Asiatic Lion Current Affairs - 2020

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Facts Box: Cheetah Reintroduction Project

Cheetah has become extinct in India for more than 70 years now due to over hunting. Hence, several steps are being taken for the reintroduction of the cat in the country. It was brought up at CMS-COP 13 as well.

Highlights

On January 28, 2020, the Supreme Court of India cleared way for the reintroduction of Cheetah Project. It is expected that the National Tiger Conservation Authority will reintroduce the mammal in Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary after conducting an assessment.

Cheetah is the only flagship species to become extinct in India.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List has categorized Cheetah as Vulnerable.

Cheetah in India

Cheetah has become extinct in India mainly because of hunting. The last Cheetah was shot in Chhattisgarh in 1947. In 2000, scientists proposed to clone Asiatic Cheetah from Iran. However, the plan was dropped as Iran demanded for an Asiatic lion in return. After such several hurdles, Cheetah is being reintroduced in the country.

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10,000 cameras to be used in Gujarat Lion Census, 2020

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is to conduct Asiatic Lion Census in May 2020. The Institute will use 10,000 cameras to conduct the census.

Highlights

In 2015, the WII counted 523 lions in Gujarat. It is expected that the numbers have risen phenomenally and the population must have crossed 1,000. The census is to adopt the technology of National Tiger Conservation Authority. The entire census area is to be divided in to 3-km grid. Officers will collect hair, nails, teeth, etc. The collection process is to be carried out using scientific methods laid out by NTCA. Around 1,000 to 2,000 officers are to be employed. In the second phase, 10,000 cameras are to be used to capture the lions.

Asiatic Lions

The Asiatic Lions in Gujarat are restricted to Gir National Park in the state. The lions are listed as “Endangered” in the IUCN Red List. Initially the lions were spread from the east of Indus river to West Bengal and also to Narmada river in Central India. However, today they are restricted to Gujarat alone. Asiatic lions belong to the category of Pantherine cats.

Pantherine Cats

The lion is one among the 5 Pantherine Cats inhabiting in India. The other 4 pantherine cats in India are Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Indian Leopard and Clouded Leopard. Under IUCN red list, Bengal Tiger has been listed as Endangered, and the three leopards snow leopard, clouded leopard and Indian leopard have been listed as Vulnerable

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