As Cyclone Biparjoy approaches, the state forest department is taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of the Asiatic lions in the Saurashtra region, where the cyclone is expected to cause significant damage. Over 100 lions have been placed under high-security watch in coastal areas, and efforts are underway to move them to safer locations. Forest officials are employing various strategies, including herding the lions with beat guards and baiting them with ungulates, to ensure their protection.
Shift of Lions Closer to the Coast
Around 30 lions that were in the vicinity of the Gir Somnath-Bhavnagar route, closer to the coast, have already been shifted to safer locations. The forest department is closely monitoring the path of the cyclone and will move the lions to higher altitudes, such as nearby hillocks, if the situation necessitates it, a report in Times of India stated.
Herding Lions with Beat Guards
Friendly-beat guards, dressed in khaki, are playing a crucial role in herding the lions to safer havens. These guards work in groups of three to four and use sounds familiar to the animals to lure them towards locations approximately a kilometre away. This method is particularly effective for sub-adult cubs under three years old, as once one lion is moved to a safer area, the rest of the pride follows within a couple of hours.
Moving Lion's Kill and Baiting with Ungulates
To facilitate lion movement over shorter distances, the forest department utilizes techniques such as moving the lion's kill to another location. Since lions feed on carcasses for two days, this strategy helps attract the animals to desired areas within a 200-meter range. Additionally, in some cases, ungulates are relocated to specific areas to entice the lions. These measures are implemented in the evenings to increase the likelihood of the pride staying in the designated locations.
Control Points and Rescue Teams
The forest department has established 21 control points along the coast, equipped with medical teams and rescue teams. These teams are ready to respond swiftly in case of any emergencies or challenges posed by the cyclone. The chief conservator of forests, Aradhana Sahoo, highlights the importance of these control points in coordinating the efforts to protect the lions during the cyclone.
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