The 3-month-old cub's carcass was found by forest staff on Monday night and primary investigation has revealed it may have been killed in a territorial fight among adult lions to establish dominance, said D T Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle.

Spotted deer found dead; poachers held for hunting cranes

| Mar 18, 2019, 04:47 IST
Rajkot: As many as 13 spotted deer were found dead under mysterious circumstances in Sangodra forest reserve of Talala range in Gir-Somnath district on Sunday. According to forest department officials, there were no injury marks found on the dead deer. “It is only after forensic postmortem that the real cause of their deaths can be ascertained,” said a forester. Meanwhile, 14 Demoiselle cranes killed by poachers were found in Dhamlej village of Sutrapada range in Gir-Somnath district. The forest department arrested four poachers in this connection.

This Rare Image of Gir Asiatic Lion Lazing Around on a Tree Has Created Social Media Frenzy

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also shared the image with the caption, 'Majestic Gir Lion, Lovely picture'.

“It was a moment of joy to capture the lion. I was on my routine patrol in the sanctuary when I came across a male lion climbing on a Flame of the Forests tree on March 5 at around 5:30 pm. It seemed as if he was posing for a photograph. I instantly took out my mobile phone and clicked the moment. It was literally a memory of a lifetime for me,’’ said 28-year-old Dipak Vadher, Forest Beat Guard.
Image of an Asiatic lion as shared by the Forest Beat Guard.
In fact, Vadher said that lions are often found around this tree in the sanctuary and try to climb it. “Last year, I clicked some photos wherein a group of lions was trying to climb the same tree at the same spot but this year, it was a perfect photo,’’ he added.

Gir forest in Gujarat is the last abode of Asiatic lions in the world.

According to the last census of Asiatic lions, which was conducted in 2015, there were 523 lions in and around Gir wildlife Sanctuary in Saurashtra region of Gujarat. Out of the total 523 lions, 33 lions were reported from Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Dipak Vadher is a very sincere staff member and carries his own camera around during field duty. Some of his compositions are very good. ’’ Dr. Sunil Kumar Berwal, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Junagadh, told News18.

He also tweeted praises for Vadher, saying, “Dipak sees the forest in his own way as I have learnt from his photographs. Happy to see this picture of his being liked by all.”

Forest officials say that Girnar forests were once part of a major forest ecosystem comprising Gir and Girnar. Gradually, urbanisation and economic activities caused by major agricultural expansion and industrialisation have separated these two forests converting Girnar to an isolated compact patch of forest habitat of 178.8 square km.

This Rare Image of Gir Asiatic Lion Lazing Around on a Tree Has Created Social Media Frenzy

Indira Gandhi Zoological Park to have new animals soon

Harish Gilai March 11, 2019 01:31 IST
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park officials are in talks with Mysuru zoo to bring in two female tigers. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park officials are in talks with Mysuru zoo to bring in two female tigers.  

Proposals have been sent to Gujarat and Karnataka, says curator

The visitors of the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) will get to see more new species soon as the officials have chalked out plans to procure those from various zoos as part of the animal exchange programmes this year.
According to the zoo officials, proposals have been sent, seeking a pair of Asiatic lion (pure breed) from Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden at Junagadh in Gujarat, a pair of wolves from Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens in Mysuru. At present, the city zoo have no wolf and the officials opine that the pair to be procured could help increase in the number of species through in-house breeding.
“We have already sent proposals to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for the animals exchange programme. After getting the approvals, we can go ahead with the exchange of animals and their transportation,” IGZP Curator R. Yasoda Bai said.

