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300 hectares of Gir, the land of the last remaining asiatic lions, razed in fire !!!!!

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 533037
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03/01/2009 02:08 PM
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300 hectares of Gir, the land of the last remaining asiatic lions, razed in fire !!!!!
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The Asian lion once occurred in southeast Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and India. By 1884, it survived only in an area of about 3,000 square kilometres in northern India’s Gir Forest, under the private protection of the ruler of the small state. Official protection by the Imperial government was given in 1900, but with increasing human population, overgrazing, and destruction of forest cover, suitable habitat was reduced to about 1,300 square kilometers. In 1957, three African lions, hardly different from their Asiatic relatives, were released in the Gir Forest sanctuary. Their increase has indicated that such an approach may ensure the continued existence of the lion in Asia. About 85 Asian lions survive in captivity.

After-burn: Urgent need to relocate Gir lions

Amit Bhattacharya | TNN

New Delhi: The fire that engulfed a part of Gujarat’s Gir forest on Tuesday afternoon has again highlighted the danger of keeping the world’s only surviving wild population of Asiatic lions confined to a single location.

There are just around 350 Asiatic lions left in the wild, all of them in the 1,412 sq km area of the Gir Protected Area (GPA) in Junagarh district of Gujarat. Experts have long been pointing to the need for relocating some of the Gir lions to another site for the sake of long-term health and survival of the species. There’s even an alternative home ready to welcome around 8-10 lions at the Kuno-Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

But there’s a glitch — Gujarat government refuses to part with ‘its lions’. The state government argues that it would rather shift some lions to another place inside Gujarat — like Barda, a sanctuary near Porbandar — than give them to another state. The matter has even reached the Supreme Court, which had last year asked the National Board for Wildlife for a report on the matter.

Meanwhile, time could be running out. Says Dr Raghu Chundawat, a expert on big cats, ‘‘Genetic studies of the Gir lions show that it’s a highly inbred population. This means the genetic make-up of the lions are very similar, leaving them extremely susceptible to epidemics. There’s a real danger of disease spreading quickly through the populace.’’

Experts point to an epidemic caused by a morbillivirus, closely resembling canine distemper, that rapidly spread through the lion population of Serengeti in Africa in 1994. It affected 85% of the lions and killed almost a third of the total population.

The lions at Serengeti were spread over an area much larger that Gir. Experts say such an epidemic at Gir could bring the Big Cats close to extinction.



Was Tuesday's wildfire in Gir forest a result of some accident or deliberately started by poachers to divert foresters' attention? The wildfire that gutted over 300 hectares of deciduous grassland and forest in Mitayala has both foresters and wildlife experts very worried. They suspect that the blaze may have been started by poachers to distract foresters and guards, and divert their energies away from guarding against poachers to controlling the fire.

While the forest department is investigating what started the fire, it is known from past experience (though never proven) that such fires are frequently started by criminal elements to divert foresters' attention so that poachers can kill wildlife or steal other forest produce without getting caught. Sources said that such fires are also started to discredit the forest department or sometimes simply to settle scores with some forest personnel.

Talking about the fire that broke out on Tuesday, the conservator of forests, Junagadh, MM Sharma, said the forest fire was very small at the beginning but it soon spread over a wide area because of strong winds. "Around 300 to 500 hectares of deciduous forest may have been lost," Sharma said. "We have to investigate the cause of the fire but the possibility of this being a deliberate act by some local people cannot be ruled out."

Environmentalist Manish Vaidya, who is closely involved with wildlife conservation in the country, said that there could be many causes of the fire.

what are we doing ?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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03/01/2009 02:11 PM
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Re: 300 hectares of Gir, the land of the last remaining asiatic lions, razed in fire !!!!!
BLAZE IN LION’S LAST BASTION
Blaze started at 4pm on Tuesday Around 300 hectares of land burnt in Mityana, a part of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary More than 200 forest personnel called in to fight the fire

Blaze brought under control late Wednesday morning, but fire still burning The area is 20 km east of the core area in Amreli district and has tall grass patches
Lions in the area have fled to other parts, wardens said
But dislocated lions, a fiercely territorial animal, could become disoriented and create problems, even fights with other lions
No sabotage suspected as fire could be accidental. Area has not received rainfall since September 2008

CAT STATS Number of lions in Gir | 350
Gir is the only place in the world where Asiatic lions live in the wild
A plan to create a second home by relocating a few lions to a sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh rejected by Gujarat

PAST INCIDENTS Jan 23, '09 | A small fire in Dalkhania range in Gir east controlled in 40 minutes April 04, '08 | Dry grass spread over 125 hectares of land in Hadada range in Gir east March 13, '08 | 85 hectares of land in fire near between Ghantula hill and Hanuman Gala in the Tulshishyam range Jan 22, '08 | 500 hectares of fire in Mityala range in Savarkundla
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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03/01/2009 02:14 PM
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Re: 300 hectares of Gir, the land of the last remaining asiatic lions, razed in fire !!!!!
why is everyone out to get them, nature as well as man ?
The Starbuckian

User ID: 1477223
United States
06/05/2013 02:22 AM

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Re: 300 hectares of Gir, the land of the last remaining asiatic lions, razed in fire !!!!!
Humans tend to destroy surpluses of anything, so that no one else can have it.
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Anonymous Coward
User ID: 37347469
Norway
06/05/2013 02:23 AM
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Re: 300 hectares of Gir, the land of the last remaining asiatic lions, razed in fire !!!!!
no point in keeping the humans in that area happy either then.





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