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Gir lions expand home range,two spotted in Rajkot taluka

A farm labourer of the village claimed to have seen the two big cats.

November 2, 2013 3:54:07 am

Buttresting the claim of Gujarat government that lions are expanding their home range,two male lions were reportedly sighted in Jasdan taluka of Rajkot district,around 100 km away from Gir forests in Amreli district on Friday. The two lions raided one Lakhu Bharwad’s enclosure of cows in Dolatpara village,some 35 km south of Jasdan and preyed on four cows at around 4 am,Jasdan Range Forest Officer (RFO) Mahendrasinh Vaishnav said. “A farm labourer of the village claimed to have seen the two big cats. Pug marks also suggest that the cats were lions,” Vaishnav further said.

Incidentally,the same lions had reportedly been camping in Gondal taluka for the past week. Gondal is also more than 50 km away from Gir forest,the only natural habitat of the endangered Asiatic lions,in Amreli and Junagadh districts.

“They are the same two sub-adult male lions which were reported in the neighbouring Gondal taluka. Our rescue team is following their movement to prevent any untoward incident,” Sandeep Kumar,Deputy Conservator of Forest (wildlife division,Sasan Gir),said. He denied media reports that the forest officers were trying to guide the lions back to Gir forest. “This is a natural procedure of lions for establishing their new territories. We shall not trap and bring them to the rescue centre in Sasan. Since Jasdan has some grassland,it is possible the two might stay as prey will be available there,” Kumar said.

Besides numerous patches of social forestry,Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary,is also located in Jasdan. The sanctuary is home to blue bulls,Indian gazelle and ungulates which are prey of lions. The sighting of the two lions in Jusdan underpins the claim of officers of the State Forest Department that the big cats are winning their territory back and need not be translocated for better survival of the species.

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