Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Kuno Palpur to get lions from zoos?

Kuno Palpur to get lions from zoos?
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

The UPA government is adamant on having Asiatic lions in Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh, a state known for its tigers. The alternate habitat for lions will come up even if it means releasing zoo-bred lions in the wild, a move that has not gone down well with wildlife experts.

Union minister of forest and environment Jairam Ramesh told the Lok Sabha recently that the proposal to establish Kuno Palpur as an alternate Asiatic lion sanctuary was on. Replying to a question from south-central Mumbai MP Eknath Mahadeo Gaikwad on whether captive lions from Delhi and Hyderabad zoo were being relocated to Kuno Palpur, the minister said, "If the option for release of wild lions from Gujarat is not available, then release of zoo-bred Asiatic lions will be considered".

The MP government's request to part with Asiatic lions has already been accepted by the zoos from Delhi and Hyderabad and Bhopal. Expert on Asiatic lions Ravi Chellam says this would lead to a difficult situation because releasing zoobred lions will lead to behaviour and management issues where the tame beasts will have to be taught hunting. The Wildlife Institute of India had, in order to conserve the single isolated population of Asiatic lions, in collaboration with MoEF, initiated a habitat feasibility study.

It was then decided to have Kuno Palpur sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as an alternate home for Gir lions and for release of wild lions from Gujarat. The matter is still pending in the Supreme Court over translocation of lions from Gujarat to Kuno. Gujarat has objected to the

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