Saturday, January 18, 2014

MP to sign MoU with MoEF, Gujarat government for shifting of lions

MP to sign MoU with MoEF, Gujarat government for shifting of lions
IBN Live

An agreement may be signed between the Environment and Forests Ministry and other stake holders to oversee implementation of Asiatic lions from neighbouring Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh's Palpur Kuno sanctuary.

The Madhya Pradesh government has sought from the Centre shifting of some near-extinct Asiatic lions from Gujarat's Gir Sanctuary, home to about 400 of the species.

A special committee formed to ensure successful shifting of the lions made an action plan and sent it to the Centre which forwarded it to the MP government for its comments.

MP to sign MoU with MoEF, Gujarat government for shifting of lions

"One of the important aspects mentioned in that action plan is that such schemes should be run for long term basis for 25 years. To execute such long term scheme from financial, technical and administrative point of views, it would be necessary to sign an MoU between Ministry of Environment and Forests, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh government.

"The MoU will clearly outline responsibility of each stake holder," said Narendra Kumar, Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh in a notesheet seeking his government's nod for a response to be sent to the Centre on its action plan.

The action plan has pointed out shortage of staff in Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary under Sheopur district and suggested the state government to fill all such posts.

Of 195 sanctioned posts, 164 are filled. Twenty-three posts of forest guards, five posts of range assistant, two post of range officers and one post of sub-divisional officer were lying vacant, the action plan said.

"There are many shortcomings before lions are brought here. The MP government is working very slow in this regard. We want they overcome all shortcomings pointed in the action plan and lions are trans-located here soon," said wildlife activist Ajay Dubey, who had accessed copy of government's notesheet and action plan exercising his right to information.

Supreme Court had on April 15 last year allowed trans- location of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh, saying the species is under threat of extinction and needs a second home.

Gujarat had opposed Madhya Pradesh's plea, saying lions would not be safe there as the central state had failed to preserve its own tiger population in the Panna reserve forest.

Tiger population in Panna reserve had dwindled to zero in 2009. However, tigers were reintroduced in the reserve, which at present is home to about 23 big cats.

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