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Guj forest dept to go hi-tech


                                                                                                                                        The Pioneer, New Delhi, 10th April, 2015


The Gujarat forest department will take technological support by using the latest gadgets to conduct the 2015 lion census commencing from May 2. The most high-tech census compared to previous all the census of wildlife in Gujarat is aiming at avoiding overlapping of data and minimizing human error.


The latest technology and gadgets to be utilised for the census of Asiatic lions in as many as eight districts situated in Saurashtra region of the State include digital camera, Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS) and tablets. Lion census this time is spread over 8 districts — the highest in the history of census so far. The districts to be covered are Gir-Somnath, Junagadh, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Botad, Porbandar, Jamnagar and Rajkot.



Use of GIS and GPS technology will enable the enumerators to estimate the direction of lions. Besides noting down the number of lions in tablets, they would be able to convey message pertaining to the direction in which the lions would be heading. As a result of it there would be less chances of duplicating or overlapping the data.



The on-field officials are being given around 1,000 tablets to share the real-time data and updates. According to Sandip Kumar, deputy conservator of forest (wildlife), Sasan Gir, the State forest department is trying to make the census of Asiatic Lions almost paperless.



“In the previous censuses, enumerators used to fill data related to lions in forms. Now they are trained to use tablets. It would make the data transfer real-time,” said Kumar, adding that as soon as the enumerator will upload the data, automatic update will happen at the control room.


The application for census is simple and user friendly for enumerators. After seeing the lions, they would be able to give details of lions including shape of ear, marks of faces, body size, skin color, hair thickness on tail, belly, marks on faces etc to ensure accuracy. 



The last census was carried out in the year 2010 in which 411 Asiatic lions were recorded indicating increase of 52 big cats compared to earlier census conducted in the year 2005.



Three more lions die on Pipavav Port railway tracks



The incident of unnatural death of Asiatic lions due to train accident again took place on Pipavav Port railway line in Amreli district as three cubs died of train hit. The incident took place near Rampara village near Pipavav Port. According to official sources, two cubs were found cut into pieces on railway track


on Wednesday evening around 7.30 pm. Hit by a goods train, the third cub died later on due to serious injury. The cubs were around four months old, said a senior forest official adding that their mother could escape unhurt. The drivers of the goods train stopped the train, but it was too late. Last incident of lion death due to train accident occurred in May 2014.