'Fear of extinction of Asiatic lions from Gir not scientific'
Rajya Sabha MP Parimal Nathwani said here that scientific facts do not support the fear of extinction of Asiatic lions from Gir national park in Gujarat and emphasised on the need to create awareness among stakeholders in this regard.
Addressing a gathering of activists and students at a wild life photography exhibition held yesterday, Nathwani said people and the state government are opposed to the idea of translocating some Asiatic lions from Gir forest (in Somnath district) to Kuno wild life sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
Supreme Court in April 2013 had ruled that some lions in the Gir forest be shifted to Kuno wild life sanctuary in MP within six months.
"The apex court and Centre's fears, that a second home is needed to save Asiatic lions from extinction, were not supported by scientific proof. Kuno is not suitable for Gir lions owing to presence of tigers there, its eco-climate is different from that of Gir forest," he said.
The MP said that there were 25 tigers in Kuno forest at one time but in July 2009, there was no significant tiger population.
Translocation of lions from Gir will cause an irreparable damage to the sociology of lions in the state, he added.
He also said the Kuno sanctuary has witnessed a rise in number of incidences of poaching in the recent past and claimed that there are more than 400 gun-licence holders in the region.
The Gir national forest park is boasted as the pride of Gujarat which is the only natural habitat of the Asiatic lions.