Thursday, February 01, 2007

No Shifting (Asiatic Lions) from Gujarat, PM told

Source: Time of India - Ahmedabad Edition February 1, 2007


Rajkot / Ahmedabad: The Gujarat government has stated that it will not shift a single Gir lion to the Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.


The state government mad its stance clear during the two advisor y committee meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently. Official sources said the issue was brought up during the meeting but Gujarat made it clear that they were in no mood to transfer lions to Madhya Pradesh.


Officials argued that the climate at Kuno-Palpur did not suit Asiatic Lions. State forest and environment minister Mangubhai Patel told ToI, “The government will be duty bound to transfer the animal if the Prime Minister orders it”.


The forest department has already started developing the 192 Sq Km at Barda Dungar in Saurashtra as an alternative site for the big cats who may find the Gir sanctuary congested. Patel said that at present there are 359 lions in Gir’s 1450 sq km area which includes 18km of  Mityala area. He said that some of the lions would be moved to Barda Dungar within a year to ease the congestion in Gir.


He also said the population of deer, spotted deer and rabbits has been increased at the new site so that the lions find enough prey by the time they are shifted.

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