Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gujarat opposes transfer of Gir lions

Gujarat opposes transfer of Gir lions
DNA By Rakesh Bhatnagar

The Supreme Court has asked the governments of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to sort out within one month a dispute over shifting some Asiatic lions from the Gir sanctuary to the Kuno tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh. Gujarat is opposing the move, saying the transfer scheme neither has scientific basis nor was prepared after consulting all parties.

The Gujarat government told the apex court that it was being pressurised to shift the lions as the Centre feared they would get infected with Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) if they stayed at Gir. Lions in the Serengeti plains of Tanzania had been infected by CDV in 1994.

Gujarat told the court that the Centre's fear was not supported by scientific proof. It said the Kuno reserve isn't suitable because it houses tigers and its weather and environment isn't conducive for the survival of Asiatic lions. Moreover, the reserve is short of prey base.

A report quoting the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says the Gir lion is the most threatened. Poachers are also always on the lookout for this breed because its bones are used in Chinese medicines. According to IUCN, there are less than 20 Gir lions in India. In 2007, 34 of them were poached, electrocuted and died in accidents.

No comments:

Previous Posts