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  India   Shifting of Gujarat lions to Madhya Pradesh delayed by 3 years

Shifting of Gujarat lions to Madhya Pradesh delayed by 3 years

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Aug 8, 2016, 6:39 am IST
Updated : Aug 8, 2016, 6:39 am IST

The shifting of about 40 lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh’s Palpur Kuno sanctuary, that a top wildlife institute had recommended, has been delayed by over three years despite a Supreme Court verdi

The shifting of about 40 lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh’s Palpur Kuno sanctuary, that a top wildlife institute had recommended, has been delayed by over three years despite a Supreme Court verdict endorsing it. In a project report to the Centre, the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) said that reintroducing lions into the sanctuary did not have to wait for the completion of an ongoing study since the institute’s earlier ecological assessment had already validated the potential of the area to support the 40 lions.

“The current study, in concurrence with the lions’ reintroduction exercise, would serve as a benchmark for post-release long-term monitoring of lions, prey and other predators and would be mostly helpful in identifying the social and ecological status of the landscape outside the sanctuary boundary which lions are likely to explore once the population reaches its carrying capacity of 40 lions inside the sanctuary after 15 years,” it said.

The report was received in response to an RTI query filed by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey. The MP government has been seeking “immediate” transfer of Asiatic lions from Gujarat to its Palpur Kuno sanctuary.

The plan to reintroduce lions in MP had faced stiff opposition from Gujarat.

In a recent communication to the ministry of environment, forest and climate change, the state government rejected all concerns raised by the Gujarat administration for not handing over the lions to it.

The plan to reintroduce lions in MP had faced stiff opposition from Gujarat.

“It is a very common sight to see ‘Bagh Dev’ in many human settlements in and around the tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh wherein people give a deity’s space to the tigers around them and adore them. Therefore, once the lions are reintroduced at Kuno, the cultural bondings between the lion and human beings will get established in a natural way,” the MP government had said, in its reply to the issues raised by Gujarat.

The plan to reintroduce lions in Madhya Pradesh had faced stiff opposition from Gujarat.

In April 2013, the Supreme Court had ordered shifting of some of the lions to Kuno. The apex court had directed the environment ministry to shift them by October 2013, but not a single lion has been shifted so far.

The Palpur Kuno Sanctuary, in Sheopur district of the Gwalior division, has been chosen as the second home for over 500 Asiatic lions in Gir. In its letter, the MP government cited the 2015 floods in parts of Amreli Bhavnagar area in Gujarat which “resulted in the washing away of more than 1,600 blue bulls, 90 spotted deer and 10 Asiatic lions. The MP government requested its Gujarat counterpart to immediately implement the execution of the Supreme Court’s order without any further delay. The copy of the letter was also received by Dubey in response to another RTI query.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi