Monday, August 06, 2007

Captive-bred lions for MP sanctuary


Captive-bred lions for MP sanctuary

Times of India Ahmedabad Edition Page-8, By Nitin Sethi / TNN


New Delhi: Tired of haggling with Gujarat over relocation of the endangered lions of Gir, the environment ministry has now proposed to instead make do with captive-bred big cats to populate the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

Ministry of environment and forest had in September 2006 officially requested Gujarat CM Narendra Modi for translocating two pairs of lions from Gujarat to Kuno Palpur Sanctuary. In response the CM replied that he has asked the concerned departments to take view on the matter. But even while this paper work continued, Gir witnessed a mortality of 17 lions out of which eight were killed by poachers in the past five months.

The Union government had set up a high-powered committee to conduct an on the spot appraisal of the situation to prevent further poaching. The committee’s report was shared with the state government to tighten protection in what is the last home of the free ranging Asiatic Lion.

But realising that Gujarat government was not budging from its traditional opposition to ‘export’ of its pride to another location outside the state, Centre mooted the idea to instead use captive bred lions to populate Kuno Palpur sanctuary.

The sanctuary has been in waiting for long, with government having relocated 24 villages out-side the protected area to welcome the lion to a habitat free of disturbances way back in 1995. But Gujarat government has been stonewalling any transfer of the lions from Gir since then.

Now Centre proposes to use three captive bred lions instead of depending upon Gujarat. The lions will be kept in 15 ha enclosures already available within the sanctuary. The third generation to emerge could be subsequently considered for release in the wild after radio collaring and observing the gradual assertion of wild instincts in the animals.

Releasing captive bred predators is always considered difficult in wildlife biology as the animals have to be trained to hunt in the wild. But this is not the first time that such relocation will be undertaken. There have been four earlier attempts though with far little understanding of captive breeding and release as available now. The most successful attempt was made in 1958-59 when one male and two female lions were tranlocated from the erstwhile Junagarh zoo to Chandraprabha wildlife.


Anonymous said...

Very nice, keep up the good work. I hope that the lions are repopulated throughout Asia.

lioness x said...

Great info i will add this pace to my favorites. Lions need help and your helping to inform us.

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