Karnataka seeks time

Meanwhile, the zoo officials are also in talks with the Mysuru zoo to bring in two female tigers. It is learnt that the Karnataka officials have sought some more time to respond. The city zoo has four tigers including two female ones. At present, the IGZP, extending over 620 acres, is home to 841 animals belonging to 82 species.
In December last year, the zoo welcomed new inmates including two male Royal Bengal Tigers, two mugger crocodiles (a male and a female) and five red jungle fowls (three males and two females), as part of the animal exchange programme from Pilukula Biological Park at Manguluru in Karnataka. In return, the IGZP had sent four wild dogs, five painted storks to the Karnataka zoo. “The tigers are under observation at Animal Rescue Centre and those will be sent to the enclosures in the next two months,” Ms. Yasodha Bhai added.

A merry day at zoo as new pair of giraffes arrives

Special Correspondent HYDERABAD, March 08, 2019 23:55 IST
Bubli and Sunny, the two giraffes, will be kept in quarantine for four weeks, before being released into a newly-designed enclosure for public display. Bubli and Sunny, the two giraffes, will be kept in quarantine for four weeks, before being released into a newly-designed enclosure for public display.  

They were sent from Alipore Zoo in Kolkata in a specially-designed truck

After a long wait, the Nehru Zoological Park has received its most cherished guests – a pair of giraffes – from Alipore Zoo in Kolkata.
The animals, Bubli, a female giraffe aged two years, and a male, Sunny, aged three years and nine months, arrived at the zoo on Thursday night. They have been brought here as part of animal exchange initiative between both the zoos.
In return, the Nehru Zoological Park has parted with three pairs of mouse deer, and one pair each of jaguar, and Asiatic lion, which have already been sent to the Alipore Zoo. The giraffe pair was transported by road in a specially-designed truck, a press release from the zoo informed. Veterinary team headed by the zoo’s Deputy Director (Veterinary) M.A. Hakeem along with veterinary staff and animal keepers from Alipore Zoo accompanied the animals in their journey from Kolkata.
The team started on March 4, and made halts at Vizag zoo and Eluru Forest Complex en route. The animals would be kept in quarantine for four weeks, before being released into a newly-designed enclosure for public display.
The zoo already has a 14-year-old male giraffe named Tsunami Basant, which is leading a solitary life for the last 10 years, for want of a mate.

This woman forester has rescued 1,100 animals in Gir

Rasila Wadher
 Rasila Wadher
Published : Mar 7, 2019, 1:49 am IST
Updated : Mar 7, 2019, 1:49 am IST

That was in 2007, when the forest department of the Gujarat government opened this position to women for the first time.
Ahmedabad: Her appointment as the first woman forest guard in Sasan Gir forest, Gujarat, had raised many eyebrows. How can this young girl, Rasila Wadher, participate in the often risky rescue operations?
That was in 2007, when the forest department of the Gujarat government opened this position to women for the first time.
Rasila, then 21, soon proved her ability. An injured lioness was found in the Dedakadi range. Rasila and a team of five rushed to the spot. The operation to catch the wounded and angry lioness and transfer her safely into a cage lasted the whole night.
Wasn’t she scared?
“Not at all,” she replied without hesitation. “In fact, I was afraid of being dropped from the team because I was the only woman member of the team! It was really a thrilling experience for me.”
Born in the small village of Bhandori in Junagadh district, Rasila lost her father at a very young age. Her mother Rajubahen had to bring up the two children. The family struggled to make ends meet. Rasila graduated in Arts and then decided to take a job to help her mother. She joined as a forest guard in 2007, and became a forester in 2008.
To date, she must have rescued more than 1,100 animals including lions and panthers. Sasan Gir forest is spread over 1,412 square metres. Incidents like lions falling into wells have increased. Sometimes the animal is hit by a train passing through the forested area so a rescue team has to be ready 24x7 for operations anywhere in the forest.
Rasila has never been afraid of taking a risk. In 2014, a panther fell into a well near Jalandhar village. The first thing to do was to tranquilise the animal. Rasila fearlessly descended into the well to do this. “What is there to fear? I have grown up in such a way that I can’t afford to fear,” she says smiling. Now transferred to another position, Rasila is an inspiration for young girls. She ventured into a male-dominated profession and has succeeded. She has won awards for her work from the Gujarat government and Sanctuary magazine. “I enjoy rescue work and I am ready to take any challenge,” she says.

