Monday, November 24, 2008

Sakkarbaug Zoo Junagadh City News Gujarat India

Turning to science in a long-term conservation plan of endangered Asiatic Lions, an exclusive gene pool of the species will be set up with blood and DNA samples to maintain their genetic diversity.

The measure taken up by the Gujarat government is aimed at protecting the diverse gene pool of the last surviving Asiatic Lions — just 359 as per the last census in 2005 — which faces threat from poaching and deadly diseases,affecting its population in the lone habitat of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary.

The forest department would set up four gene pools at four different places around the sanctuary, Forest Conservator Mayank Sharma told PTI. Blood and DNA samples, semen and live tissue specimens of large number of lions will be preserved at these units.

"We have identified four different places, where we will build full-fledged gene pools as a part of a long term conservation plan," Sharma said.

These units would come up at Rampara and Umath in Rajkot district, Shakkarbaug in Junagadh and Barda in Porbandar.The purpose of the project is to maintain genetic diversity of the lions, he said.

The wildlife department plans to keep six to eight breeding pairs of lions in each of these gene pool, Sharma said, adding that they would be kept in captivity in huge enclosures built at each of the four identified centres.

"Each gene pool will be built at a cost of Rs 1.50 crore," Sharma said.

"We will prepare genetic profiling of each lion present in the gene pool, conduct DNA fingerprinting on them, take their tissue and sperm samples and preserve them in cold storage."

The project also plans to build a laboratory at Sakkarbaug in Junagadh for storing live tissue materials.

"We plan to keep the gene pool for the next 50 years. New techniques would have been developed for conservation of wild animals by then," the forest conservator said.

The building of enclosure has been completed at Rampara near Vankaner town in Rajkot district and lions will be introduced there by 2009-2010.Construction of enclosure is underway at Barda Wildlife Sanctuary in Porbandar district.

"Enclosures will be bigger than those in Zoos. People will not be allowed there," Sharma added.

We will not pick up lions from Gir and introduce them to gene pools. Lions straying out of the sanctuary and the injured ones after rehabilitation would be shifted to gene pools," he added.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Girnar Mountains Junagadh City News Gujarat India 2011

Junagadh Chamber seeks clarification on Girnar status.

The Junagadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry has written a letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and sought clarification over various issues in the wake of the confusion following the declaration of the Girnar forest as a sanctuary.

Bhurabahi Desai, the Secretary of the Chamber has sought clarification whether the Girnar region should be considered as a pilgrimage center or a sanctuary.

Girnar is controlled by two different authorities, the forest department and the state yatradham(pilgrimage) development board, he said.

Desai has sought clarification on issues like whether night halt in Girnar will henceforth be stopped, as also the fate of the Girnar ropeway project and the capable authority for giving construction permit in the revenue survey area and other areas falling at the foot of the Girnar Mountains.

He has also sought a query as to how the sanctuary status will affect issues related to faith, particularly the two big melas and various religious events taking place in the area round the year.“There is much confusion prevailing over some issues which should be clarified in the larger public interest,” he said.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Junagadh News - One Friendly Snake Wrangler

Mangarol Junagadh Saurastra has its friendly neighbourhood snake wrangler.

Parvin Parmar is a busy man. A driver by profession, this 35-year-old man from Mangarol in Junagadh district has an alternate identity as well.

He is a snake wrangler.

Parmar regularly receives numerous phone calls to catch snakes. This he does wilfully, as a voluntary service to the people in and around Mangarol.

He also claims to have caught over 10,000 snakes over a period of two decades.

Every day, he catches over 15 snakes from different locations and releases them at safer places, unhurt.

“A fortnight ago, I had captured a nine-foot long python from a village falling under Maliya taluka, and released it in the Gir forest,” Parmar said, adding that he has been fortunate enough not to be bitten by any snake until now.

During the cultivation and harvest seasons, Parmar attends as many as 20-25 calls daily. People in Mangarol know him as a snake expert. Now, his name has reached as far as Porbandar and Keshod. Yet, he has been offering his services without any fees.

“I never charge any money, but people pay me anything between Rs 100 and Rs 200 as compensation for conveyance.It has turned into a hobby.I just want humans and animals to be safe.

Even my family, including my two-year-old daughter,Riddhi, has become familiar with snakes,” Parmar said.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Junagadh News-Sakkar Baug Zoo Museum

Sakkar Baug museum gets new home at Taj Manzil.

Department of Museums contemplates installing tight security system at the palace.

The Sakkar Baug Zoo museum – located in the heart of the Junagadh City Zoo – will be shifted to the Taj Manzil palace.

Though the specific reason for the shift is not known, it is speculated that as the visitors to the museum had to pay fee even for zoo, it kept them away.

The new location of the museum is spacious and will also help the department to display the two centuries-old nawabi treasure more effectively.

“Earlier, the museum was located in an 11,000-square-foot area, whereas in the Taj Manzil, the display area is as big as 22,000 square feet. And the palace, with its ivory flooring, furniture and staircases, is itself a museum,” said S N Pandey, Director of the State Department of Museums.

