Monday, January 21, 2008

Circus managers disappear, lions in tow
Abhay Jain

Gurgaon, December 4
The failure of the district administration to act in time and seize the three African lions of Asian Circus, presently running in Gurgaon, gave an opportunity to the circus owners to run away with the proscribed animals. On the complaint of an NGO, the People for Animals, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had directed the Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arurag Rastogi, on December 2 to take action against the Asian Circus for violating the Union Government notification, which bars exhibition and training of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions.

Yesterday, the representatives of People for Animals, the police department, the forest-cum-wild life department and the media inspected the circus and found the three African lions being exhibited during a show. However, the local administration did not respond with any urgency and seize the banned lions. Today, Wild Life Inspector, Mr Sultan Singh, And Sub-Inspector, Mr Shahid Khan, along with the chairman of People for Animals, Haryana, Mr Naresh Kumar Kadyan, inspected the circus and found all the three African lions missing. The owners, managers and other senior officials of the circus were also untraceable. In fact, the first show of the circus, which started at 1 p.m., ran as usual. While the show was on, the government officials read out a notice and appealed to the owners/managers of the circus to come forward and accept the same.

Eventually, at about 4 p.m., the wild life officials pasted a notice on the entrance gate of the circus. The notice states that “The circus has three African lions, which were seen on December 3. But today, these lions are missing.”

The owners of the circus have been directed to produce the ownership certificate of these lions. If they fail to do so, legal action would be initiated against them, warns the notice. The Conservator of Forests, South Circle, Gurgaon, whose office had pasted the notice, has also directed the circus owners to produce the ownership certificates of elephants in its custody.

After the notice was pasted, the second show, which was scheduled to start at 4 pm, was cancelled. The show was cancelled by the management of the circus and not by the police, it has been clarified.

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