Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Experts to study threat to lions in Kuno-Palpur

Experts to study threat to lions in Kuno-Palpur
The Times of India

 The 12-member committee formed to look into the translocation of Asiatic lions from the Gir sanctuary in Gujarat toKuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh will now study the threat perception to these big cats in the proposed habitat.

A two-member expert committee has been formed to list out threats and to resolve issues as mentioned in the new guidelines issued by theInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The experts - Ravi Chellam and Y V Jhala - will prepare a list of studies that need to be carried out for shifting lions to Kuno-Palpur which is a tiger reserve too. This list will then be given to the 12-member translocation committee for further action.

In a meeting held on July 29, Chellam and Jhala were asked to draw up a translocation protocol and submit their report to the committee within six weeks. During the meeting, the members also raised doubts over the prey base count submitted in the last meeting by the Madhya Pradesh government. The state official Suhash Kumar had stated that there are 69 cheetals and 80 animals per sq km in the proposed 314 sq km Kuno sanctuary.

The members questioned the MP officials why tigers were not making Kuno a permanent home despite good prey base. They asked the experts and Madhya Pradesh state to give a clear picture on the presence of tiger and their number in the sanctuary.

Some of the members demanded that the lions should only be translocated only if the MP government was fully prepared for it. The meeting was held in less than a month after Gujarat was given a chance to make a presentation on lion behaviour and other issues.

The members also sought to know from the chief wildlife warden of Gujarat as to what happened to the state government's plan to shift lions to Barda sanctuary in Porbandar district. Besides, the state officials were asked about the status of the new 108 sq km conservation reserve which the government plans to set up in Bhavnagar district.

"Many such translocation attempts have failed in the past and hence one has to resort to it only if there is full commitment," said a member during the meeting.

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