In addition to shifting the artefacts from the Sakkar Baug museum, the nawabi treasure from 17th to 19th century will be kept on display.

“The treasure and belongings of all the nine nawabs of Junagadh(Saurastra) have been kept with the Junagadh collector. All these things will be displayed in the museum in various categories,” said Pandey.

“The collection of Rs 10 and Rs 2 as fee from the visitors of the zoo and the museum does not matter. But this new place will certainly get more tourists as it is centrally located and it can be accessed more easily,” said Pandey.

Taj Manzil was earlier occupied by the Junagadh Ayurvedic College before it shifted to Ahmedabad. The Department of Museums is in the process of signing an MoU with a Delhi-based company to install heavy security system in the museum.

“The display of such priceless artifact calls for heavy security. We will be incorporating the latest security measures, including bullet-proof showcases, alarm system, and cameras,” said Pandey.

Sources said the old Sakkar Baug museum will be converted into a conservation lab for museum artefacts.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Girnar Lili Parikrama Junagadh City Gujarat India

Girnar Lili Parikrama will start from November 9 & will finish at 13 November.

Around one million Hindus will participate in Girnar’s anual Lili Parikrama(Green pradakshina or circumambulation).

The 36-km parikrama will start from 9th of November and end on 13th. According to Gujarati Hindu calendar Parikrama starts from Kartik 11 to 15 every year.

Girnar (Junagadh- Saurastra) the tallest mountain of Gujarat is 6 km. from Junagadh City.

On an average, about 7 lakh devotees attend the function but as Gir forest has a lush green look after good monsoon this year, it may attract one million devotees.

In year 2003 Parikrama had attracted 1.2 million devotees.

According to popular belief, after winning the war at Kurukshetra, Pandavas had done the parikarma to seek God’s blessings.

As the stretch of the Parikrama passes through the forest, it is an adventurous trip for the youngsters. After the rainfall, the ponds and rivers are full of water adding to the scenic beauty of the forest and hills, so this year many more youngsters will participate in the Parikrama. Youngsters see it as solving a dual purpose. They complete a ritual as they enjoy the beauty of Gir forest.

Necessary arrangements have been made by Junagadh District Collectorate, police, forest department, health and water supplies department and other voluntary organisations to ensure smooth celebrations of the five-day Girnar Parikrama.

The Parikrama will commence from Girnar Taleti, night halt at Jinabava Madhi, and MarvellaBordevi and return to the starting point on the fifth day.

The forest department has put a ban on plastic bags and gutkha. Anyone found violating the ban will be fined, said forest department officials.Many voluntary organisations have also come forward to ensure uninterrupted water and food supply at regular intervals.

Medical camps have also been arranged by the health department at various points.

The forest department has finished patching up roads on the 36-km stretch. Some 7 km (1/5 of the total route) of the parikrama route is more or less damaged due to heavy rains in late monsoon this year. The ground has been leveled and cactus and other wild plants have been removed from the roads.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mangrol Port - Junagadh Saurashtra District News 2011

Mangrol Port (Junagadh), November 2 - A septuagenarian has been running coaching classes at Mangrol Port in Junagadh(Saurashtra) district that have no admission hassles, no donation and no fees either.

Everyone in this port town in Saurashtra knows Muljibhai Gosiya (71).

For the last 40 years, Muljibhai has been single-handedly educating students from kindergarten to Class IX after school hours.

He had himself studied only up to the Class VII, yet some of his former students are now doctors, merchants and community leaders.

He holds free coaching classes everyday, even on Sunday and never keeps a single holiday throughout the year.

Muljibhai belongs to the fishermen community and has a family of seven.

He is physically challenged and has to work as a painter or laborer to make both ends meet.

Nevertheless, he runs coaching classes at his house at Sadhana Society on the outskirts of Mangrol town.

He runs two batches — one from 8 am to 10 am and an other from 5 pm to 6 pm — in which around 70 students, mostly from the fishermen community are enrolled.

“Educating poor students has always been my first priority; coaching is my hobby. There is no holiday even on New Year or Diwali.

There is no Sunday or a weekly off,” he said.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Junagadh Festivals - turns into a tourist hotspot during season

Junagadh(Saurastra) has become a hotspot for tourists during the holiday season.

In the last five days, thousands of tourists from across the state have visited famous tourist sites here, particularly the Somnath Temple, Gir Forests, Girnar Mountains, holiday camp sites at Chorwad and Madhavpur beaches and the Sakkarbaug Zoo among other places.

During this festive season, the Railways and the state transport earned remarkable income and transported lakhs of passengers.

Y P Jani, Deputy Station Superintendent, Junagadh Railway Station, said: “Since the last five days, the Railways’ income, on an average, has been rupees three lakh per day. Some 30,000 passengers have travelled by train in the last five days.”

The state transport division also reported a similar increase in passenger numbers. A state transport official from the Junagadh bus station said the state transport (ST) recorded a daily passenger base of one lakh. “The ST earned an income of Rs 6 lakh per day at Junagadh during the last five days,” the official said.

V J Rana, Director, Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh, said: “Over 50,000 tourists visited the zoo from October 28 to November 1. The zoo registered an income of Rs five lakh during this period.”

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