Rajkot. Wednesday, 17th February, 2010.
Tigers for Lions! Is this a serious matter or are playing children’s games? This offer to Gujarat by the Minister for Forest and Environment, Government of India is levity to the extreme. The wild lions and presumably wild tigers involved in the swop would be kept under safari conditions. Zoo animals could well serve the purpose and raising their off spring to be introduced into the wild would provide a logical and highly scientific step in the direction of a strong and purposeful drive towards increasing the number of purebred carnivores on Earth. Since the future demands that cramped zoos are transferred to large wildlife parks, and populations in these will need to be recorded in well maintained stud books, the process should be initiated with immediate effect instead of wasting emotions, time and resources on concepts of yesteryear.
Tigers will never roam free in the Dangs as indeed lions will not anywhere outside the Gir – the signs are already there of lions and panthers mauling migrant labor on the periphery of the Gir and tigers confronting humans in the other “success” story: the Corbet Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand.
Parochial or otherwise, Gujarat must stand firm in declining to give wild lions to Madhya Pradesh; instead the State must vigorously process the proposals for setting up gene pools at Ramparda, Hingol Gadh, and Ummat and prepare a Lion Safari cum Sanctuary in the Alech grasslands adjoining the Barda Hills.
14, Jayant Society, Rajkot – 360001.