Friday, April 02, 2010

If 10 Gir lions die annually anyway, give 5 to us: MP to SC

If 10 Gir lions die annually anyway, give 5 to us: MP to SC
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

The MP government has reportedly stated that if an average of 10 lions die unnaturally in Gir every year, then there is no harm in Gujarat government parting with five lions for its Kuno Palpur project.

The counter affidavit filed by the MP government in Supreme Court has stated that many lions die by falling into wells, getting electrocuted or by poaching. In the last three years, eight lions have died unnaturally within Gir Sanctuary. Forest officials said the MP government has assured the court that it would give full protection to the lions being brought from Gujarat, reiterating that Kuno Palpur had adequate prey base and that the lions would not die of starvation.

The affidavit was filed in response to the affidavit of the Gujarat government which had in March opposed the move to transfer the Asiatic lions from Sasan Gir. The Gujarat Government had, in the affidavit, reiterated that tigers and lions cannot stay together.

It warned that relocating the lions from the Gir Sanctuary in Gujarat was fraught with irreparable damage to the sociology of lions and asserted that MP cannot manage the relocation as it had failed to protect its own tiger sanctuary.

The Gujarat government affidavit also stated that the lion poaching racket in Gujarat had its roots in MP. Kuno Palpur has presence of tigers in the vicinity and hence lions and tigers cannot co-exist. Officials said the government also claimed that earlier attempts to transfer lions had failed.

However, according to officials from MP, the MP affidavit is silent on the earlier attempts to transfer lions. Also, it has failed to justify whether lions and tigers can stay together. MP has been just claiming that Kuno Palpur does not have presence of tigers, added an official.

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