Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Don’t shift Gir lions to MP: Gujarat to SC

Don't shift Gir lions to MP: Gujarat to SC
The Indian Express

The Gujarat government on Monday opposed in the Supreme Court any effort by the Centre to translocate Asiatic lions from its Gir sanctuary to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

Appearing before a Forest Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and C K Prasad, senior advocate Shyam Divan said the state had sufficient wherewithal and will to conserve the lions' population and it was not advisable to trans-locate them.

The state said that efforts should be made for translocation of the cheetah from South Africa to Kuno Palpur instead, and lions should be added gradually after sufficient time.

The Gujarat government is fighting a battle in the Supreme Court against the translocation of lions in the wake of a PIL filed by an environment group seeking their translocation to Madhya Pradesh.

At an earlier hearing, the Gujarat government had argued against the need to move the Asiatic lions from Gir. This had prompted the Supreme Court to observe that the big cats were not the "property" of the state, but belong to the country.

The opposition from the state comes despite the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) also voting against the Gujarat government's reluctance to shift the lions.

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