Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vulture census begins Junagadh

Vulture census begins Junagadh

Junagadh (Gujarat), May 29 (ANI): Forest officials in the Sasan Gir National Park in Gujarat have begun a two-day census of vultures.

Deputy Conservator of Forest, Gir Forest Sanctuary, Sandeep Kumar, said around 600 forest officials have been deployed to monitor the number of vultures and their behaviour.

"We know the time and are, where the vultures arrive. So, before the time of arrival, the staff takes its place silently in the nearby areas and we try and count the number of adult and child vultures. Along with this, we also note the compositions in which these vultures arrive, we note down the time, the place and silently observe their behaviour. So, this is the kind of observation we do," said Kumar.

Kumar said there are various types of vultures in the forest, including king vulture, long billed vultures, Egyptian vultures and many other species of vultures.

Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Junagarh R.L. Meena said the number would not decrease and would remain stable.

"The estimation of citing would be declared in a proper way at the state level. As per the citing so far, I feel that the number would not decrease, it would remain stable," said Meena.

According to the 2005 census, 2135 vultures were recorded

According to a report in 2010, two US researchers found that the cause of the unprecedented decline in the population of vultures in India was a veterinary drug residue in cattle and livestock carcasses, which was killing most of the South Asian vultures, leaving them on the brink of extinction.

It was discovered the vultures were being poisoned by residues of an anti-inflammatory drug (diclofenac) used in cattle and other livestock, whose carcasses they feed on.

The anti-inflammatory drug was fed to ailing cattle and other livestock, was being ingested by the wild birds feeding on the carcasses and causing visceral gout, a manifestation of renal failure. (ANI)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Asiatic Lion Populations Outgrowing Their Sanctuary in India

The Asiatic lion once roamed through the Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, and Middle East, but by 1907, the lions were down to only 13, and the Indian prince banned hunting the massive beasts.
As their populations grow, lions are finding their ways into villages, killing livestock and entering people’s homes. They rarely attack humans, but are often injured as villagers have put up rudimentary measures, like electric fences, to keep the predator from making their livestock prey. According to Scientific American, many conservationists and the Indian government think the smart thing to do is to transfer some of them elsewhere. One location where they are looking is the Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary.
But, Gujarat doesn’t want to lose their lions, as both sides weigh the positives and negatives of relocating the animals.
Everyone agrees that it’s great to see the numbers increasing, but with lions creeping up to 500 and the human population in India growing to 1.2 billion, where will they all go? –Brian McClintock

Friday, May 25, 2012

UP: Gir lions to roar in Mulayam's Etawah

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has dusted off a 2006 plan to create a miniature version of South Africa's Kruger National Park, whose lion safari draws tourists like a magnet all year round.
Significantly, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party dispensation has chosen a 50- hectare tract of land in Fisher Forest that lies in Mulayam Singh Yadav's citadel of Etawah. This would be the first ever such project in the state.
Government sources revealed that apart from serving as an attraction for backpackers, the safari will house a lion breeding centre of international standards to augment the captive population of the magnificent Asiatic lion in the country, the Daily Mail reported.
But wildlife experts expressed doubts about the viability of the UP government's ambitious plan.
Conservationist Ananda Banerjee observed: "The first hurdle for the UP government would be procuring lions from its counterpart in Gujarat. The latter has submitted in the Supreme Court that it will not hand over lions to anyone. It refused the Madhya Pradesh government's request in this regard."
Nearly 150 hectares of land in Fisher Forest on Etawah-Gwalior highway, close to the National Chambal Sanctuary and ravines of the Yamuna had been acquired in 2005 during the Mulayam regime and was notified as a Lion Safari. Named after Fisher, collector of Etawah in 1888, the forest lies about 10 km from the Etawah district headquarters. Of the total cost of Rs 5.6 crore, Rs 1.04 crore had been allotted for the safari in 2005.
The project, however, was derailed after Mulayam's exit in 2007 after losing to the BSP.
The land for the project has already been identified in the Fisher Forest area of Etawah. The project would take about two years to complete after the CZA grants approval.
The state government recently sent a request to the Gujarat government asking for a lion and four lionesses needed for natural breeding. The Gir National Park in Junagadh (Gujarat) is the only natural habitat of pure Asian lions in Asia. When the original project had been sent to the CZA in 2005, it had granted approval on the condition that a lion breeding centre be set up as part of the safari.