Gujarat Not Keen On Translocating It’s Pride, Lion Pride To Other State

| Updated: July 27, 2022 4:14 pm

Despite the Supreme Court directing the centre in 2013 to relocate some of the Asiatic lions to a suitable place in any other state to avoid mass extinction due to an epidemic, the state government does not appear to be keen on it. The Court was concerned about the possibility of mass extinction of the species due to an epidemic.

In the world-famous Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the entire lion population was wiped off in 1994 due to the canine distemper virus. The same happened in 2018, at Gir, an entire pride of 26 lions was wiped out within a month due to the same virus.

The only location in the world where the Asiatic lions are found is at Gir forest in Gujarat. The lion sanctuary set up on the hunting grounds of the erstwhile nawab of Junagadh harbours 674 lions according to the 2020 census. It has increased by 25% in the last five years.

The state government is trying to shift the lions to newly identified sites within the state only. The shifting move is necessitated due to the growing challenges in protecting their natural habitat. A Union Ministry of Environment and Forests official has said that Gujarat is not willing to move the lions to any other state as they are “the pride of the state”.

A committee had been constituted to assess the suitability of habitat for lions at potential sites in Gujarat and make recommendations regarding the modalities for the establishment of the lion population there. The centre is providing financial assistance to the state for lion conservation activities to facilitate the natural dispersal of lions beyond the Gir landscape.

Gujarat government has prepared gene pools of lions and is taking measures for cross-gene poll mating for gene variation to counter the fears of any disease outbreak leading to the extinction of the species.

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