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Brain behind lion shifting plan flees Gir

The Times of India, Ahmadabad, 7th April, 2013

the brain behind the translocation plan of lions,beat a hasty retreat from the national park on Tuesday when he heard about protests planned against him.Even forest guards joined the protests against him organised by locals who heard he had landed in Gir on Monday,the day the SC order went against Gujarat.

Though Chellam,a known authority on lions,was accompanying a delegation from the Prague zoo in the Czech Republic,instructions were issued to the forest officials to treat him as a private guest.The other Czech guests were considered as official guests when they checked into the Simha Sadan,the main government guest house at Sasan in Gir.

Only Chellam was made to pay for the stay and other facilities,including the permit to enter the national park,forest officials said.

The Czech delegation was told that Gujarat was willing to give lions for the Prague zoo,provided they remove Chellam as the consultant.

A frequent visitor to Gir,Chellam did his PhD from Saurashtra University in 1993 on Ecology of Asiatic lion.He later joined the Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun,which came up with the plan co-authored by Chellam in 1995 which was quoted by SC in its order on Monday in favour of the relocation of lions.

We had gone to Simha Sadan to protest but he got wind of it and fled, said president of Prakruti Nature Club Dinesh Goswami. When contacted Chellam said,I was given information about the protests and was advised to leave for security reasons.