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Gujarat launches intensive project to conserve Gir lions

Gujarat government on November 20, 2018 launched a Rs 351-crore project for the conservation of the Gir lions. The project is launched in the backdrop of the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) outbreak that claimed 23 Asiatic lions lives.

Nov 21, 2018 11:21 IST
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Gujarat government on November 20, 2018 launched a Rs 351-crore project for the conservation of the Gir lions. The project is launched in the backdrop of the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) outbreak that claimed 23 Asiatic lions lives in their only dwelling Gir National park in Saurashtra.

This intensive project will also include an emergency ambulance van akin to the 108 emergency services.

 

Canine distemper

Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects a wide variety of animal families, including domestic and wild species of dogs, coyotes, foxes, pandas, wolves, ferrets, skunks, raccoons, and large cats, as well as pinnipeds, some primates, and a variety of other species.

Canine distemper is also sometimes termed as hardpad disease.

Canine distemper is caused by a single-stranded RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae (the same family of the viruses that causes measles, mumps, and bronchiolitis in humans). It affects several body systems, including the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and the spinal cord and brain, with common symptoms that include high fever, eye inflammation and eye/nose discharge, labored breathing and coughing, vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy, and hardening of nose and footpads.

The Gujarat government put on hold approval to 10 mines in the Gir region in view of the environmental issues related to the eco-sensitive zones 10 km around Gir. Wildlife experts and forest officials have been complaining for long that mining and commercial activities around the lion sanctuary have increasingly become a threat to the tranquil existence of the wild beasts.

Modern technology for conservation

The Government said that modern technology would also be used in lion conservation. The movements of nocturnal animals like the lions and others will be tracked through closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) and camera-mounted drones.

They are also planning to bring in a project on the lines of E-eye, which has been successful in the Corbett National Park.

E-eye

E-Eye is a 24/7 all-weather large-scale intelligent technology, capable of providing live-feed wildlife supervision in vulnerable areas and sanctuary perimeters, collecting and interpreting wildlife crime data to alert law enforcement before violations occur.

The E-eye apparatus protects areas by helping in monitoring the hard-to-access regions, manage patrols, detect intruders, and keep rangers accountable. It also helps reserve managers study wildlife.

The government has also decided to set up five Safari Parks. Accordingly, a lion safari will come up at Gandhinagar, a Tiger Safari at Kevadia near the Statue of Unity and two leopard safari parks will be set up in Mandvi in Surat district and Dangs in South Gujarat.

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