Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Plan fraught with perils

Plan fraught with perils
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

The decision of the environment minister to release zoo-bred lions in the Wild of Kuno Palpur will not be a cake walk for forest authorities.

Experts feel that it will not be easy to implement the idea as it will pose a major challenge. However, officials from the state government said that the centre was trying to save itself as it has spent Rs 64 crore without any positive results.

Ravi Chellam, director, Wildlife and Biodiversity Research, Education and Conservation, and who has been awarded doctorate for his research on Asiatic lions, said, "One has to consider wild lions for such projects. Releasing zoo animals will have breeding and management issues. It will pose many difficulties. The lions from the zoo, if released in the wild, will have to deal with behavioural issues. This release would come with challenges."

However, a senior officer from the state forest department said that the central government is wishing to release zoo-bred animals because in Kuno Palpur, Rs 64 crore has already been spent and they don't have any results to show.

Former principal chief conservator of forest GA Patel said, "This is just an eye wash. This would be the first experiment in the country. This move is only to save their skin as they have spent Rs 64 crore and the result is zero. There have been objections by the Comptroller and Auditor General. This project is just an eye wash."

He also said that when the original plan was being formulated, the Gujarat government was not consulted.

"Keeping ground realities in mind before embarking on any wildlife project is essential to ensure its success," said Patel.

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