A taste of the wild

Published : Mar 6, 2019, 1:54 am IST
Updated : Mar 6, 2019, 1:54 am IST

Thanks to celebrity indulgence as ambassadors, wildlife and marine tourism are gaining much popularity for weekend getaways.
Migratory Birds seen in the picture.
 Migratory Birds seen in the picture.
When young Sanjana visited Jim Corbett National Park along with her parents she chanced upon a herd of wild elephants and a tiger in the forest. All through the year she has been chirpy about tigers, elephants, deer, monkeys, elephants and birds she has been with during her weekend getaway.  She’s not alone. Many of her classmates have done similar trips, in India and abroad.
Wildlife tourism has suddenly seen a boom with many travel companies selling weekend getaways and package tours.

Thanks to celebrity brand ambassadors who have not just sold the idea but have been able to sensitise the millenials on how plastic waste, burning fossil fuels and irresponsible attitude towards our environment can play havoc.
Recently, actor Parineeti Chopra, during a recent Behtar Bharat campaign complained how plastic waste affects marine life. She said, “I am an ocean lover and scuba diver. I spend a lot of time underwater and I cannot explain to you the kind of visible changes that can be seen in oceans because of plastic.”
Who can forget Big B, who, through his Gujarat campaign for Gir lions, has created a new awareness for their conservation.
Hollywood actor and the Keeping Up with The Kardashians star, Kim Kardashian, husband Kanye West, along with children visited Uganda to promote wildlife tourism.
Few would know the Titanic, Inception, and Romeo and Juliet star Leonardo DiCaprio is an environmental philanthropist and is involved in creating a sustainable environment.
Others back home like Anushka Sharma initiated a campaign to save the tigers. In a span of many advertisements during last year, she spread awareness on the conservation of tigers.
Anushka has said, “Tigers, the glorious wild cats, are in real danger of getting extinct and they need our help. As a large predator, tigers are an umbrella species and play a critical role in ensuring that the delicate ecological balance in the wild is maintained,” adding, “The current situation is a sad reflection of us as human beings. All of us need to reflect how we can contribute to make the world a better place to live and ensure that our future generations too can experience this magnificent creature. I just cannot fathom this world without them.”
She also added in her powerful video, “They are more humane than you think, you could say, almost human, like us.”
Ace cricketer MS Dhoni too have been involved with “save tiger project.”
According to actor Yami Gautam, who has been the face of World Wildlife Fund and Traffic India’s Super Sniffers campaign, illegal wildlife trade is increasing by the day, threatening the existence of our wildlife and the rich biodiversity of India.
The role of celebrities in saving the nature cannot be denied. They have brought in significant change in recent times, not just by creating awareness but also creating a huge demand. A recent study points out that wildlife tourism is growing at 15 percent annually in parks in which 70 percent of the visitors are Indian.
The research further states that many tourists (71 percent) are willing to re-visit these parks.  So much so that tiger sightings in Ranthambore and Kanha are a must now.
As travellers become more conscious about making responsible travel choices travel companies and properties are creating a sensitized approach to tourism through jungle lodges.
A number of jungle lodges have sprung up all around the country with best facilities, yet not disturbing surrounding balance, thus becoming a huge crowd puller.
Speaking on the adrenal rush of spotting a tiger, naturalist Vinieth Madhav from Satupura Tiger Reserve, says, “The true rush is actually in tracking the animal and finding it. Pushing your senses and interpreting every track and sign to reach the right place at the right time to get a sighting that will be imprinted in your memory as an experience.”
When asked about how to prepare for the thrill of seeing a tiger, he says that there is absolutely nothing prepares a person for the absolute thrill of seeing a tiger, whether it is just a flash, walking majestically on the road, or sitting quietly in the water adding, “Whatever you may have imagined while reading about tigers or watching a documentary on them the reality is unimaginable, and it doesn’t fade. And you start craving for more and more.”
Being associated with Forsyth Lodge at Satpura Tiger Reserve, Vinieth  feels such accommodation in the middle of a forest take up a more active role in the management and maintenance of the forests and lands around them, and putting considerable support behind their conservation efforts, be it training locals, working with the authorities, or even reforestation of the land.
He however feels the effects of climate change and the global impact are seen and felt everywhere. “A change needs to come about, a change to preserve and protect. And it all starts from the forests! This change and attitude towards conservation needs to permeate through everyone, be it villagers, lodge owners, bureaucrats and politicians,” he says.

