Monday, March 30, 2009

Junagadh zoo, proud owner of two Cheetah couples

The Junagadh Zoo in Gujarat has shot into the limelight for being the only place in India to possess two pairs of rare and endangered Cheetah.
The four wild cats, who were flown in here yesterday from a Singapore zoo in exchange for two Asiatic lioness and a lion, were trying to adapt to their new habitat at Sakkarbag Zoo in the Gir forest area here.
Sakkarbag Zoo superintendent V M Rana told UNI today that the Cheetahs have been kept in quarantine as there is a danger of their getting some infection.
A special reverse osmosis water plant has been installed to provide pure water to the Cheetahs, Mr Rana said adding that the animals were being served hygienic food under the supervision of veterinary doctors and other experts, who are keeping a round-the-clock vigil using close circuit televisions.
Cheetahs, considered the fastest animal, have become extinct from the country during 1947 and from almost all the jungles of Asia since last 80 years.
Those kept in few zoos have also perished.
Under the exchange programme, Cheetahs have been brought here from Singapore for breeding purpose in a closed enclosure and later if the experiment succeeded, the wild cats would be released in the Gir forest, the abode of Asiatic lions.
According to Mr Rana, the Sakkarbag zoo has over 900 wild animals, including 42 lions and 48 leopards. Over eight lakh people visit the zoo every year.
He said the Cheetah was said to have been last spotted in Vankaner in the Saurashtra region in 1910. The city has a place called ”Cheetah Khana Chowk” which establishes its connection with the endangered animal.
The Nawab of Junagadh Mahobatkhan had Cheetahs in his personal zoo some 150 years ago and he was the one to have established the Sakkarbag Zoo in 1863.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

About Gir National Park

Gir National Park, Sasan
About Gir National Park
Gir National Park is around 1400 sq km hilly tract of dry deciduous forests, acacia scrub, evergreen and semi-evergreen forests and grasslands, comprised by flowing rivers and streams. Among the many water-bodies in the reserve is the Kamleshwar Dam, known for its huge crocodile population.
This natural vista was in the beginning guarded by the Royal family of Junagarh, after British viceroys brought his attention to the plight of the lion in Asia, that the sanctuary is the gem of Gujarat’s ecological balance. Gir National Park is the only habitat for the Great Asiatic Lions in India. The Gir National Park stretches out in the Gujarat peninsula in North-Western part of India. The terrain in and around the national park is rugged with low hills and the vegetation is mixed deciduous with Teak, Acacia, Jamun, Dhak and Tendu trees, sprinkled with patches of grasslands. The trees on the hills are sparse and stunted. Inside the sanctuary, there are several human settlements of cattle herders with abundance of livestock population that forms a significant part of the Lion’s diet.
Wildlife in Gir National Park
Gir National Park is chiefly renowned for the seriously endangered species of Asiatic Lions. The Asiatic lions of Gir are slightly smaller than the African Lions. There are more than 300 Asiatic Lions in Gir and they are best viewed at dawn or dusk when they are on the patrol for predating. Apart from the legendary Asiatic lions, the Gir wildlife sanctuary is home to a number of other animals such as Blue bull (Nilgai), Sambhar, Indian Gazelle (Chinkara), Black Bucks, four horned Antelope, Wild Boar, crocodiles, Grey Musk Shrew, Indian Flying Foe, Indian Hare, Small Indian Mongoose, Pale Hedgehog, Small Indian Civet, Indian Pangolin, Ratel, Indian Porcupine, Fox and Jackal. The Jungle Cat, Desert Cat and the Rusty Spotted Cat also inhabit the Gir forest. The Gir forest is also rich in avian fauna and about 300 species are found inhabiting Gir National Park of which the most common is the peafowl.
Flora Of Gir
The Gir National Park is a mixed deciduous forest with teak, flame of the forest, some Acacia and Banyan trees. A diverse belt of vegetation is found along the main rivers and streams. Species like the Karanj, Umro, Jamun, Vad, Kalam, Charal, Sirus and Amli are found here. These trees are mostly broad leaved and evergreen, providing the area a cool shade and the moisture comfort.
More Happenings of Gir
Jeep Safari:
The greatest way to spectacle the big cats is, undoubtedly, in their natural habitat, at the time of dawn and dusk, when they are on the prowl. Wildlife viewing in the Gir’s is best done, by driving through tourist vehicle in the forest.
Tribal Village: Some of the tribes still exists in the interiors of the park co-existing with the wild animals. A visit to these tribal villages is an exciting experiences that introduces the visitors to the unique lifestyle and ways of living of the tribal people.
Nearby Cities: The historic town of Junagarh has a number of attractions that include forts, palaces and gardens. Shopping options in the town abound with ethnic Rajasthani goods is also a good deal.
Best Time to Visit Gir
Wildlife lovers can visit Gir park throughout the year, but the best time to visit the Gir National Park is between the months of November and June.
How To Reach
By Railways:
The nearest rail stations are Sasan Gir and Veraval, while the most convenient is Rajkot.
By Airways: Nearest airport is Keshod and diu (UT), while it will be ideal to travel by air is Rajkot and a rental vehicle can be obtained from here. Another major airport is Ahmedabad, connected to Delhi through daily flights.
By Roadways: Gir is situated at a distance of 400-kms from Ahmedabad via Rajkot, Junagadh and Mendarda.