Naming ceremony for Asiatic cubs

Naming ceremony for Asiatic cubs

In the first of its kind initiative, villagers in Sasan –home to Asiatic lions— will hold a “namkaran vidhi” (naming ceremony) to christen five lion cubs born on May 17 this year. These cubs were born to Lioness Laxmi.

As per the traditional Gujarati ritual observed by villagers, the names of all the five cubs that have survived the first four months and weigh around 11 kg will be decided by the pick of the lots.

The ceremony scheduled for October 2, will kick-start the Wildlife Week and will comprise a series of events including rallies and seminars on the theme of conservation. Forest officials admit that it was indeed rare for a lioness to give birth to five cubs and their survival is equally significant.

  “Through this naming ceremony we intend to generate awareness about the steps taken to conserve wildlife, especially in the Lion sanctuary,” said a forest official. Pointing out this ceremony, Gujarat’s chief wildlife warden, C N Pandey said,  “Like traditional Gujarati families this ceremony will be officiated by ‘foibas’ or buas (elderly paternal aunts) from Sasan village.’’ These women will pick up a chit with name written for each cub. 

Officials added that such ceremonies would definitely attract more tourist and generate an awareness about Lion conservation. Forest officials said that Lioness Laxmi’s mother, Shayama also had given birth to five cubs earlier in 2010. Gir has seen a substantial growth in the number of tourists. While some attribute growth to superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s campaign, some  says it is because of the possible translocation of the Asiatic lions to MP from Gujarat.

 Official figures of the tourism department pointed out that the number of tourists in 2010 was 1.29 lakh, which increased to 4.60 lakh in 2012-2013. Noticing the increasing interest amongst visitors, the forest department has also added the number of permits per day in Sasan from 90 to 115 per day.

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