Friday, May 09, 2008

MP seeks Asiatic lions from zoos


MP seeks Asiatic lions from zoos

Times Of India By: Himanshu Kaushik

Ahmedabad: In a desperate move, Madhya Pradesh government has written to all the zoos in the country to spare Asiatic lions for Kuno-Palpur National Park, where lions from Gir were to be shifted. Senior officials of Gujarat forest department revealed that they had received a letter asking for lions from any of the zoos here, especially from Sakarbaugh Zoo in Junagadh where lions are brought for treatment.

Officials said that after Gujarat Government said no, MP government has decided to acquire at least six lions from different zoos in the country. Sources said that the move has tourism in the focus. “MP government plans to have a lion safari on the lines of Devaliya Park near Sasan in Gujarat. Later, it also plans to go in for conservation measures — which is actually the original plan for developing Kuno-Palpur,” they added.

“It seems MP lobby in Delhi has become active again, pressurizing all concerned to ensure that the long-pending proposal for shifting the lions to Kuno-Palpur is accepted by the Centre. But Gujarat will continue to resist this move,” said a senior official said.

GA Patel, an Ahmedabad based member of the Rationalization of the Boundary of Sanctuaries and National Park, a committee of the Central Government, said: “I was in Delhi last week and during my visit, I learnt that a meeting was held to get pure Asiatic breed of lions from various zoos. But this is only an experiment, as the hunting habits of lions suffer due to their stay in zoo.” He said that earlier also lions were sent from Gir to Chandra Prabha sanctuary near Dehradun but none of the seven odd lions survived.

Sources said the issue has now reached the Supreme Court through a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the apex court’s intervention in the matter. A Delhi based NGO – Bio-diversity Conservation Trust – has filed a PIL in the apex court urging it to direct the Gujarat Government to cooperate with MP to implement the Centre-aided project for transferring the big cats to Kuno-Palpur sanctuary. Gujarat officials said the MP government had mooted the proposal over a decade ago without taking them, and also the local villagers in and around Gir, into confidence, they said.

No comments:

Previous Posts