Supreme Court orders transfer of some Asiatic Lions from Gujarat’s Gir to MP’s Kuno
The Supreme Court directed concerned organizations to shift Asiatic lions from Gujarat’s Gir forest to in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno wildlife sanctuary.
The Supreme Court rejected Gujarat government’s plea against trans-location of lions as Gujarat held that these animals were pride of Gujarat. Whilst, Madhya Pradesh in 2012 had sought translocation of lions to Kuno Palpur sanctuary, laying claim it has the entire means to ensure pleasant-sounding environment to the endangered species. The number of lions to be transferred would be decided by a group of wildlife experts.
- At present there are approx. 400 Asiatic lions in Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary.
Under its Rs 300 crore Cheetah Reintroduction Programme, the MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) had proposed the introduction of the African Cheetahs in India.
Why a re-allocation of lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh?
- 92 Asiatic lions have died, including 83 of natural death, in the past two years in Gujarat’s Saurashtra region while there has been no case of poaching. Thus, Conservationists had also advocated the establishing of a second sanctuary outside Gujarat to ascertain genetic variegation.
- Wildlife experts had also warned that the Gir sanctuary is getting crowded now, making the lions more susceptible to disease.
- Due to crowding in Gir sanctuary in Gujarat, there is small fresh territory for young males to claim, enhancing probabilities for inbreeding, territorial conflict or males killing the young ones.
- The Supreme Court also held that this was done in order to ensure that the entire endangered species is not wiped out in an epidemic or a fire.