Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gir lions: SC hearing put off, issue echoes in Lok Sabha

Gir lions: SC hearing put off, issue echoes in Lok Sabha
The Indian Express

Even as the Supreme Court hearing on the matter of relocating some of the Asiatic lions from Gir forests to Kuno Palpur Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh was adjourned on Monday, the issue was raised in the Lok Sabha by two BJP MPs from Madhya Pradesh, who sought to know from Union Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan if there was a time-frame for the rehabilitation.

In the last hearing on the matter on February 21, the SC had observed that Asiatic lions did not belong to the state where it is found but rather to the country.

Gujarat is strongly opposed to the the proposal of relocating Asiatic Gir lions to the Kuno/Palpur Park.

In her reply to the query by BJP MPs from Madhya Pradesh, Natarajan informed the Lok Sabha that in 1995, Wildlife Institute of India's researchers had found the Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary as the most viable relocation site for Gir lions.

Natarajan said the WII's report recommended six actions be taken before relocation — the first being "complete acceptance of the proposal for lion relocation by the concerned state governments as well as the Central Government".

Natarajan, however, said "no time limit has been fixed" for the relocation.

At the last SC hearing, counsel for Gujarat Shyam Divan had said, "We have an extremely successful conservation programme on

the field. There is presently no occasion for shifting the lions."

The SC bench had observed there should be a second home for the endangered species.

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