Releasing captive lions in wild a challenge
The Times of India City
AMBARDI (DHARI): The forest department is faced with a stiff challenge to release 20 captive lions, who are under observation at the fenced Ambardi safari park, into the wild again.
The forest department had caged 18 lions from their natural habitat following the deaths of three humans near the park in May of which two lions were given imprisonment while 16 lions have been put under observation. Later, a committee was formed to look at the possible alternate places to release a pride.
"Various locations inside Gir-Sanctuary are being considered to release the lions into the wild again but the final decision is yet be made. The options of splitting the lions' pride is being considered but the issue of their survival in totally different areas is a major chal lenge. The entire pride has area near Shet runji River and surrounding reserved fo rests as their per manent home," said an official.
However, this pride has grown up amid hu mans in the revenue area and adjoining forest areas.
The first option to release them at the same place near Ambardi is not being considered as they might come into conflict with humans again as their corridor is blocked due to the park. But at the same time, past experience of releasing lions at different locations inside the Gir Sanctuary from outside sanctuary is also not good. A few years ago, two lions were captured near Maktupur of Porbandar coast after they preyed on domestic cattle.They were caged and relea sed inside Gir Sanctuary which was a totally new habitat for them. Both died within few days," a senior IFS officer told TOI.
When asked about the release plan of this pride, deputy conservator of forests (Gir-East) Dr T Karuppasamy said that the committee will take a call soon, but refused to give any timeframe.