Gujarat: Two lion cubs found dead in Gir forest

Earlier last month, two lions, a lioness and a cub were found dead in and around the Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions. (File Photo)Earlier last month, two lions, a lioness and a cub were found dead in and around the Gir forest, the only abod... Read More

  | Mar 5, 2019, 22:19 IST
AHMEDABAD: Two lion cubs were found dead in Visavadar range of Gujarat's Gir forest on Tuesday, a senior official said.

Preliminary probe has revealed the two cubs, around five months old, may have been killed by a male lion in a territorial fight to establish dominance, said DT Vasavada, chief conservator of forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle.

Earlier last month, two lions, a lioness and a cub were found dead in and around the Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions.

As per the last census conducted in 2015, it is home to 523 lions, though a recent government announcement put the number at 600.

During the Gujarat assembly session held last month, the state government had said 204 lions, comprising 110 adults and 94 cubs, had died in and around Gir forest in the last two years as on December, 2018.

Totally roarsome! Lion and tiger cubs are best buddies - eating, sleeping and exploring together at a Russian zoo

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Gujarat: Two Lion Cubs Found Dead in Gir Forest, Preliminary Probe Hints at Territorial Fight

As per the last census conducted in 2015, Gir forest is home to 523 lions, though a recent government announcement put the number at 600.

Updated:March 5, 2019, 9:24 PM IST

Ahmedabad: Two lion cubs were on Tuesday found dead in Visavadar range of Gujarat's Gir forest, a senior official said.

Preliminary probe has revealed the two cubs, around five months old, may have been killed by a male lion in a territorial fight to establish dominance, said D T Vasavada, chief conservator of forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle.
Earlier last month, two lions, a lioness and a cub were found dead in and around the Gir forest, the only abode of Asiatic lions.

As per the last census conducted in 2015, it is home to 523 lions, though a recent government announcement put the number at 600.

During the Gujarat Assembly session held last month, the state government had said 204 lions, comprising 110 adults and 94 cubs, had died in and around Gir forest in the last two years as on December, 2018.

Of these, 21 lions and six cubs died of unnatural causes like falling into open wells or being hit by trains, the House was informed.

