Wind-powered water holes for Gir lions
By Himanshu Kaushik, TNN | Mar 18, 2013, 12.13 AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Not just humans, even animals prefer flowing water. The drought-like situation in the Gir area has shown that water holes filled by wind or solar powered pumps attract more animals than those artificially filled by tankers.
Officials said stagnant water is less preferred. At a watering spot with flowing water, not just Asiatic lions, even chital, sambar and other wild animals are seen more frequently.
Officials said running water is cleaner and doesn't have dried leaves and other contaminants. It was also noticed that cemented ponds are less preferred. Places where water overflowing from such ponds accumulated nearby also proved better sites.
Officials said wind and solar powered pumps, do not draw large volumes but draw water slowly. This keeps it fresh and flowing. Sandeep Kumar, deputy conservator of forests, said the use of wind and solar energy is preferred to tankers. Also according to Kumar, resulting moisture in the area nearby was also better suited for animals to rest on hot afternoons.
The forest department has now begun a survey for locations suitable for windmills or solar water pumps in the Greater Gir area - Amreli, Porbandar, coastal areas and even Bhavnagar. Officials said that an experiment carried out in Liliya failed because of the high salinity of the groundwater there.
Conservator of forests R Meena said, "Instead of allocating funds solely for sanctuary areas, we are now focusing on social forestry areas outside the protected forest. We have now allocated more funds for areas in Junagadh and Amreli, which are quite far from the sanctuary."
However, officials who refused to be named, said that the there was indeed a great shortage funds and whatever little money was received from the Lion Conservation Society was being used up in constructing such waterholes.