Saturday, March 17, 2012

Poll people to move lions: Panel

Poll people to move lions: Panel
Times of India

State Wildlife Board members on Friday unanimously resolved that opinions of residents of Saurashtra should be considered before taking any decision on the relocation of Asiatic lions to Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.

The board met following a directive from the Supreme Court. The SC had directed that individual opinions of all board members from Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh should be taken and produced in the next hearing on the matter.

Lavkumar Kachar, a board member, said, "Lions in Saurashtra region belong to the people living there. These lions don't belong to the government of India or the government of Gujarat."

He added, "The people are important part of the biodiversity of this region. No government or any agency can take a decision without the consent of the people of the Saurashtra region. People of the region have played a major role in lion conservation."

Kachar said that he had also referred to a report of International Union for Conservation of Nature which stated that there is zero possibility of decay of lion populace in the next 100 years.

Chief minister Narendra Modi, who is the chairman of the board, narrated a story when he had visited the lion habitat in 2007. Modi narrated how people assured him that they would tackle the issue of poachers on their own, but the only pre-condition was that the CM should ensure that the lions are not shifted to any other part of the country.

Such were the sentiments of the people of the area, Modi said.

The board officials said that there should be a scientific research before the lions were rehabilitated to MP.

Several board members also raised the issue of poaching of tigers and how the Madhya Pradesh Government has failed to save the tigers, ghariyals and even the great Indian Bustards.

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