No lion census, only observation activity this week in Guj

Ahmedabad, Jun 3 (PTI) The Gujarat forest department on Wednesday clarified that it would just be conducting a lion observation activity on June 5 and 6 and not a lion census.

The census of lions, which was to be carried out last month, had to be put off in view of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, it said.

The Junagadh forest department, under whose jurisdiction the Gir Wildlife sanctuary is located, clarified this amid reports that the state government would carry out the lion census on Friday and Saturday with only forest department staff.

'On every full moon day, we ask the forest department personnel to observe lions in the areas assigned to the staff.

We will take up a similar exercise from 2 pm on on June 5 to 2 pm on June 6,' Chief Conservator of Forests, D T Vasavda, said in a statement.

'This is not a lion census. Lion census is carried out every five years in an extensive manner. Large number of central and state government officials, wild life lovers, NGOs and members of National Board of Wildlife are involved in it,' he said.

The last census was carried out in 2015 and it was supposed to be held during summer this year. But due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, it was not possible, he said.

'This full moon day observation exercise will be carried and rough estimation of figures arrived at will be used for internal policy making for the safety oflions,' he said. PTI PD NP NP