Gujarat-Madhya Pradesh empowered committees should hold talks for shifting of lions to Palpur Kuno Sanctuary: Prakash Javadekar

Bhopal: The Union Minister for Forest and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar has praised the concern of the Minister for Forest Umang Singhar of the state for the conservation of Asiatic Lions in the country.

It may be mentioned that a letter was written by Shri Singhar to the Prime Minister on September 30, 2019, pertaining to the shifting of lions from Gir National Park of Gujarat to Kuno Sanctuary of the state. In India, Asiatic lions survive in a small number only in the Gir Forest.

SC had directed on April 15, 2013 to shift Asiatic lions: The Union Minister Shri Javadekar in a letter sent to the Forest Minister Shri Singhar has mentioned that the Supreme Court had directed on April 15, 2013, to shift Asiatic lions from Gir National Park to any other place i.e. Kuno of Madhya Pradesh in order to increase the population of lions.

The Supreme Court had directed to shift the lions on the basis of the guideline of International Union for Conservation of Nature and to constitute an experts committee in this regard by the Union Ministry for Forest.

Expert committee is examining the process of translocation: Shri Javadekar has informed that in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court, an expert committee was constituted by the Union Ministry for Forest. This committee is examining the process of translocation of Asiatic lions to Kuno of Madhya Pradesh.

Apart from this, State Empowered Committees have also been formed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh government in their respective states in connection to the shifting of Asiatic lions under the chairmanship of Chief Wildlife Warden.

Shri Javadekar further stated that the translocation of the lions will take place after the in-depth mutual discussion by these committees of both the states in connection to the safety, care, guidelines in the process of shifting and assessment of habitat of lions.

Kuno sanctuary has a favourable environment for lions: At present, Asiatic lions survive only in Gir National Park of Gujarat. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and wildlife experts believe that they must also have a population in any other favourable environment to protect the species from extinction.

The Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh has a favourable environment for the lions. Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1981 with an initial area of about 344.68 sq. km. In 1990s, it was selected as a possible site to implement the Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project, which aimed at establishing a second lion population in India.