Tuesday, April 03, 2012

‘MP needs cheetahs from S Africa, not lions from Gir’

'MP needs cheetahs from S Africa, not lions from Gir'
The Indian Express

The Gujarat government on Monday suggested to the Supreme Court that instead of relocating Asiatic lions to the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, efforts should be made to relocate the cheetah, extinct in India, from South Africa to MP.

Then, after sufficient time has passed, efforts, if any, should be made to add lions gradually to that sanctuary otherwise "lions will not allow the cheetahs to survive in the sanctuary", argued senior counsel Shyam Divan, who is representing the state government.

The Gujarat government is fighting a legal battle in the Supreme Court in the wake of a PIL filed by an environment group seeking the translocation of Asiatic lions in Gir to Madhya Pradesh's Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary.

In an earlier hearing in the matter, the Supreme Court had observed that the big cats were not the "property" of the state, but belonged to the country.

Interestingly, in 2009, four cheetahs were brought by the state from Singapore in exchange for three Asiatic lions and kept in Sakkarbaug Zoo, Junagadh.

In February 2010, they were taken away from public viewing to be treated for infections in the respiratory system and swelling in the liver. The state had flown in experts from Singapore as well. The felines recovered after a month or two.

In September last year, one of the cheetahs died of renal failure.

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