Friday, April 25, 2008

Gujarat govt orders probe into 'lion shows'

VADODARA: Gujarat government has ordered a probe after reports in a section of the media said that baits are being used to draw lions at particular spots to attract tourists in Gir National Park.

Chief Conservator of the Forests (Wildlife) Pradeep Khanna said that an inquiry would be conducted into the "lion show" using baits for drawing tourists and action would be taken against those found guilty.

According to recent reports, some gangs were allegedly charging hefty sums from tourists for giving them a glimpse of the lions at Gir National Park in Junagadh district, by using baits to bring the beasts to a particular place, where tourists can easily see them, following which government swung into action.

"I have asked top wildlife officials of the forest department to visit Gir to look into the allegations and find out the truth," Principal Secretary, Forest and Environment Department S K Nanda said adding necessary steps will be taken after conducting an enquiry into the matter.

Meanwhile, Forest Minister Mangubhai Patel said that there are no organised gangs involved in luring lions for tourists by using baits.

He also added that it is a tendency among people to gather at spots where a group of lions are feeding on the cattle after they have killed one.

However, Patel said that following the reports, two district forest officials in the area have been asked to keep a vigil on the activities in the park.

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