Gujarat not interested in tiger-lion swap
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik
Gujarat is likely to reject outright the proposal of Union minister for forest and environment Jairam Ramesh's offer for tigers in lieu of lions. The main reason why Gujarat is refusing to transfer lions to Madhya Pradesh under a central plan, is the worry that the neighbouring state would walk away with all its tourists who come to Gujarat to see the Asiatic lions in and around Gir.
Over one lakh domestic and international visitors visit Gir and Devalia national park. Officials in the forest department said that Gujarat government had fears that a majority of tourists coming to Gujarat for lion tourism would be diverted to Madhya Pradesh if the lion roams the wild there in Kuno Palpur which has been notified as a sanctuary.
Officials said lions are the pride of Gujarat, the last abode of the Asiatic lions. They fear Madhya Pradesh, which draws more tourists than Gujarat, will be able to attractively package the lions to tourists who come to Khajuraho. MP promotes its tourism quite aggressively while Gujarat has its dry laws as a handicap.
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