Shifting of lions to MP to be discussed on Sept 16
Times of India
The issue of shifting of big cats from Sasan Gir to Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh has once again come into focus with standing committee of National Board for Wildlife to take up the matter on September 16.
Officials in the forest department said shifting of lions will be discussed in the meeting and is listed fifth on the agenda. Officials said that the matter was being given importance and will most certainly be taken up as it has been listed among the top issues meant for discussion.
Officials said Union environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh is the chairman of the board. Ramesh had recently offered Gujarat to have tigers and in turn give some lions to Madhya Pradesh.
Officials said Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had recommended Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary for setting up second home for Gir lions.
But Gujarat government rejected the proposal, saying it lacks scientific backing and security. The contention of the state government is that if MP cannot protect its tigers, how can they protect lions. The government has also contended that Kuno Palpur has tigers. Lions and tigers cannot survive together, it pointed out.
A petition was filed by Biodiversity Conservation Trust of India, a Delhi-based NGO, for transfer of the Gir lions. The trust has contended that wild animals confined to a single area can spell death knell for their long-term survival. Also it has contended that the 24 villages that were inside Kuno reserve have been relocated elsewhere to make room for the Gir lions and an estimated Rs 15 crore has been spent on the project. However, the Supreme Court after hearing the arguments has referred the case to National Board for India for its opinion.
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