Nights Out: Gir Lion Lodge, London Zoo

We’ve all enjoyed great days out at the zoo – both as children and adults. But have you ever wondered what the animals get up to when the gates are locked and the sun goes down?
If so, you now have the chance to find out exactly that, thanks to London Zoo’s fantastic new Gir Lion Lodge experience, which allows you to stay overnight at one of the capital’s biggest attractions, falling asleep in your cosy little home to the sounds of the wild.
London Zoo has always been one of our favourite destinations in the capital. Whenever we’re stuck for things to do, which, to be fair isn’t that often in London, we always know the zoo is there, just a bus ride away, to entertain us. But this was to be our best visit of all.
Gir Lion Lodge is situated in extraordinary surroundings inside the Land of the Lions exhibit.
Inspired by the welcoming charm of hotels in the lions’ native Gujarati home in India, the beautifully decorated lodges have a traditional feel and are each themed to a different animal found in the Gir forest.
The nine lodge cabins house either double or twin beds and an en-suite bathroom. Each lodge has a private veranda so that you can sip your bedtime tea or hot chocolate while listening to the sounds of the Zoo at night.
The two-day experience allows visitors to spend one day at ZSL London Zoo and also, if you want, one day at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
We – that’s me, my wife Hayley and our six-year-old daughter, Nellie, arrived at London Zoo at 3pm last Wednesday, although could have arrived as early as 10am.
We spent an hour or so looking around the zoo with the rest of the public, before checking into the cabins and meeting our hosts Perry, Vivienne and Laura at 4.30pm.
But it was at around 5pm, when the gates to the general public closed and the stars began to come out, when things really came alive.
A stay at the Gir Lion Lodge includes three special tours, which all take place when the zoo is closed to the public.
After a welcome drink and a chance to meet not only our hosts but the other visitors who would be sharing the experience with us, we headed out for first the sunset tour, then a torchlight tour, meeting the lions but also penguins, camels, flamingos and their friends.
Between the tours we enjoyed a delicious two-course buffet meal in the zoo’s Terrace Restaurant, and retired to our lodges at around 9.30pm, but not before Nellie had the chance to make up some of the food we would be giving to the animals the next morning – including bamboo canes stuffed with mealworms for the Aye-Ayes.
After a cup of tea we bedded down for the evening, accompanied by the grunts and groans of the zoo’s resident male lion, Bhanu, who was suffering with a rather nasty cough.
We awoke at 7am on the Thursday having survived a night surrounded by some of the scariest, yet most beautiful animals imaginable.
At 8am we headed off for breakfast – a selection of English or continental options, before our final, personal tour, with Perry and Joy, after which the gates were opened at 10am and our dream returned to reality.
We were sad to leave, but our experience staying with the lions at Gir Lion Lodge and our very own, private tours of London Zoo, was one none of us will ever forget and is one we would recommend wholeheartedly.
ZSL London Zoo is an international conservation charity working to create a world where wildlife thrives and money spent on this experience helps support the mission.
For more information about prices and availability visit

A wild affair: Rajiv Gandhi zoo in Pune to house new exotic species

The zoo authorities claim that the zoo is the only one in the state to house the giant squirrel

Pune Updated: Mar 02, 2019 16:52 IST
Pune,Rajiv Gandhi zoo,speciesHT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune

A file picture of the giant Indian squirrel. The giant squirrel is among the exotic animals coming on display at the Katraj zoo.(HT PHOTO)
Rajiv Gandhi zoological park’s newest entrants are five new animal species. Of the five, the main attraction will be a giant squirrel. The zoo authorities claim that the Katraj zoo is the only one in the state to house this giant squirrel.
Giving details about the new developments, Rajkumar Jadhav, director Rajiv Gandhi zoological park said, “We are adding five new species to our zoo namely rusty spotted cat, leopard cat, jungle cat, Asiatic lion and giant squirrels. We have been successful in breeding giant squirrels. Earlier we had three giant squirrels, two of which successfully bread two babies who are now open for public viewing. Ours is the only zoo in the state to have these giant squirrels. In order to house these five species, five new enclosures will be constructed in a 3,500 square metre space within the zoo premises.”
Talking about the new enclosures Jadhav said, “The new enclosures will be built in a way, so that the public can easily view the animals. In the past we did receive complaints form our visitors about not being able to see the animals in the zoo due to large enclosures, keeping that in mind we will occupy the space accordingly for the new species.”

Non-native animals get a home
Rajkumar Jadhav, director Rajiv Gandhi zoological park also said that, a proposal has been sent to the central zoo authority to let the Katraj zoo house exotic animals. He said, “We want 10 per cent of the animals in the zoo to be exotic. This will help us to be a major attraction in the city. We plan to have giraffes, zebras and anacondas.”
Jadhav further added, “We will also construct a new enclosure for reptiles, the work of all the enclosures will be completed in December.”
First Published: Mar 02, 2019 16:51 IST