Minister Ganpat Vasava objects to lion translocation
THE TIMES OF INDIA
AHMEDABAD: The 12-member expert committee appointed by the apex court's order may have found Kuno-Palpur suitable forlion translocation, but the Gujarat government has made it clear that they would not consider the issue till all the 36 studies, which have been specified under the new translocation guidelines of theInternational Union For Conservation of Nature, are not duly conducted.
Gujarat's environment and forest minister, Ganpat Vasava, said "We, in the state government, were never in favour of the proposal of translocating Asiatic lions from Gir forest to Madhya Pradesh, and would try our best to stop such a transfer." According to the 2015 census, there are 523 lions in and around the Gir Sanctuary, which is known as the last abode of Asiatic lions.
The state government, after studying the apex court order of April 2013, has asked the 12-member committee to carry out the studies afresh in compliance with IUCNguidelines, and then see if the site was suitable for translocation or not.
"It has now been over three years, but the committee, despite meeting six times, has not ordered any study following IUCN guidelines. We have on several occasions made it clear through officials that all studies listed in the fresh IUCN guidelines issued just before the April 2013 judgment have to be complied with, before putting the proposal to the government for translocating lions."
"We want a detailed study on the weather, its vegetation and even the prey base in the area. We also want MP to give us a detail of the area which will be notified for lions. After getting all these studies, the government will go through them," said the minister. "This is not a short-term measure. If it is for conservation, then all measures should be taken to ensure lions don't die in their new habitat in Kuno," said the minister.
Vasava said that since the time the issue of translocating lions to MP came up first, the government has made its stand clear. "The government is against such a move, and we will try our best to ensure that our lions remain here," Vasava said. "We are emotionally attached to these wild cats. Lions are not attacked by people even if they kill their cattle or livestock. The people are also against such a move," the minister said.