The Supreme Court on Monday gave a green signal to the Uttar Pradesh Government to set up a Lion Safari Park in an area of 150 hectare in Fischer Forests in Etawah district of the state for conservation of Asiatic Lions.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal granted the permission for setting up of the Lion Safari on the basis of an affidavit filed by the Chief Conservator of Forests which said that the Central Zoo Authority had already approved the plan on January 23, 2006.
The court, however, emphasised that the state government would adhere to the conditions imposed by the Central Zoo Authority and abide by all statutory norms in this regard.
The apex court’s permission was necessary in view of its November 27, 2000 order that no State Government or Union Territory shall set up a new zoo without getting clearance from the Central Zoo Authority and orders from it.
According to the Uttar Pradesh Government, the proposed Lion Safari would play a major role in conservation of the Asiatic Lions who were facing a serious threat to their survival.
Apart from the in-situ conservation in its present home range or in any other alternate home range that might have been conceived by the Centre, the proposed Lion Safari would play a major role in ex-situ conservation of Asiatic Lions too, the UP Government said.
It also submitted that the proposed Lion Safari would help educate people about wildlife protection and conservation.
There are not more than 50 Asiatic Lions in captivity outside Gujarat, which is considered to be the home state of the endangered animal.