Monday, March 15, 2010

Census, protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions

Census, protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions
PIB Press Release

Rajya Sabha

The Ministry has been supporting the protection and conservation of Asiatic Lions since a long time. In order to conserve the single isolated population of Asiatic Lions, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had initiated habitat feasibility study through the Wildlife Institute of India, which inter alia has identified Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as an alternate home for the Gir Lions and for the release of wild lions from Gujarat. While State Government of Madhya Pradesh is agreeable for translocation of Gir Asiatic Lions in Kuno Palpur, State Government of Gujarat has not agreed to part with Gir Asiatic Lions. The matter is subjudice before Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in view of IA no. 100 in Writ Petition (Civil) 337/1995.

In past, an amount of Rs. 1545 lakhs has been released for relocation of village for preparing the habitat for Asiatic Lions at Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary. However no financial allocation is earmarked for this purpose in current financial year.

The Government of Gujarat has submitted a proposal for assistance for consolidation of long-term conservation of lions with proposed expenditure of Rs. 236.17 crores. The Planning Commission has approved the proposal but no additional outlay has been provided for this purpose to the Ministry. The Planning Commission has been requested to provide additional allocation for this proposal. In the meantime the Ministry is providing the funds for lion conservation under the existing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' for their protection and conservation.

As per the information provided by the State Government of Gujarat, latest estimated population of Lions in Gujarat is 359 (+10). There is no disparity about these figures.

The Central Government has taken various steps for their protection and conservation of wildlife and lions are as follows:

1. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 has been enacted to deal with the issues of protection and conservation of wildlife in India.

2. A network of Protected Areas has been established to conserve wildlife and their habitats including animals like Asiatic Lions.

3. Financial and technical support from the Ministry is being provided under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 'Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats' to State/UT Governments for the conservation and protection of wildlife including lions and its habitats.

4. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, with a network of five Regional and three Sub Regional Offices, has been set up to control poaching.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (independent charge) Shri Jairam Ramesh in a written reply to a question by S/Shri Natuji Halaji Thakor, Vijay Kumar Rupani, Bharatsinh Prabhatsinh Parmar, Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala and Kanjibhai Patel in Rajya Sabha today.


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