Friday, August 29, 2014

Core area for lions in MP expanded

Core area for lions in MP expanded
The Times of India

Stepping up efforts to get lions from Gujarat, the BJP-led Shivraj Singh Chauhan government in MP has increased the core area of the Kuno-Palpur Sanctuary by 350 square kilometres, raising it to 700 sq. km. The core area was increased following recommendations by the expert group formed according to the Supreme Court's order of April 2013.

The apex court had formed a technical expert group to oversee the translocation of lions to Kuno-Palpur from Gir. Sources said that during several meeting of the core group, Gujarat had raised objections that 350 sq km area was too small to translocate the lions and should be increased. The core group in its report accepted the argument of the Gujarat Government and pointed out that the sanctuary area was insufficient for lions.

Officials in the MP forest department said a plan to enhance the sanctuary area has been prepared under which two villages - Baghcha and Jahangarh - would be included in the sanctuary. Officials said that the proposal has been prepared and cleared by the Kuno-Palpur division and is awaiting the MP government's final nod.

The officials said that the government has also decided on conversation measures in the newly merged area. Officials said that the minister made it clear that they would adjust these once they received Rs 80 crore that MP has sought from the Centre for the translocation project.

After this increase, the sanctuary will cover around 700 sq km, while the buffer area around it will be around 500 sq km. Officials said that the barring these two villages, the enlargement has been done in a way that minimizes the need for human rehabilitation.

Officials said that this was the second lion-centric move by the MP government after the formation of the BJP government at the Centre. Earlier, the MP government had forwarded a proposal for Rs 80 crore assistance to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, for the project at Kuno-Palpur. MP officials had earlier demanded the same amount from the 12-member lion expert group.

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