Gujarat: the head buried in the confusion of public relations, the African ostrich put in the Rif | Ahmedabad News


AHMEDABAD: The tourism department of Gujarat ignored the elephant in its advertising room: its ignorance that the ostrich is not originally from Gir.
In a publicity video released by the department, a few flightless African birds are seen pecking for snacks at the Asiatic lion’s abode. The department wanted to brag about Gir’s wealth of wildlife, but scored a duck about it.
Another video cheerfully cries out wolf, although the image is of a jackal. The blunders exasperated wildlife experts. The ministry’s defense is that the videos are old and have already been removed. But wildlife experts point out that the punchline of the videos lets the goof cat out of the bag: “Come back to life.” Experts say the line clearly indicates a post-Covid invitation.
Bhushan Pandya, an environmentalist and former member of the State Wildlife Council, said the tourism department’s commercials had gone viral. He said the videos were also circulating in circles of wildlife experts across India. He said mistakes are embarrassing. “You can understand that the tourism department will not have the expertise,” he said. “But they should consult with professionals, such as forestry department officials, before posting any advertisements.” Hareet Shukla, tourism secretary of the government of Gujarat, said: “These are old advertisements that were taken down by the ministry once the errors were pointed out. Jenu Devan, general manager of the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat, reiterated Shukla’s statements and said the department would be more careful in the future.
“Lack of coordination between forestry and tourism services”
As in the past, the tourism department showcased the pride of the state by putting an African lion on the logo. Last year, the department posted a social media campaign with the same blooper, a senior forestry department officer said. “How can they show an ostrich in a forest in Gujarat and that too to Gir?” They seem to be doing advertisements without keeping the forestry department informed, ”the officer said.
“It appears that the material is drawn at random from online sources. These examples show that there is no coordination between forestry and tourism services. A senior Gir officer said of the videos: “There are no ostriches in Gir Sanctuary. Ostriches are found in open, arid and semi-arid habitats.
The officer added, “The person who created the video may have assumed that the ostrich landscape was Gir’s.” The officer went on to say, “When I was in Gandhinagar, I asked the tourism officials to have the facts checked for the countryside.” Such mistakes can be avoided if the advertising material goes through the forestry department first, he said.


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