Monday, April 16, 2012

MP, Gujarat spar in SC over translocation of lions

MP, Gujarat spar in SC over translocation of lions

Madhya Pradesh today pitched in with a plea in the Supreme Court for translocation of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to its Kuno Palpur sanctuary, insisting it has all the wherewithal to ensure harmonious environment to the threatened species. State counsel Vibha Datta Makhija told a special forest bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and C K Prasad, that Madhya Pradesh had "all the necessary infrastructure, expertise and environment for translocating the lions" to its own sanctuary. She disputed the argument of Gujarat that Madhya Pradesh would not be a safe place for the lions as the State failed to preserve its own tiger population in the Panna reserve forest. Vibha told the bench that contrary to Gujarat's claim that there was no tiger population left in Madhya Pradesh, the Panna Reserve today could boast of 16 tigers owing to the sustained efforts made by the state to preserve it. She also repudiated the argument of Gujarat that shifting the lions to Madhya Pradesh was not ideal as they cannot co-exist with cheetahs and tigers. The counsel placed before the court purported findings of experts to establish the fact that these wild animals could co-exist. At the last hearing Gujarat opposed any effort by the Centre to trans-locate Asiatic lions from its Gir sanctuary to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh. Appearing before the bench, senior counsel Shyam Divan had said the state had sufficient infrastructure and will to conserve the lions' population and it was not advisable to trans-locate them and pointed out that tigers have become extinct in Panna Reserve. The state said that instead efforts should be made for translocation of the extinct cheetah from South Africa to Kuno Palpur and only after sufficient time efforts if any should be made to add lions gradually to that sanctuary. (More)

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