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Gir lions to be tagged to study migration patterns

Thursday, 19 June 2014 | PNS | New Delhi

The lions of Gir in Gujarat are now under the radar of Wildlife Institute of India (WII). In view of the rising incidents of their straying, at least 10 lions are being radio collared to study their migration patterns outside the Protected Area.

It will be for the first time that Gir lions will be radio tagged to track their movements within and outside the sanctuary. The study is being undertaken by a team of eight experts, researchers and trackers , from the WII and State forest department  led by Dr YD Jhala, wildlife scientist from WII. This is for the first time that lions will be globally tagged to track their movements. In the first round, four lionesses are being radio collared, which will be followed by the remaining six. According to Jhala, the study is also aimed at understanding the behavior of Asiatic lions near human landscapes.

The research will help in ascertaining the area required by a breeding female for hunting her preys along with the rearing of the results of her cubs. The results of the study will enable the forest department to ensure better protection of lions and its habitat management in the long run, said the researchers.

Further, the study will trace the movement pattern of lions-their frequency of straying, whether or not they return to the sanctuary-whether they prey on local livestock from the villages etc. As per the May 2010 census, there are 130 lions outside the sanctuary. However, the forest officials said this number is likely to have increased.

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